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Schuylkill Health System is now Lehigh Valley Health Network: Celebrating the Merger

The merger is official. Schuylkill Health System is now Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). After the announcement was made, a celebration was held for the newest members of the LVHN team in Schuylkill County. Meet some of them, and enjoy stories and photos from this historic day.

LVH–Schuylkill president Bill Reppy worked in what is now LVH–Schuylkill E. Norwegian Street from 1990 to 2005 as director of radiology and medical diagnostic services. As he toured the hospitals with other leaders, he was reunited with many colleagues with whom he previously worked. One of them, Penny Klinger, was hired by Reppy. “Some things in life come full circle,” Klinger says, as the two reminisce. Klinger believes Reppy is the perfect person to serve as LVH– Schuylkill president because he is a Schuylkill County native who is hard-working and dedicated to our mission to “heal, comfort and care for our community.”

Maintenance department colleague Fritz Heller is a third-generation employee at LVH–S. Jackson Street. Recently while cleaning out a storage room, he discovered a dusty photo of the hospital’s head of surgery from the 1940s, James Heller, MD, his grandfather. “It’s a sigh of relief now that LVHN is here,” Heller says, “because I can carry on what my grandfather started.”

Emergency department caregiver Leah Donovan, RN, shares the community’s excitement in having LVHN close to home. Here’s why. Her father survived cardiac arrest and her mother is a cancer survivor after receiving care at LVH–Cedar Crest. “I watched as my parents received great care in an expeditious manner from people who had a smile on their face,” she says. “I’m excited to work for an organization with that kind of reputation.”

LVHN president and chief executive officer Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, conversed with new colleagues at the cafeteria celebration, where cake was served and colleagues wrote powerful message on the “Commitment Wall.” (View the photo gallery to learn more.) When one colleague admired Nester’s LVHN lapel pin, he graciously removed it and gave it to her. She wasn’t the only new colleague to get a pin. As leaders toured our newest hospitals, they distributed LVHN pins and ID badges to everyone they met.

Switchboard operators Susan Ruzze (left) and Marie Wetzel are the first people patients and visitors interact with when they call or enter LVH–Schuylkill S. Jackson Street. They don’t take lightly their responsibility to make a positive first impression. They believe having the LVHN name and logo prominently displayed in the lobby will add to that experience. “This is progress,” Ruzze says. “Change for the better,” Wetzel agrees.

Providing quality health care takes a team of people working toward a common goal. Rick Smith, lead cook at LVH–Schuylkill E. Norwegian Street, is an important member of the team. It’s a group of people he calls “family.” “When I see someone who is having a bad day, I stop to talk with them to help life them up and make their day better,” he says. “That’s what health care is all about, making people well.” Now that he works at LVHN, he’s excited his home family will have convenient access to quality health care close to home. The father of four and grandfather of six says, “It’s nice to know my kids won’t have to leave the area for great care.”

Kaedence, the daughter of Quinn and Joseph Coates of Minersville, has a special birthday. She was the first infant born at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill S. Jackson Street following the formal merger. Kaedence came into the world at 12:44 p.m. on Sept. 16, weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 18½ inches. To celebrate the occasion, staff showered her with a stuffed teddy bear, a pink onesie and other gifts. “I was surprised when I learned that Kaedence is a special baby,” Quinn says. “I’m glad she will always be remembered that way.”