2017 Report to the Community

Dec. 6, 2017

Albert Einstein and Walt Disney changed science and entertainment forever. Although they did very different things, they shared one unique characteristic. They embraced the power of imagination. Albert Einstein said, “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Walt Disney said of imagination, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

A good imagination also can create a better tomorrow when it comes to your health. Imagine a health network laser focused on providing leading-edge care and discovering medical breakthroughs. Imagine a health network that gives you access to the care you need close to home. Imagine health care that fits your busy life, and an experience in which everything is done with your needs in mind. Imagine a health network made up of people driven to create a healthier community and the resources to make it a reality. When you imagine these things, look no further than Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

This report outlines the accomplishments made at LVHN in 2017 as we further our mission to “heal, comfort and care for the people of our community by providing advanced and compassionate health care of superior quality and value supported by education and clinical research.” Discover how our 18,000 skilled, dedicated and compassionate health care professional imagine a healthier tomorrow and make it happen today.

John D. Stanley, Esq.                                  Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP
Chairman, Board of Trustees                        President and Chief Executive Officer 

Imagine leading-edge care.

When you imagine exceptional health care, the first thing you think about is the quality of that care. LVHN has been the region’s premier provider of quality care for decades.

To validate our commitment to quality, LVHN is honored to introduce three new institutes to the community: the Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute and LVHN Institute for Special Surgery. Institutes give you access to the best physicians and clinicians who work together to care for you as a team, advanced technology and techniques, innovative approaches to care, and the latest research and clinical trials to ensure your care is based on the latest evidence

While we are leading the fight against heart disease, cancer and conditions that require surgery, quality care is provided throughout LVHN. In July, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest was reclassified as a level IV unit – the highest level – by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is the only level IV NICU in the region.

To deliver world-class care, clinicians need accurate information at their fingertips. At LVHN, that information is made available through health information technology (IT) systems that are among the nation’s best. This year, our IT team achieved an awards "Grand Slam" in recognition of their efforts to use information technology to save lives. Among the accolades received was the HIMSS Davies Award, which is considered to be the pinnacle of health IT achievement.    

There are more examples of how our quality is recognized nationally. Vizient is an organization that ranks the nation’s academic medical centers and community hospitals based on clinical quality and operational performance. This year, Vizient’s list includes renowned organization such as Mayo Clinic, N-Y-U and Rush University Medical Center. Among them is Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Our commitment to quality is one reason U.S. News & World Report has listed Lehigh Valley Hospital on its Best Hospitals list for 22 consecutive years. This year, LVH ranks No. 5 among Pennsylvania’s top hospitals and among the nation’s top 3 percent of leading hospitals in gastroenterology and GI surgery. As the only area hospital to have made the U.S. News ranking in at least one specialty every year since 1996, we’re proud to give you quality care close to home.

Imagine innovation.

Continually enhancing quality requires innovation. LVHN has a dedicated space where people can come together to reimagine how we care for our community. It’s called the Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation, and it opened in November in downtown Allentown. It’s a place where community members, educational organizations, and health care and other industry leaders from around the world can collaborate to develop innovative ideas to lower health care costs and enhance services to the communities we serve. To date, we’ve implemented 23 connected care innovations resulting in nearly 135,000 patient encounter in fiscal year 2017 alone.

Discovering innovative health care requires thinking outside the box, or in our case, outside the hospital. That’s what we did when we created the Mobile Stroke Unit. It looks like an ambulance, but it contains the people and technology to deliver fast care to people having a stroke. Stroke experts have a saying: Time is brain. Every minute you save in caring for a stroke results in better outcomes. If you think you’re having a stroke, call 911. That call will dispatch local EMS and if indicated, the mobile stroke unit, and starts the clock ticking in LVHN’s goal to save brain.

Innovations are all around LVHN due in large part to our digitally connected world. Our TeleMedicine programs use technology that allows health care professionals to provide consults or care for patients over great distances. With TeleMedicine, patients in outlying communities who have a burn, wound, infectious disease or other condition can receive care from an LVHN specialist right in their local hospital.

Imagine easy access to care.

You and your loved ones deserve access to the care you need close to home. To give you what you need, LVHN is building a “network of neighbors.” Our health network is making investments near you that enable health care professionals throughout the health network to work together to care for our neighbors.

At the start of the year, Pocono Health System became part of Lehigh Valley Health Network. The merger established our eighth hospital campus, Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono. Since the merger and still today, we’re making investments to give residents of the Poconos the services they need right where they live.

  • In the summer, we opened an Inpatient Rehabilitation Center inside the hospital. There, patients recovering from stroke, orthopedic injuries and other conditions receive specialized rehabilitation to help them regain independence.
  • We opened the Health Center at Blakeslee, where people can access numerous outpatient services including ExpressCARE.
  • In October, LVHN’s electronic medical record system – Epic – went live in the Poconos. Now, patients served in our Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) practices and outpatient service locations in the Pocono are part of one integrated electronic medical record system. Plus, they have access to their own personal medical information through Epic’s patient portal, MyLVHN.
  • Now, we’re furthering our commitment to the people of Monroe County by creating LVH–Pocono West, a new hospital campus along Route 715 in Tannersville. The new hospital will give people in the county’s western region access to the services they need most. It will contain an ER, operating rooms, an inpatient unit with all private rooms, advanced imaging services, a medical office building and Sleep Disorders Center. The new campus will be open by the summer of 2020.

Growth also is occurring in Hazleton.  

  • Planning is underway to modernize LVH–Hazleton. We’ll transform and upgrade patient rooms to give patients the privacy they deserve. We’ll expand the ER to improve the flow of patient care. We’ll also add parking.
  • Next summer, we’ll break ground in Hazle Township to create a health care campus of the future. Within this “walkable medical mall,” consumers will love the convenience of being able to access primary and specialty care, wellness, pharmacy and other services in one location.
  • In center city Hazleton, we will expand LVPG’s current location to address the health care needs of women and children.
  • We also will recruit new primary care and specialty providers to join the numerous other specialists who recently became part of Hazleton’s care team.

This year in Schuylkill County:

  • More than 20,000 patients received care in the new emergency room at LVH–Schuylkill E. Norwegian Street. It includes 21 treatment bays and a four-bed fast track unit. The hospital also has a new interventional radiology suite.
  • We integrated services at both LVH–Schuylkill hospital campuses to ensure we provide efficient, high-value care.
  • A new cardiologist, general surgeon and internal medicine specialist are now providing care in the community.
  • And significant activity is now underway to identify locations throughout the county where we can give you easy access to the primary and specialty services you need most.

Investments were also made in the Lehigh Valley to make it easier for you to access care. In June, we opened two new health centers to serve the people of Northampton County. Located at the site of the former Bimbo Bakeries, the Health Center at Easton is now a fabric of the neighborhood. Every member of your family can receive care here from birth through adulthood. And when you need care without an appointment, ExpressCARE is right around the corner.

ExpressCARE and a full array of specialty services for adults also are provided at Northampton County’s second new health center, the Health Center at Palmer Township. It’s located on Route 248 near the Northampton Crossing shopping center. What makes this health center unique is its focus on children. It contains a Children’s ExpressCARE, the only walk-in service for kids in the entire region. Families also have access to pediatric subspecialties here.

Our commitment to families in Northampton County continued in 2017 with the opening of the Family Health Pavilion at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg. Now, patients who need inpatient rehabilitation no longer have to leave the campus to get it. It’s provided in the pavilion’s 28-bed Inpatient Rehabilitation Center. And expecting moms no longer have to leave Bethlehem to deliver. They can welcome their little ones into the world at the pavilion’s Family Birth and Newborn Center.

Should any of those children need special care, Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital is here to help. To ensure local families have access to leading-edge cancer care, the Children’s Cancer and Multipurpose Infusion Center opened at the Children’s Specialty Center in July. With major treatment advances in the past few decades, children with cancer are surviving longer than ever. And with research and clinical trial collaborations such as the Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the news will continue to get better.

Imagine health care convenience.

Life is busy. You’re pulled in a million directions, and when you need health care, you want to get it conveniently. Health care convenience is no longer a figment of your imagination. At LVHN, it’s reality.

We live in the age of convenience. When you want a product or service, you choose the one you can get with a few taps on an app. You expect health care convenience too. Here’s how we’re giving it to you:

  • You can now call one number to connect with everything LVHN has to offer: 888-402-LVHN.
  • When you call to make an appointment, we’re offering you one “today, tomorrow or the next day.”
  • You can click LVHN.org or MyLVHN to schedule an appointment or test on your own.
  • When searching for the best provider for you, you can visit our website’s Find a Doctor section to see star ratings and comments from our providers’ patients.
  • Before you walk in to an ExpressCARE, you can check wait times on our website to learn how fast we can see you.
  • You also can have a video visit from the comfort of your sofa.

Imagine a healthier community.

The goal we set for you and all people is, quite simply, good health. At LVHN, we’re imagining new ways to keep you healthy.

A quality health insurance plan is an important ingredient in achieving good health. To help you, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Highmark Blue Shield introduced a new plan called Lehigh Valley Flex Blue. People enrolled in Flex Blue benefit from greater coordination of care. LVHN and Highmark share data and resources so participants can efficiently get the preventive services, tests, follow-up care and education they need without duplication of services. This improves your care experience and lowers health care cost trends.

The health of our community is only as good as the least healthy segment of our population. That’s why our Street Medicine team continues to care for area homeless in alleys, camps and shelters. All care, including medications, laboratory tests and diagnostic studies, are given free of charge. The Street Medicine team works on the belief that everybody matters. 

LVHN opened a new facility at LVH–17th Street to care for another segment of our community that is sadly underserved: Our nation’s veterans. The Dick and Peggy Fleming Military and Veteran Resource Information Center – or MAVRIC – provides veterans and their families with a coordinated, quality health care experience. It’s staffed by health care professionals who understand veterans’ unique health care needs. At MAVRIC, veterans can receive help applying for health insurance, connect with medical and legal resources, and get clothing and personal items. Meal kits also are provided for veterans dealing with hunger.

There is still more we can do to create a healthier community. Imagine if there was a way to use technology and information to identify people in our community who need our care the most. Imagine if we could reach out to these people proactively to ensure they’re receiving the care they need to stay healthy and prevent a serious illness down the road. There’s no need to imagine it. It’s happening at LVHN. In fiscal year 2017, our Community Care Teams worked with nearly 25,000 unique patients and had more than 90,000 patient encounters via phone, MyLVHN or face-to-face visits. Plus, our Population Health Care Management Call Center contacted more than 8,300 patients discharged from an LVHN facility. These efforts resulted in a reduction in hospital re-admission and ER visits among this patient population.

By the Numbers

Operating income: $47.8 million

Operating margin: 2%

Total Community Benefit: $536,283,659

Acute admissions: 69,346

Outpatient registrations: 1,131,171

ER visits: 274,879

ExpressCARE visits: 137,416

LVPG visits: 2,411,605