Penn Foundation and St. Luke’s University Health Network announced last week that the Bucks County-based foundation will join St. Luke’s, pending regulatory agency approval.
Headquartered in Sellersville, Penn Foundation is a nonprofit, community-based behavioral health provider with 27 behavioral health and substance use treatment programs that serve more than 20,000 individuals annually. It operates one of Pennsylvania’s first Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence and is an Aetna Institute of Quality and an Independence Blue Cross Center of Distinction.
“Penn Foundation has a long and proud history of providing compassionate care based on the most recent science and research. All of us at St. Luke’s are honored and pleased Penn Foundation has decided to join our Network,” said Rick Anderson, President & CEO of St. Luke’s.
President & CEO of Penn Foundation Wayne A. Mugrauer said “Penn Foundation is fortunate to be well positioned to make this strategic decision for the future health of our community. Joining St. Luke’s University Health Network assures continued regional access to high-quality behavioral healthcare that is fully integrated with general medicine.”
The St. Luke’s/Penn Foundation partnership, which was approved by the Board of Directors of Penn Foundation and the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s, is subject to certain conditions, including review and approval by various regulatory agencies.
When the agreement is approved by the regulatory agencies, which is expected to be in the first quarter of 2021, Penn Foundation and St. Luke’s will operate the largest nonprofit network of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services in eastern Pennsylvania. Additionally, their combined services will establish a complete continuum of care to treat patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders.
“After years of exploring strategic partnerships to ensure the sustainability of our mission and to position Penn Foundation to respond to extraordinary demand for services, increasing competition, and, unfortunately, diminishing funding, we are thrilled to have found an extraordinary partner in St. Luke’s University Health Network,” said Dorothy K. Weik-Hange, Esq., Penn Foundation Board Chair. “St. Luke’s shares our community-based mission; values our history, expertise and contributions to the fields of behavioral health and addiction treatment; and is committed to ensuring these vital services remain accessible within an integrated system of wellness.”
Penn Foundation’s decision to join St. Luke’s comes at a time when the demand for behavioral health services is rapidly rising. The alarming rates of depression, anxiety and suicide are expected to increase as a result of the immediate and long-term effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, as a result of increased alcohol consumption and the ongoing challenges connected to the opioid crisis, substance use disorder treatment is also expected to spike.
St. Luke’s has made behavioral health a top priority. In 2018, St. Luke’s tripled its number of behavioral health inpatient beds to 168, making it the largest provider of services of this type in the Lehigh Valley. Last month, St. Luke’s Sacred Heart in Allentown announced it will open the region’s first Level IV medical detoxification unit early next year, providing 24-hour medical supervision to people withdrawing from alcohol or other drugs.
“St. Luke’s recognizes the significant role that behavioral health services play in the overall health and wellbeing of our community,” Anderson said. “The synergies created by this agreement will benefit patients throughout areas our organizations serve for generations to come.”
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network. Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals sites and more than 300 outpatient sites.