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Upstate's occupational health office opens new facility

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.-- The Southern Tier office of Upstate Medical University’s Occupational Health Clinical Health Centers (OHCC) has moved to a new expanded location at 840 Upper Front Street in Binghamton. The move allows for additional clinic hours to meet the region’s growing demand for services to prevent, diagnose, and treat work-related illnesses.

“This expansion allows us to make our specialty practice more accessible to a greater number of patients in the nine-county region of the Southern Tier,” said Michael Lax, MD, OHCC medical director and professor of family medicine at Upstate Medical University. “Last year, the number of new patients evaluated at our former site quadrupled from 19 to 80, with the number of overall visits increasing by 62 percent. Our new location can accommodate this trend.”

OHCC of the Southern Tier has served the Binghamton area since the early 1990s. Prior to the move, patients were seen once a month at the Decker School of Nursing on the Binghamton University campus in a 600-square foot space made up of three rooms, including a waiting room.

The renovated 2,000 square foot suite features nine rooms, including two spacious examination rooms, a testing room and a conference room. Accessible, free parking is available to patients. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with clinic hours available Monday through Wednesday. In addition to Lax, staff members include Nurse Practitioner Jacque Millar; Outreach and Education Coordinator Robert Huckle; and Certified Medical Assistant Korinna Matthews.

According to Patricia Rector, outreach and education director for the central office of the Occupational Health Clinical Centers, the new facility offers an added benefit. “With greater capacity and a welcoming attitude toward injured workers, we will have more opportunities to roll up our sleeves and become engaged in the tough challenges workers face in this economy,” she said.

OHCC of the Southern Tier offers medical services to those who know or suspect their symptoms are work-related, whether they are currently working, or are retired. The clinic accepts workers/patients from Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties. These services include the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of occupational disease or injury; case management; industrial hygiene; social work; screening, monitoring, and cooperation with worker centers..

In addition, Dr. Lax sometimes works with a patient’s primary care physician, particularly when a thorough occupational health history reveals exposures or conditions that cause symptoms that might otherwise be perplexing.

The Southern Tier regional office is among the three regions served by the Occupational Health Clinical Centers at Upstate whose central office is located in Syracuse. All three regional offices (Central New York, Southern Tier, and the North Country) work together to support worker health and safety in 26 counties in New York. Last year, Dr. Lax was recognized for lifetime workplace health and safety activism by the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health.

Occupational disease is the fourth leading cause of death in New York State. A work-related illness can have many causes: exposures to asbestos, chemicals, solvents, dust, metals, noise, or radiation; absence of fall protection; or repetitive tasks, such as heavy lifting or assembly work. Most occupational illnesses are preventable.

Visit OHCC of the Southern Tier or call 1-800-432-9590 for more information.