Larger ER, New Observation Unit Planned for LVH–Cedar Crest
Project also includes significant expansion of the region’s only Children’s ER
Lehigh Valley, Pa. (July 11, 2018) – Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) today announced plans for a major expansion project at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest to create a state-of-the-art acute care facility. The plans were presented to the Salisbury Township Planning Commission last evening. The project includes an expanded adult ER and new observation unit that is estimated to be complete by the fall of 2020, and an expanded Children’s ER and observation unit that will open in 2021.
“Patients and families expect and deserve access to emergency care, an excellent experience when they’re in the ER and efficiency if they need to remain in the hospital for additional care following their visit,” said LVHN President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP. “To meet our community’s needs, we are making a significant investment to expand the ER and create an innovative acute care facility at LVH–Cedar Crest.”
The LVHN Board of Trustees approved a plan to construct a 120,000-square-foot addition to the hospital’s current ER, bringing the total size to 157,000 square feet. About 90,000 adult and pediatric patients receive care in the LVH–Cedar Crest ER annually. The $111 million investment will bring the number of beds available to almost 200. It will include 97 adult ER beds (there are currently 42 beds) and 26 beds in the Children’s ER (there are currently 12 beds). The adult and Children’s ERs will have their own entrances and waiting areas. The expanded facility also will feature three trauma bays, designated diagnostic testing, laboratory and pharmacy space, designated space for behavioral health care, large waiting areas, ample parking and more amenities for patients and families.
For patients who need additional care but do not require an inpatient hospital stay, the expansion includes a 62-bed observation unit adjacent to the ER. Keeping these patients in the new observation unit will create efficiencies and eliminate confusion by helping patients understand they’re not being admitted to the hospital. The observation unit will be staffed by clinicians from the hospital unit where observation patients currently receive care. As an added convenience to families, the Children’s ER will also have 12 observation beds that will allow caregivers to evaluate patients’ needs more efficiently.
Pending all necessary approvals, construction is expected to begin between late 2018 and early 2019. Construction will not affect how patients, visitors and EMS crews access the ER by car or ambulance. Upon completion, however, new traffic patterns will have ambulances enter the hospital campus off Fish Hatchery Road.
In addition, during construction the LVHN–MedEvac helipad will be relocated to an area off Fish Hatchery Road near an employee parking lot. Upon completion, the helipad will be located on an elevated space above the new ambulance entrance.
Work will be done in phases with the adult ER and observation unit estimated to open by the fall of 2020. When the adult ER opens, the existing ER will be renovated to become the expanded Children’s ER. The Children’s ER is expected to open in the first half of 2021.