St. Luke’s University Health Network is celebrating the news that St. Luke’s Hospital-Bethlehem Campus in Fountain Hill has been named the #1 major teaching hospital in the U.S. by IBM Watson Health, which ranks healthcare providers in a number of different categories annually.
Hospital officials, physicians and others attended an outdoor reception held Thursday to mark the prestigious milestone, which SLUHN Vice President & Chief Quality Officer Donna Sabol said was fittingly taking place during National Hospital Week.
“We are extremely proud of (the teaching hospital) award,” Sabol told about 100 guests gathered under a tent at Bishopthorpe and Ostrum streets in Fountain Hill.
Sabol called all the awards SLUHN received in the recent rankings–including being named a 2021 15 Top Health Systems award–a “validation” of the high quality care the network provides.
“These awards are not a popularity contest,” she noted. “These awards tell us…that we are simply the best–in our city, our state and in our country.”
Sabol also touted the success of SLUHN’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate the communities it serves against COVID-19; efforts she said paid off with Thursday’s gathering, which was the first of its kind the health network had hosted in more than a year.
As an added bonus to being fully vaccinated–a requirement for those who attended the event–Sabol invited them to safely remove their face coverings if they felt comfortable doing so. Many did, and the invitation coincided with the CDC’s announcement Thursday that fully-vaccinated Americans can safely unmask themselves in most indoor settings.
St. Luke’s Hospital-Bethlehem Campus President & Chief Nursing Officer Carol Kuplen said the hospital’s response to the pandemic had “set the standard for the nation on patient outcomes” and noted that while the Bethlehem and Allentown campuses were both named to IBM Watson Health’s Top 100 Hospitals list for a ninth time, St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township was named to it a third time (in the Medium Community Hospital category) and St. Luke’s Miners Campus in Coaldale, Schuylkill County was named to it for the first time (in the Small Community Hospital category).
“We here in eastern Pennsylvania are a national destination for health care,” she said.
The innovation and commitment to education St. Luke’s embodies are why the hospital is able to retain about 30 residents and fellows from its medical school each year, said Chief Graduate Medical Education Officer JP Orlando.
“We all share a common goal of providing innovative and compassionate care to our community,” said Temple/St. Luke’s School of Medicine Senior Associate Dean Shaden Eldakar-Hein, MD, who noted that St. Luke’s is an important community asset as the only regional medical school in the Lehigh Valley.
St. Luke’s President & CEO Richard A. “Rick” Anderson began his remarks by thanking U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-15), who represents much of the area SLUHN serves in Congress, for a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition her office presented the hospital in honor of its latest achievements.
He then asked attendees to imagine what St. Luke’s health care was like on the day it opened nearly 150 years ago, in 1872, and then to consider how far medicine has come.
It has only come so far at St. Luke’s because of people working together; people who are heavily invested in a culture of caring, Anderson said.
“(Achievement) never happens because of one person,” he remarked. “Everyone (at St. Luke’s) is selfless,” he said, which is why if one person stumbles, someone else is there to pick them up.
Although the day was one of celebration across multiple fronts, Anderson noted that the pandemic isn’t yet over, and urged attendees to be vaccine ambassadors by encouraging their acquaintances to be inoculated against COVID-19.
“That’s the way we’ll win this pandemic battle,” he said.
Photos courtesy of St. Luke’s University Health Network