Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
13:30 PM

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).

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 18 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook and Twitter.