Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
00:00 AM

LVHN, Former Pocono Health System Celebrate Merger; Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono Acting President Introduced

Citing partnerships with Pocono Health System (PHS) for trauma care, radiation oncology and community safety that already gave Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) a presence in the Poconos community, LVHN President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Nester, DO, MBA FACOEP, said it is now time for the health network to become a permanent resident in the region.

Nester spoke today during a celebration of the approved merger of LVHN and PHS, which was announced last week and took effect Jan. 1. As part of the merger, the former Pocono Medical Center, where the announcement was made, became Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono (LVH-Pocono) Jan. 1.

“Our organizations came together to ensure people receive the quality health care they expect and deserve right here in the Poconos,” Nester said. “We are committed to further investing in services such as obstetrics, surgery, cardiology, neurology, stroke care, orthopedics and others that make LVH–Pocono the region’s only full-service hospital.”

Nester said the integration of the two organizations will take time. He said LVHN will build upon the strong foundation of health care excellence established at PHS with a multi-year plan to grow services, improve technology and recruit more physicians to the region.

In addition to formally announcing that the merger was official, Nester also introduced Elizabeth Wise, RN, MSN, MBA, DrNP(c), NEA-BC, CENP, who served as Pocono’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), as Acting President of LVH–Pocono.

Nester pointed to Wise’s career progression starting as a nurse, then a nurse manager and joining PMS in 2014 as COO and CNO. Nester said Wise helped expand numerous services, empowered nurses to participate in decision-making, and furthered Pocono’s reputation as a provider of high-quality care demonstrated by its recognition from Healthgrades for Patient Safety Excellence and a 4-star rating from Medicare, among other accolades.

During the last 20 years, Wise has held leadership positions at health care systems throughout the country. Wise has served as Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services at St. Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J. and Chief Nurse Officer and Senior Vice President at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. Additionally, she has served in leadership roles at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del. and at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey.

“Elizabeth is the right person for this job,” Nester said.

Wise says her passion for helping people hasn’t changed. “In my leadership role, as I’ve worked with colleagues to strategize and plan ways to make our organization even better, I knew we would always make the right decisions if we considered the most important thing: The patient.” Wise says investments will be made to keep people from having to leave the area for care, including cancer services, more outpatient services, advanced intensive care services through LVHN’s advanced ICU and integration into LVHN’s innovative electronic medical record system, Epic.

Jeff Snyder, who served as PHS’s President and Chief Executive Officer, resigned effective Dec. 31 to pursue his “desire to lead in a different capacity.” Snyder will continue to provide consultation during a 30-day merger transition period.

Also at today’s announcement were family members of the late Dr. Joseph ‘Doc’ Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Founder and Chairman of the Board, who passed away in 2012 at age 86. The Mattioli family has generously supported trauma and emergency care at both Pocono Health System and LVHN over the years.

Mattioli’s grandson, Brandon Igdalsky, the President and CEO of Pocono Raceway, spoke about what this merger means for our community. “Quality health care has always been something that is important to our family,” Igdalsky said. “As members of the business community, we’re excited about this merger because convenient access to quality care is essential to attracting new jobs to the area.”