Schuylkill Health and Lehigh Valley Health Network Sign Agreement to Merge

Access to expanded healthcare services, more advanced technology and more medical specialists available to the residents of Schuylkill County have taken a major step forward today. Schuylkill Health System (SHS) and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) announced they have signed a definitive agreement to merge. The boards of directors of both organizations recently approved the agreement. The transaction is subject to the typical regulatory review associated with this type of transaction, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

“We are very excited about the future,” said Anthony Baran, chair, board of directors of SHS. “This agreement will shape health care delivery right here in our community for generations to come. It is something our community not only expects but deserves. Merging our two organizations will mean that Schuylkill County residents will have better local access to specialized services and physicians, sophisticated technology and the highest-quality clinical care in the region.”

Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, LVHN’s president and chief executive officer, acknowledged LVHN’s desire to extend an already successful partnership to care for the residents of Schuylkill County. The two organizations have worked together to care for patients suffering from burns and stroke through the use of telemedicine and other patients who require a higher level of specialized care. “The nature of health care delivery is changing and many organizations are finding that coming together in an integrated system creates the most efficient, quality enhancing and accessible environment in which to meet the needs of the patient,” Nester said. “We look forward to developing with Schuylkill Health, a model for delivering health care in this region that meets the community’s needs close to home and, when possible, keeps people healthy and out of the hospital.”

Nester said LVHN is committed to increasing the number of physicians in the community, including primary care and specialists, as well as maintaining many services that SHS already offers and further developing some of those services. These include maintaining services such as ER, obstetrics, surgery, behavioral health and expanding specialty services such as cardiology and orthopedics. LVHN also plans to invest in building the medical staff at SHS and implementing an electronic medical record that integrates with the LVHN network.Schuylkill Medical Center South Jackson Street

In November of 2014, Schuylkill Health announced its intention to pursue some type of partnership with a larger health system. “Initially, seven organizations were identified as potential partners,” said Marc H. Lory, Schuylkill Health president and chief executive officer “Over the next 14 months, the field was reduced to two and then a letter of intent with LVHN was completed. We relied on our boards and created a special physician advisory group to review and give input on all of the possibilities,” Lory said. “We are very pleased that we have been able to accomplish so much in such a relatively short period of time. We recognize the many benefits to our community going forward. We are also very thankful and appreciative of the efforts of our boards, physicians, senior leadership and management teams as well as our employees for continuing to do the good work that community hospitals do each day.”

Schuylkill Health was established in August of 2008 when the former Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic merged. Pottsville Hospital was established in 1895 and Good Samaritan was founded in 1925. Schuylkill Health employs approximately 1,300 full and part time employees and has a medical staff of approximately 180 members. It is Schuylkill County’s largest employer and offers a full range of general and specialty services. While merged, the two Pottsville hospitals never fully integrated services, something that is now underway as part of a campus integration plan, which should be completed in 2016.

Schuylkill Health provides inpatient units for medical/surgical, critical care, behavioral health (geriatric, adult and adolescent), acute rehabilitation, maternity and pediatrics. In addition, Schuylkill Health is a leader in outpatient physical rehabilitation services with Schuylkill Rehabilitation Center, as well as outpatient facilities in Orwigsburg and Frackville.

For outpatients, Schuylkill Health provides a physician-staffed, 24-hour emergency department, home health department and other extensive outpatient programs and services including an outpatient surgery center, cardiac rehabilitation program, nutrition & wellness center, women’s imaging center as well as speech language pathology services, occupational medicine center and clinical diabetes educators. In addition, Schuylkill Health is the home of the Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing, a 32-month RN diploma program, which serves as the primary supplier of registered nurses in Schuylkill County.

Both Schuylkill medical centers are accredited by the Joint Commission, licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and have been recognized for numerous quality initiatives such as the most recent Gold Plus Awards and Honor Roll from the American Heart Association in the treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiac disease.

Posted from Lehigh Valley Health News
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