Friday, May 1, 2015

Schuylkill Health Campus Integration to Revitalize Patient Services

POTTSVILLE, PA -- The future is bright for healthcare services in Schuylkill County. That is the message leaders of Schuylkill Health shared with employees this week discussing changes that are coming to the system. These changes will enhance, improve, streamline and preserve hospital inpatient and outpatient services for our community.

Described as Campus Integration, the plan will redeploy services in a way that makes best use of the Schuylkill Health buildings to allow for operating efficiency while improving the patient experience.

Schuylkill Health’s Board of Directors has made the decision to retain the health system’s current service lines but to change where those services are delivered. Chairman of the Schuylkill Health Board of Directors, Tony Baran, calls the plan “thoughtful and a step in the right direction for the health system’s success. This integration will help bring financial stability and provide resources to Schuylkill Health as we advance to the next level.”

The Campus Integration Plan 
The plan calls for Schuylkill Health to operate its hospitals (Schuylkill Medical Center East Norwegian Street and Schuylkill Medical Center South Jackson Street) under a single license and with a unified Medical Staff. The plan should be implemented by the end of this year. News Release Department of Public Relations 570-621-5555 The Campus Integration Plan will combine like services at the East Norwegian and South Jackson Street Campuses. East Norwegian Street will be home to the more traditional acute care hospital services and South Jackson Street will provide less acute but key community health services.

When completed, services such as Medical/Surgical Units, Critical Care, Surgical Services and the Emergency Department will only be at the East Norwegian Street Campus. Geriatric Behavioral Health will remain at East Norwegian Street for the time being. The South Jackson Street Campus will continue to have Adolescent and Adult Behavioral Health Services. The Stine Acute Physical Rehabilitation Unit will move to the South Campus.

As part of the plan, The Birthplace – Schuylkill Health’s Maternity Unit – and the Pediatrics Department might also move to East Norwegian Street. “We have explored moving our maternity and pediatrics units to the East Campus. While that is our desire and plan, such a move might not be possible at this time,” said Marc H. Lory, Interim President & Chief Executive Officer at Schuylkill Health. “We are continuing to evaluate the options of keeping the services at their current location or making a move. We expect to reach a final decision very soon.”

The plan also calls for the creation of a Convenient Care Center to be located on the South Jackson Street Campus. Convenient Care Centers are often described as urgent care or fast track ER services where patients are treated for minor ailments, not needing the full resources of an emergency department. Health System officials are exploring how to introduce that service and hope it can be offered in early 2016. “This is something we are very excited to introduce and offer to our community,” said Lory.

Once fully implemented, our plan is expected to bring not only financial stability to the system but generate a surplus of revenue over expenses to allow Schuylkill Health to reinvest in its facilities, technology and people,” Baran said.

No changes are planned for the Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing, Schuylkill Health Home Health, the Advanced Wound Center, MRI Center, Schuylkill Rehabilitation Center or any of Schuylkill Health’s off site clinics and centers.

Schuylkill Health’s Campus Integration Plan is the result of months of planning, study, analysis and discussion between the Board of Directors and Management. A special Physician Advisory Group composed of doctors who practice at Schuylkill Health also provided input to the plan.

Regulatory Requirements and Union Discussion 
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has informally reviewed the Integration Plan and has conceptually agreed with its elements. Physical changes to the facilities and implementation plans will still require DOH review and approval.

Following the Department of Health’s approval, Schuylkill Health began discussions with its two Unions, which represent workers on the South campus, to determine how to advance the elements of the Campus Integration Plan. “The unions have been open to the need and we are currently discussing how to do it,” noted Lory.

“Schuylkill Health is committed to ensuring that it Integrates its facilities to provide those services most needed in this community,” said Lory. “We are making every effort to preserve employment for our employees. We also are very mindful of employees concerned about workforce reductions. For the past seven months, Schuylkill Health has been very thoughtful about filling vacant positions. We created a comprehensive and aggressively managed position control system. As a result of that tight management, job loss as part of the integration plan is expected to be minimal,” Lory said.

Schuylkill Health continues to be one of the largest employers in Schuylkill County with approximately 1300 full and part time employees and an annual payroll of more than 68 million dollars.

Schuylkill Health was established in August of 2008 when the former Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic merged. Services have been provided to the community for more than 120 years. To learn more about Schuylkill Health, its programs and services, visit


Information posted from Schuylkill Health News Release