A History of Service
Centerville Clinics traces its roots to the early 1950s and the vision of Joseph A. Yablonski. An International Board Member of the United Mine Workers of America, Mr. Yablonski realized that the medical and hospital benefits of the UMWA Welfare and Retirement Fund could not be fully useful to coal miners in Southwestern Pennsylvania unless more doctors - particularly specialists - could be persuaded to practice in the area. A group of local unions pooled their funds and bought a farm with a house in Centerville Borough, Washington County, with the goal of remodeling the farmhouse and an apple barn, and equipping them for medical services, including laboratory and x-ray.
Originally known as the Union Miners Building, Inc., the incorporators of what is now the Centerville Clinics network were determined to make a difference in the health and healthcare of the community. A medical staff of two full-time physicians and 25 part-time physicians was recruited to see patients at the Centerville location. Dr. Robert Schwartz, the Clinics's first medical director, saw the first patient on April 27, 1955, thus beginning a tradition of service that has continued for more than half a century.
Centerville Clinics Expands
The new clinic, which became Centerville Clinics, Inc., grew from these modest beginnings. With the support of the local miners and union organization, the Clinic was a success. The full-time medical staff was expanded and a full-time radiologist and a pediatrician were added. Although medical offices were opened for a short period of time in Clarksville, Marianna, and Vestaburg, the first permanent expansion came in 1956, with the opening of the California Office.
After 1956, the growth of Centerville Clinics was extremely rapid, as more medical services were added and the full-time staff was further expanded. Five years later, in 1961, Carmichaels Clinic opened with a staff of physicians and offered medical, laboratory, and x-ray services. Mr. Yablonski personally picked the location for the new clinic and negotiated the purchase of the site.
In 1959, a plan was developed for the construction of a new wing to expand medical services at Centerville. This expansion was completed in 1960. Planning for a second major addition to house medical and behavioral health services began in the late 1960s. The Clinics's application for a federal construction grant, originally prepared by Mr. Yablonski's daughter, Charlotte Yablonski, was approved in 1970 and construction began in 1972. The facility at Centerville was named the Joseph A. Yablonski Memorial Clinic in 1973, and a second addition was completed in 1974.
Centerville Clinics continued its mission of providing total health care to the entire community by expanding into medically underserved areas. The Waynesburg Medical Office became the fourth Centerville Clinics site when it opened in 1977. In 1982, the Bentleyville Office opened, followed by the Republic Office in 1986. Three more facilities joined the Centerville Clinics network in the 1990s: Fairchance (1994), Uniontown (1998), and Washington (1999). The Connellsville Office opened in 2001, marking the Clinics's tenth facility, and the Charleroi Medical and Dental Office opened in 2004.
The Board of Directors
Throughout its history, Centerville Clinics has been guided by a Board of Directors that included both UMWA members and community representatives. While the membership and composition of the Board has evolved over the past 50 years, the Board has thrived under the leadership of the five men who have served as Chairman of the Board. Joseph A. Yablonski was elected Chairman of the original Board of Directors and served with tireless devotion and enthusiasm until his death in 1969. Cecil J. Metcalf followed Mr. Yablonski as Chairman.
Kenneth J. Yablonski followed in his father's footsteps when he was elected chairman of the Board in January 1973. He served until 1978, when he was succeeded by Michael Encrapera, one of the original Board members when the non-profit corporation was formed. In 1980, Mr. Yablonski was again elected Chairman of the Board, and served until his untimely death in September 2002. His son, Joseph M. Yablonski, was selected unanimously by the Board of Directors to assume the Chairmanship at that time.