Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital officially opened its doors Wednesday morning, signaling the next chapter of compassionate, patient-centered health care in Schuylkill County. As the first hospital to open in the county in more than 90 years, Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital will make health care easier for area residents by bringing new services closer to home.
The hospital’s Emergency Department opened to patients at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The facility will eventually have 80 beds, but opened with 30, including 15 in the Emergency Department and six in its intensive care unit. Additional inpatient beds will be added as service demand increases. The facility features two surgical bays, with plans to expand to four bays. All patient beds and rooms are private. Appointments and referrals for outpatient services at the hospital, including imaging and laboratory, can now be scheduled by calling 484-526-1000.
The 130,000-square foot, three-story facility is a $72 million investment in the greater Orwigsburg community. More than 250 employees have been hired so far for the hospital, with recruitment ongoing for some positions. Almost two million pounds of American steel were used to erect the facility, and 80 miles of cable is neatly tucked away inside the walls of the building to help make the state-of-the-art medical equipment and IT systems work seamlessly.
“The community has watched two health care organizations come together on this amazing project, and we couldn’t be more excited for the hospital to be open and to advance care in this community,” said Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital President Gabe Kamarousky. “Advancing care together and improving our community’s health isn’t just our message–it’s our mission and our commitment to our friends, neighbors, patients, providers and our staff.”
In addition to the Emergency Department and intensive care unit, the hospital will offer cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, nephrology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, radiology and urology services. It also features a helipad for Geisinger Life Flight. The services available in the hospital will complement the existing services provided by the many local providers as well as the Geisinger and St. Luke’s primary and specialty care clinics in Schuylkill and Berks counties. For additional convenience, Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital accepts most major health plans.
“When you add a facility like this to the health care services our organizations already offer in this area, we can make care more accessible and affordable,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger president and chief executive officer. “When we do that, we know we can improve health, and Geisinger and St. Luke’s want to be the resource for improving health here. We also have 28,000 Geisinger Health Plan members in this area, and now they will have easier access to care.”
Hospital construction started in the spring of 2018, with more than 250 construction jobs created throughout the project. The hospital is co-owned by Danville-based Geisinger and Bethlehem-based St. Luke’s University Health Network. It’s the first time in Pennsylvania history that two health care organizations have joined together to co-own and co-build a hospital. St. Luke’s is managing the hospital, and both organizations are contributing medical expertise and specialists for patient care.
“The new hospital in Orwigsburg will emphasize the strengths of both St. Luke’s and Geisinger while extending the best value in health care for the region – that is, the highest in quality at the lowest cost to benefit the residents of Schuylkill County and surrounding areas,” said Rick Anderson, St. Luke’s University Health Network president and chief executive officer.
Earlier this month, more than 3,000 community members attended an open house to tour the hospital and see the unique features inside the building. Residents had the opportunity to meet the staff and check out patient rooms that include smart TVs and smart features to engage patients in their health care and track their medical charts.
A medical office building is also under construction on the hospital campus and will include space for additional specialty care services.
Note: This regional health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.