CENTRE COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) – Mount Nittany Health is expanding its primary care services with the addition of eight new providers in Centre County, the State College-based health system.

The announcement took place on Friday, July 30.

“Access to primary care providers is vital to positive long-term health outcomes,” Kathleen Rhine, president, and CEO of Mount Nittany Health, said in a statement. “We are doing everything in our power to play our part in ensuring we have a strong community.”

Strong relationships with primary care providers lead to better overall health for patients, who are more likely to receive screenings and take preventative measures, according to the health system. Expanding primary care also helps reduce hospital readmission rates, according to The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs.

Mount Nittany Health Primary Care is available in nine clinics in State College, Bellefonte, Boalsburg, Penns Valley, Philipsburg and Mifflin County.

The new providers include five doctors, a psychologist, a certified registered nurse practitioner and a physician assistant for family, sports and internal medicine, pediatrics and pediatric psychology.

“We are always looking for ways to increase access to care for our patients and improve their health outcomes, especially patients who are living with chronic diseases,” Dr. Chris Hester, a clinical officer of Mount Nittany Physician Group, said. “I`m thrilled we are adding outstanding new primary care physicians to our team.” The full list of new providers includes:

  • Dr. Karissa Thal, Mount Nittany Health Bellefonte Family Medicine
  • Dr. William Wagner, Mount Nittany Health Bellefonte Family Medicine
  • Dr. Thomas Tuyen, Mount Nittany Health Blue Course Drive Family Medicine
  • Dr. Stephen Pandolph, Mount Nittany Health Blue Course Drive Family Medicine
  • Dr. Mallory Schaffer, Mount Nittany Health Penns Valley Family and Sports Medicine
  • Kayla Thompson, CRNP, Mount Nittany Health Boalsburg Pediatrics
  • Shannon Manley, PhD, Mount Nittany Health Boalsburg Pediatric Psychology
  • Amber Purdy, PA-C, Mount Nittany Health Park Avenue Internal Medicine

The new hires are part of ongoing plans for primary care expansion at Mount Nittany Health that include the expected addition of a multi-site advanced practice provider, growing Mount Nittany Health`s Philipsburg practice, and the anticipated 2024 opening of a new 125,000-square-foot outpatient facility in Toftrees West.

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“We are dedicated to offering patients the highest quality primary and specialty care, close to home,” Rhine said. “This includes more than 30 medical specialties, including Cardiology, Orthopedics, Oncology, Urology, and Neurology. Relationships with primary care providers are an important factor in connecting patients to other specialists and services. We will continue to expand.”