Next chapter of patient care begins in Schuylkill County
ORWIGSBURG, Pa. – Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital officially opened its doors Wednesday morning, signaling the next chapter of compassionate, patient-centered health care in Schuylkill County. As the first hospital to open in the county in more than 90 years, Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital will make health care easier for area residents by bringing new services closer to home.
The hospital’s Emergency Department opened to patients at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The facility will eventually have 80 beds, but opened with 30, including 15 in the Emergency Department and six in the intensive care unit. Additional inpatient beds will be added as service demand increases. The facility features two surgical bays, with plans to expand to four bays. All patient beds and rooms are private. Appointments and referrals for outpatient services at the hospital, including imaging and laboratory, can now be scheduled by calling 484-526-1000.
The 130,000-square foot, 3-story facility is a $72 million investment in the greater Orwigsburg community. More than 250 employees have been hired so far for the hospital, with recruitment ongoing for some positions. Almost 2 million pounds of American steel were used to erect the facility, and 80 miles of cable (25,000 linear feet) is neatly tucked away inside the walls of the building to help make the state-of-the-art medical equipment and IT systems work seamlessly.
“The community has watched two health care organizations come together on this amazing project, and we couldn’t be more excited for the hospital to be open and to advance care in this community,” said Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital President Gabe Kamarousky. “Advancing care together and improving our community’s health isn’t just our message — it’s our mission and our commitment to our friends, neighbors, patients, providers and our staff.”
In addition to the Emergency Department and intensive care unit, the hospital will offer cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, nephrology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, radiology and urology services. It also features a helipad for Geisinger Life Flight. The services available in the hospital will complement the existing services provided by the many local providers as well as the Geisinger and St. Luke’s primary and specialty care clinics in Schuylkill and Berks counties. For additional convenience, Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital accepts most major health plans.
“When you add a facility like this to the health care services our organizations already offer in this area, we can make care more accessible and affordable,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger president and chief executive officer. “When we do that, we know we can improve health, and Geisinger and St. Luke’s want to be the resource for improving health here. We also have 28,000 Geisinger Health Plan members in this area, and now they will have easier access to care.”
Hospital construction started in spring of 2018, with more than 250 construction jobs created throughout the project. The hospital is co-owned by Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger and Bethlehem, Pa.-based St. Luke’s University Health Network. It’s the first time in Pennsylvania history two health care organizations joined together to co-own and co-build a hospital. St. Luke’s is managing the hospital, and both organizations are contributing medical expertise and specialists for patient care.
“The new hospital in Orwigsburg will emphasize the strengths of both St. Luke’s and Geisinger while extending the best value in health care for the region – that is, the highest in quality at the lowest cost to benefit the residents of Schuylkill County and surrounding areas,” said Rick Anderson, St. Luke’s University Health Network president and chief executive officer.
Earlier this month, more than 3,000 community members attended an open house to tour the hospital and see the unique features inside the building. Residents had the opportunity to meet the staff and check out patient rooms that include smart TVs and smart features to engage patients in their health care and track their medical charts.
A medical office building is also under construction on the hospital campus and will include space for additional specialty care services.
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue of $1.9 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) repeatedly – six times total and four years in a row including 2018. It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.