What started with a handshake, a celebration, and a plan three years ago at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill, has resulted in upgraded facilities, new services and improved access to health care for the residents of Schuylkill County.
LVH–Schuylkill marked the milestone of the historic merger of the former Schuylkill Health into Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) by broadcasting an LVHN-wide meeting that reported on growth and progress at LVH–Schuylkill. A celebration with LVH–Schuylkill colleagues, and a pledge for even more progress going forward, highlighted the activities following the broadcast.
“Three years ago, we talked about integrating our services in a way that would make sense to our patients, going to a single hospital license, and providing better access to care,” says Bill Reppy, President, LVH–Schuylkill. “We have accomplished that and so much more in a relatively brief amount of time.”
Since the merger, LVHN has invested more than $60 million in facilities, technology, services, and employees. “The investment is significant and relevant as it mirrors what some organizations spend just to build a new hospital,” Reppy added. “Our investment adds upon what we already had been providing to our community.”
Since September 2016, LVH–Schuylkill has:
- Integrated all acute hospital services into its East Norwegian Street campus
- Located all inpatient Behavioral Health Services to the South Jackson Street campus, including an all-new and expanded Senior Behavioral Health Unit
- Introduced a new Emergency Department
- Established a new Cancer Center
- Constructed an ultra-modern Family Birth and Newborn Center, the only maternity service in Schuylkill County
- Opened a new Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit
- Built an Advanced Wound Center, the only of its kind in Schuylkill County
- Developed a new occupational medicine suite for business and industry
- Opened LVHN Rehabilitation Center–Schuylkill
- Built a highly popular ExpressCARE, the first urgent care facility in Schuylkill County
- Introduced 3D mammography for breast cancer screening and low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans for lung cancer screening
- Upgraded and modernized LVHN/LVPG patient care facilities throughout Schuylkill County
- Received a Rural Residency Planning and Development Program grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish family medicine residency based at LVH–Schuylkill
- Access to care has been key as LVH–Schuylkill has grown. Reppy said an important component was LVHN recognizing the quality service private practice IMG (Integrated Medical Group) providers have been delivering and working with them to build on it. The health network engaged IMG as a hospitalist service to provide expert hospital care for inpatients. Reppy said strengthening partnerships with independent providers and other community-minded organizations furthers LVHN’s mission to heal, comfort and care.
Reppy said partnering with independent physicians in Schuylkill County and establishing and expanding Lehigh Valley Physician Group–Schuylkill offers more practitioners and the access the community needs.
Reppy said physician recruitment continues to be a priority of LVHN and LVH-Schuylkill to ensure access in the future as evidenced by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) award of a $750,000 Rural Residency Planning and Development Program (RRPD) grant. The grant will be used to expand the physician workforce in rural areas like Schuylkill County by developing new, sustainable residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, and psychiatry.
“We have grown what was an already successful partnership that included Teleburn and Telestroke services, into a cohesive health network that has improved access to care where patients want and need it - close to home,” says Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lehigh Valley Health Network. “We believe this progress, while substantial, is only the beginning of what we hope to bring to the people of Schuylkill County.”