LVHN Announces Future Health Care Plans for Hazleton Region
Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) plans for the future of health care in Hazleton and the surrounding region announced today include modernizing and renovating the existing Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)– Hazleton on East Broad Street, Hazleton. The health network also announced its vision for a major expansion of services that will create a health care campus at the existing Health &Wellness Center at Hazleton along the Airport Beltway in Hazle and Butler townships.
Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, LVHN’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said LVHN leadership and industry experts conducted a nearly two-year assessment of health care needs and trends in both the region and the industry. Nester said the assessment determined it was not prudent to construct a full replacement hospital but to focus on robust outpatient services while maintaining and modernizing the current hospital in the city of Hazleton. “After a long period of assessing the design of the hospital of the future, we began to refocus on designing the health care of the future,” Nester said. “This plan would allow us to address future needs rather than devoting precious community resources to a new hospital and a care model that is changing dramatically.”
In addition to modernizing and renovating the existing 42-year-old hospital in Hazleton and expanding the Health & Wellness Center at Hazleton campus, LVHN’s plan calls for expansion of a center city location that currently offers ExpressCARE and Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) Pediatrics. The plan also includes expansion of the cancer program and a comprehensive physician recruitment and retention strategy.
The existing hospital campus at LVH–Hazleton would be modernized to provide mostly private patient rooms. The emergency department (ED) also would be expanded to provide additional treatment bays and a rapid assessment unit (RAU) to improve the treatment flow and efficiency of ED services.
The vision of the expansion at the Health & Wellness Center at Hazleton campus includes the addition or expansion of women and children’s services, outpatient surgery, primary care and ExpressCARE. Additional facility construction is anticipated to house these new or enhanced services following a medical mall concept.
At the center city location, preliminary plans call for expansion to include OB/GYN services and primary care.
“This is the best direction to go for the future of health care in our region,” said John Fletcher, President of LVH–Hazleton. “It will provide better accessibility to quality health care for all people, patient convenience in terms of private inpatient rooms, state-of-the-art technology, and will set the stage for the coming trend in health care from inpatient care to more ambulatory (outpatient) care and wellness programs.”
Since the merger in 2014, LVHN has expanded primary and specialty care at new locations throughout the region including the new LVHN Cancer Center–Hazleton in Hazle Township near the Health & Wellness Center at Hazleton, the Health Center at Mountain Top, the Brookhill Plaza in Conyngham (primary care, OB/GYN and pediatrics) and Center City Hazleton (ExpressCare and pediatrics).