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Sacred Heart HealthCare System to Merge With St. Luke’s

Anderson St. Luke's

The terms of its merger with St. Luke’s University Health Network will allow for Sacred Heart Hospital to maintain its Catholic identity.

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Sacred Heart HealthCare System, a health network that includes Sacred Heart Hospital in downtown Allentown, primary care centers at 10 sites throughout the Lehigh Valley and senior housing services, and St. Luke’s University Health Network, a regional health network with seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites serving 10 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, announced plans Tuesday for Sacred Heart to join St. Luke’s University Health Network.

“The terms of the transaction will allow the combined health network to continue its relentless focus on quality and to enhance the level of health care services, develop new programs and service opportunities and increase access to physician specialists in the Lehigh County region, while maintaining its not-for-profit status,” a news release stated. “The terms also allow for Sacred Heart Hospital to maintain its Catholic identity.”

“Sacred Heart is excited to enter into this affiliation with St. Luke’s,” said John Nespoli, president and CEO of the Sacred Heart HealthCare System. “St. Luke’s has an incredible track record of working successfully with community hospitals. With the partnership of St. Luke’s, Sacred Heart will offer our physicians and employees growth opportunities and, most importantly, continue with our charitable mission in the heart of the city.”

The agreement between Sacred Heart HealthCare System and St. Luke’s University Health Network has been unanimously approved by the boards of both organizations after a competitive selection process, the news release indicated.

“This affiliation agreement was made with the best interests of our patients, our physicians, our employees and our community in mind. St. Luke’s long history of enriching the hospitals that join its network make it the ideal partner,” said Paul Huck, chairman of Sacred Heart HealthCare System’s Board of Directors. “This collaboration will ensure that the health care needs of people in the Lehigh Valley and the region will continue to receive the quality, compassionate care that has been the mainstay of Sacred Heart for over 100 years.”

St. Luke’s University Health Network CEO and President Richard A. Anderson added, “Over the years, St. Luke’s has established a highly successful record of working collaboratively and forming successful partnerships with hospitals that have joined our network–in western Allentown, Quakertown and Coaldale, Pa., and in Phillipsburg, N.J. We have extended our nationally recognized quality programs to these locations, providing patients with cost-effective care and superior quality second to none as measured regionally and nationally. St. Luke’s will replicate at Sacred Heart the success it has achieved at its other campuses, resulting in a ‘win-win-win’ for all. The community wins. Sacred Heart wins. Our Network wins.”

The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including review and approval by various regulatory agencies, and is expected to be completed early next year.

Sacred Heart’s history dates back to 1912, when it was founded in downtown Allentown.

Since then the hospital has grown to offer a wide range of advanced medical services including bariatric surgery, vascular surgery, cardiology, endocrinology, rehabilitation and behavioral health services as well as a network of physician practices throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The announcement Tuesday is the second merger with a well-known regional health care network announced by St. Luke’s in less than a week.

Last Wednesday Blue Mountain Health System–which consists of two community-based hospitals in Lehighton and Palmerton, Carbon County, announced its plans to join St. Luke’s University Health Network.

“Choosing the right partner that shared our mission and commitment to quality care was a priority,” said Andrew E. Harris, president and CEO of the Blue Mountain Health System in a news release. “We now have an incredible opportunity to raise the level of healthcare in Carbon and neighboring counties and provide residents with even greater access to care.”

“This affiliation agreement was made with the best interests of our community and our employees in mind,” added Steven Serfass, chairman of Blue Mountain Health System’s Board of Trustees. “We wanted to ensure that the residents of Carbon and neighboring counties would continue to receive the highest quality, most cost-effective health care now and for years to come. St. Luke’s long history of these qualities made it the ideal partner.”

The transaction with Blue Mountain Health System–which has been unanimously approved by both boards of trustees–is subject to certain conditions, including review and approval by various federal and Pennsylvania regulatory agencies, and is also expected to be completed by the end of the year.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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