Bob Martin believes a region needs strong health care to attract new businesses and talent, and he knows Lehigh Valley has a top system in place.
As senior vice president of St. Luke's University Health Network, Martin says one of his goals is to provide as many services as possible under one roof throughout the most visited sites in St. Luke's six-hospital system to give patients easier access to multiple medical treatments.
“At our new St. Luke's West End Medical Center in Allentown, we brought together a large variety of services, including urgent care, fitness, rehab, orthopedics and more,” he says. “We want to continue consolidating into the most convenient sites.”
Martin adds that the St. Luke’s network, which also includes more than 150 local health centers and clinics across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is aiming to provide at least one primary care physician within 10-15 minutes of anyone living within its eight-county service area.
“We have been successful in surgeon recruiting and now have 90 students enrolled in our Temple University-St. Luke's Medical School, which is good news because the medical industry will face a shortage of physicians over the next 10 to 15 years,” Martin says.
To meet increased demand for its services, St Luke's recently expanded several of its facilities, including the acute rehabilitation center at its Bethlehem campus and the emergency department at its Warren County N.J. campus. And more growth is on the way for the network.
A Healthy Network
In addition to St. Luke’s, Lehigh Valley's health care network is led by three other providers: Easton Hospital in Easton, Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown and Lehigh Valley Health Network. The 254-bed Easton Hospital serves 300,000 residents in Northampton County and five surrounding counties, with services that include an accredited Chest Pain Center, a bariatric weight loss program, a Sleep Disorders Center, Easton Regional Cancer Center and a newly renovated Center for Orthopedics, Joint and Spine.
The 215-bed Sacred Heart Hospital has been nationally recognized as a Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery. It also offers specialty care in obstetrics, vascular surgery, rehabilitation and behavioral health, as well as a network of physicians who practice throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) recently opened a new health center in Bangor to bring more outpatient services closer to the public. The location joins nine other LVHN health centers throughout Lehigh Valley, including three hospitals. In early 2014, LVHN will also open a Center for Orthopedic Medicine at the former Westfield Hospital on Tilghman Street in west Allentown. Orthopedic care there will focus on total joint replacement and spine surgery.
“Opening the Health Center at Bangor will help to keep people out of the most expensive environments for health care delivery, which are inpatient hospitals,” says Dr. Ronald Swinfard, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network. “But if a patient needs to be admitted to a hospital, LVHN has three excellent campuses.”
One of those is the network's flagship hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, which is adding a four-floor tower that will open in late 2014.
“We will fill only one of those floors and keep the other three available for future use, giving us flexibility to expand in whatever future direction is needed for patient care,” Swinfard says.
The hospital has ranked on the US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list for the past 18 consecutive years, earning recognition in a total of 14 areas. The most recent list named the the hospital among the top 3 percent in the nation in seven categories, including cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.
“We’re also doing fine work at our LVH-Muhlenberg and LVH-17th Street hospitals, and in 2014 pending regulatory we are merging with Hazelton General Hospital in Hazelton for our fourth hospital location within the LVHN system,” Swinfard says.
The network is also becoming known across the state for its telemedicine program, which uses interactive technology to allow clinicians to examine, diagnose and treat patients in remote or underserved areas without access to specialty health care. The program offers care for stroke, burn, infectious disease, high-risk pregnancies and many other conditions.
And when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, take the ice in their new arena in Allentown in the fall of 2014, LVHN will be there, too, providing medical services to the team.