2019 Report to the Community

When faced with challenges, the most important thing you can be is grounded. Stability conquers adversity. That steady approach is ever-present at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Our focus on the things that matter most remains. What matters most is reflected in our mission statement: We “heal, comfort and care for the people of our community.”

At LVHN, we forge ahead with confidence because of our people. Our team of 18,000 health care professionals are the backbone of LVHN’s reputation for providing the highest quality care. Our future is bright because of them.

When it comes to delivering quality care, no one does it better than the LVHN team. Their emphasis on quality is unwavering. Our focus on quality ensures people receive the exceptional care they expect and deserve. The result is consistent accolades from national organizations and an increase in the number of people who rely on us for care.

To give more people access to our quality, LVHN remains focused on growth. Over the past five years, new facilities, programs and services were added in the Lehigh Valley, Hazleton, Schuylkill County and Pocono regions. Today, all the care you need is only a short car drive away, making it convenient to fit health care into your busy life.

Some people face barriers that prevent them from getting the care they need. As a not-for-profit health network, we remain committed to caring for all the people we serve. Through our Street Medicine Program, Veterans Health Program and others, we help people cope with their unique circumstances.

LVHN remains grounded. Because of it, our health network is strong. Our strength helps ensure that this precious community asset will continue to serve others for generations to come. Our strength allows us to continue to make investments in your health. Our strength helps us be the health partner you deserve.

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

Watch LVHN President and Chief executive officer Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, deliver the President’s Report during LVHN’s 2019 Community Annual Meeting.

Your health deserves a partner

With a partner by your side, you’re a better you. That is why throughout life you form partnerships. Shouldn’t you have a partner for the most important aspect of your life, your health?

At LVHN, you have 18,000 partners. They are our skilled health care professionals who are driven to give you convenient access to care, committed to delivering a top-notch health care experience and unwavering in their determination to deliver health care value.    

Convenient access to care

As your health partner, we make it convenient for you to access care at every stage of life. That includes the beginning of life at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, our community’s only children’s hospital.

Thanks to our generous partners at Lutron, we’re now welcoming families to our Children’s Hospital in the new Lutron Lobby. Children’s Hospital gives you access to physicians in more than 30 pediatric specialties. This fall, we added the community’s first dedicated pediatric plastic surgeon to our team. Our new inpatient pediatric unit provides a kid-friendly space for children to receive care and heal. 

To ensure you have care close to where you live, work and play, we’re increasing the number of providers on our team. Now in its 25th year, Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) includes more than 1,600 physicians and advanced practice clinicians at practices providing primary and specialty care in more than 60 specialties.

When you have a minor illness or injury, you want care without an appointment. That’s what ExpressCARE provides. In 2019, we opened new ExpressCARE locations in Pottsville and Palmerton, bringing our total number to 20.

Sometimes an injury or illness is more severe. To help you in times of crisis, we’re expanding our emergency departments (ER) in the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton. More than 32,000 people visit the ER at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton every year. To enhance access to care, we’re more than doubling the size of the ER.

To meet community need for emergency care in the Lehigh Valley, we’re building a new acute care facility at LVH–Cedar Crest designed to provide ultimate care flexibility. The facility includes a new adult ER that more than doubles the number of beds from 42 to 97. The Children’s ER also more than doubles in size from 12 to 27 beds. For patients who need additional care, the expansion includes an observation unit for adults and children adjacent to the ED. The ER and observation unit for adults should be complete by the fall of 2020. An expanded Children’s ER will open in early 2021. 

Across our region, we’re making investments to build new services, facilities and partnerships. In Northampton County, construction is underway on a new health campus just off Route 33 along Hecktown Road. It’s slated to open in the summer of 2021. 

Planning continues on Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono West. Located along Route 715 in Tannersville, the new campus will give people in the western region of Monroe County access to the quality care they need. 

In August, we announced plans for a new campus on Route 443 near Lehighton called LVH–Carbon. The campus will provide surgical, heart, cancer, emergency, imaging and other services. It will open in the fall of 2021.

As we create new partnerships in these communities, we’re strengthening partnerships in other areas. We are moving forward with the process for Coordinated Health to join Lehigh Valley Health Network. This acquisition will add two hospitals, two ambulatory surgery centers, nearly two dozen locations and 1,200 health care professionals to the LVHN family.

Since Schuylkill County welcomed LVHN into the community three years ago, we’ve invested more than $60 million in the health of our neighbors there. We created a new cancer center, wound center, and Family Birth and Newborn center. We renovated the cardiac rehab unit, emergency department and senior behavioral health unit. We continue to give you “More. Every day.”

Through our partnership with Cetronia Ambulance, Pennsylvania’s first Mobile Stroke Unit is now on the road. The unit delivers stroke care sooner, potentially preventing damage to the brain while the patient is transported to our Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Sometimes life deals you a more serious condition requiring care from a team of specialists. The world-class care you need is right here at Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular InstituteLehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. The care we provide at our institutes is – quite simply – the best. It is best represented in the stories of our patients such as Johanna FeherPrima Duperval and Eufemia Tajeda.

Top-notch experience

The first step in giving you a great care experience is giving our health care professionals a great work experience from hire to retire. How do we do it? We listen. We survey our team every year. Based on their feedback, we take action to make LVHN the best place to work and grow in the region. We also reward and recognize colleagues, foster a culture of collaboration and involvement, and provide opportunities for colleagues to represent LVHN in the community.

In 2019, Forbes, Becker’s and The Morning Call each recognized LVHN as a Top Place to Work in 2019. That’s evidence that the health network is made up of remarkable people who are committed to giving you the experience you deserve wherever you are in our health network; even online. 

In May, we introduced our redesigned website, LVHN.org. We enhanced your web experience by making it simple to find the doctor, location or service you need.

When your experience moves into our hospitals and facilities, you’ll find warm, inviting spaces conducive to healing. At LVH–Hazleton, renovations to patient rooms provide the option to flex rooms from semi-private to private depending on patient demand. Thanks to the generosity of the Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg Auxiliary, a new ICU Healing Garden gives patients and families a place to relax and heal. At LVH–Cedar Crest, the expanded Diagnostic Care Center has a larger entryway and waiting room, private registration areas and a new layout to ease anxiety. The Hackerman-Patz House, which offers affordable lodging for patients and families, also was refreshed.

What’s most important about your experience is the way you’re treated. The people on our team are unwavering in their commitment to deliver an experience that meets your unique needs. We are proud to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a top performer on the LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Index. It demonstrates our commitment to equitable, compassionate and high-quality care for everyone.  

Health care value

You expect quality from your health care provider. At LVHN, we give you something more: Value. When you get the right care the first time, you avoid unnecessary costs and return visits to your doctor or hospital. Quality care costs less. That’s value.

Again this year, our health network received national recognition for quality. Lehigh Valley Hospital is the region’s only nationally ranked hospital on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital list. LVH ranks 35th among the nation’s leading hospitals in orthopedics.

Four of our hospitals received an ‘A’ Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. These grades reflect our commitment to ensuring patient safety always comes first.

Vizient is an organization that ranks the nation’s top academic medical centers in quality and safety. On Vizient’s list, L-V-H-N leads the nation for clinical outcomes in five services: obstetrics, orthopedics, otolaryngology, transplant and urology. That means among the nation’s best, we are the best in these areas.

We also have nurses who are among the best in the nation. Our medical-surgical intensive care unit received the silver-level Beacon Award, which honors units for achieving the highest standards in every facet of care. Our Nurse Residency Program was Pennsylvania’s first to earn “Accreditation with Distinction” from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. We remain the area’s only Magnet Hospital. It’s the most prestigious designation a hospital can earn for nursing excellence.

To deliver quality and value, providers need information at their fingertips. Our electronic medical record system, Epic, delivers. This year LVHN expanded Epic into facilities in Hazleton, Schuylkill County and the Poconos. Now our team is working from one integrated chart for each patient, helping to improve care, standardize processes and create value.

Here’s another example of value. Two years ago, LVHN partnered with Highmark to launch a new health insurance plan called Lehigh Valley Flex Blue. It incentivizes plan members to use LVHN providers. Since we launched Flex Blue, employers offering the plan have seen claims and ER visits go down 3 percent. Meanwhile, employers who continued to offer other plans have seen claim costs increase 22 percent and ER visits increase 27 percent. That’s strong evidence that LVHN provides high-quality that reduces health care costs.

You also can provide health care value by simply doing the right thing. That is why we served more than 800 lunches to children facing food insecurity as part of our Summer Meal Program. We also provided free flu shots to nearly 9,000 people – and collected 7 tons of food for area food banks – during our annual drive-thru flu shot clinic.

When it comes to the most important aspect of life – your health – you deserve the best. You deserve partners who can save your life. You deserve a partner who gives you convenient access to care. You deserve a partner who delivers an unsurpassed experience. You deserve a partner who constantly raises the bar to deliver health care value. When it comes to your health, you deserve Lehigh Valley Health Network.

By the numbers

Operating income: $115.3 million
Operating margin: 3.9%
Total Community Benefit: 584,380,189
Acute admissions: 75,003
Outpatient registrations: 1,361,096
ER visits: 295,833
ExpressCARE visits: 207,746
LVPG visits: 3,017,957