Building on more than 40 years of leadership in pediatrics, in 2012 Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) established a children's hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest. In 2018, local philanthropists J.B. and Kathleen Reilly made a transformational gift that enabled the children’s hospital to expand and integrate services, making the Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital the premier institution for pediatric care in the region.
Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Achievements include building new patient care spaces and developing a network of more than 100 physician subspecialists
Specialized care during the pandemic
As the hospital marks its 10-year anniversary, Physician in Chief J. Nathan Hagstrom, MD, and Anne Baum, who became the hospital’s first President in January 2022, reflect on how the health network’s commitment to building a foundation of excellence in pediatric care has impacted the community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, when the new Breidegam Family Children’s ER opened in July 2021, doubling the size of the original ER to 27 beds, it came just in time.
“We saw our highest surge of pediatric COVID-19 cases, along with a surge of other respiratory viruses more typical in the winter from July 2021 to January 2022,” Hagstrom says. “For several months, we were averaging 100 patients a day in the Children’s ER."
“Having a dedicated entrance, waiting area and observation area in the Children’s ER was critical to providing the specialized care children required, and it also helped our adult ER function more efficiently,” Baum adds.
The Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) had also opened in July 2021, with 12 patient care rooms and a dedicated lounge and reception area.
“Just after opening, we had days when every bed in the PICU was filled,” Hagstrom says.
Baum notes that the hospital’s commitment to family-centered care proved critical. All patient care rooms are private and designed to enable at least one caregiver to stay with the child, even when visitation is limited.
With more than 100 pediatric subspecialists and more than 30 pediatric specialties, Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital and its affiliated practices now offer more resources for pediatric care than any other institution in the region.
“Our main goal is to build on this foundation, expanding the breadth and depth of our specialty programs by adding more physicians and more services,” Hagstrom says.
“Over the next year, we’ll be enhancing our strategic plan and reaching out to our physician partners and the community to raise awareness of everything we offer and to make sure we deliver the services that they need,” Baum adds. “It’s a very exciting time in our growth – a time to celebrate how far we’ve come and plan how all the pieces we’ve put in place over the past 10 years are coming together to position us for a bright future.”