GEISINGER LIFE FLIGHT: Groundbreaking for New Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital in Schuylkill County

Geisinger Life Flight issued the following announcement on July 12.

St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) and Geisinger officially broke ground Thursday on a new acute care hospital near Orwigsburg in southern Schuylkill County.

The new Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital – built with American steel – will be a fully-licensed, 80-bed hospital with an emergency department and a full range of specialties and services.

The three-story, 120,000-square-foot facility will be located on Paramount Boulevard off Route 61 in West Brunswick Township near Orwigsburg. It is expected to be completed and open in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Geisinger’s commitment to caring means providing compassionate, comprehensive health care to our patients close to home,” said David T. Feinberg, MD, MBA, Geisinger President and CEO. “We know that many patients are leaving Schuylkill and Berks counties for hospital services. Our growing partnership with St. Luke’s will not only expand the range of health care services in that community but perhaps, more importantly, will offer greater convenience so that patients, including many of our Geisinger Health Plan members, will receive the care they need right where they live.”

This is the first time in Pennsylvania that two health care systems have agreed to build and equally co-own a new hospital.

Under terms of the agreement, the new hospital will operate under SLUHN and Geisinger as a joint venture, with funding and governance shared equally between the two non-profit health systems. Bethlehem, Pa.-based St. Luke’s will build and manage the hospital. SLUHN and Geisinger, headquartered in Danville, Pa., will both contribute physicians and specialty support staff and expertise.

“A new hospital hasn’t been built in Schuylkill County in nearly a century,” Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital President Gabe Kamarousky said. “The finished product will emphasize the strengths of Geisinger and St. Luke’s providing the best value in health care – the highest quality at the lowest cost – to residents of Schuylkill County and nearby Berks County.”

The two systems enjoy a history of collaboration, including an insurance partnership. Also as of July 1, Geisinger's Life Flight manages St. Luke’s emergency medical air transportation.

Additionally, both organizations have provided services to Schuylkill, Berks and Carbon county residents for years.

St. Luke’s currently (since 2000) has a hospital in Schuylkill County – St. Luke’s Miners Campus. St. Luke’s Miners Campus, to which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) recently awarded its highest five-star rating, is a 44-bed acute care hospital with a Level IV trauma center and 48-bed skilled nursing facility, located in Coaldale. In Hamburg, Berks County, which is south of Orwigsburg, there are a St. Luke’s Care Now walk-in center, a primary care office, a physical therapy office and a lab. St. Luke’s Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses, which recently joined SLUHN, are located in nearby Carbon County.

Geisinger Orwigsburg’s outpatient clinic on Hollywood Boulevard offers comprehensive primary care for adults and children, including chronic disease management, laboratory, pharmacy and X-ray services. Geisinger offers primary care and specialty services, including outpatient surgery and radiation oncology in Pottsville, as well as primary care offices in Frackville and Mahanoy City.

At its peak, construction of the Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital will employ over 200 construction workers through dozens of contractors, injecting a powerful economic stimulus into the local economy. The hospital, upon completion, will sustain hundreds of permanent, family-supporting jobs.

The Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital is one of numerous, major initiatives underway at St. Luke’s. Already this year, the Network has merged with Blue Mountain Health System and Sacred Heart HealthCare System. In May, St. Luke’s broke ground on a new hospital in Quakertown. In June, it broke ground on a new Women and Babies Pavilion at the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township. Amid these major developments, St. Luke’s has been designated an IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven) 100 Top Hospital in the major teaching hospital category for a sixth time and the fourth year in a row.

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