St. Luke's University Health Network

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Allentown Campus Celebrates Opening

St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus Celebrates Opening of $75 Million Expansion

ALLENTOWN (9-17-2008) - More than 500 people attended the grand opening celebration at the new St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus at 1736 Hamilton Street. The $75 million expansion more than doubles the size of the hospital campus. The celebration came nearly two years after ground was broken for the ambitious project.

Joining members of St. Luke's leadership team to celebrate the occasion were public officials, physicians, donors, employees, volunteers, members of the community, supporters and friends. Officials spoke of St. Luke's commitment to enhance the health care experience in Allentown.

Ken Smith, Chairman, Board of Trustees, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network, welcomed guests to celebrate the milestone and reminded the crowd of the history of the Allentown Campus, which joined St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network in 1997.

“Stop and take a moment with me to reflect on the path that has led us to the historic achievement we are celebrating today,” he said. “Just 11 short years ago, in what many times seems little more than a blink of the eye in our fast-paced lifestyles, the Allentown Osteopathic Medical Center, like many other independent hospitals across our country—then and since—was struggling. Thankfully, there were dedicated physicians, far-sighted trustees, visionary administrators and countless others who believed in the mission of their hospital, believed in what still could be achieved here, on this site, and who had the resolve to see their hospital succeed.”

“The visible signs of success you see here today, embodied is this new addition, result from strong partnerships rooted in mutual respect and trust,” said Richard A. Anderson, President and CEO, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. “The most sacred partnership is that between physician, nurse or other caregiver and patient. This hospital has great physicians, great nurses and a great staff. We are also fortunate to have a very positive partnership with the City of Allentown and with other government officials. Nothing great is ever accomplished by one person. Great things happen when people work together to do what is right.”

The total size of the new Allentown Campus expansion is 213,000 square feet; half of this new space is completely fitted out. Patients and visitors can access the building through the new Main Lobby at the East Entrance. Perhaps the greatest impact can be seen in the Emergency Department, which has doubled in size. The department is now equipped to handle 60,000 patient visits annually, from major injuries such as heart attack and strokes to more minor injuries.

The Emergency Department features four new triage bays for rapid assessment and 19 new exam and treatment rooms, seven of which are dedicated as full-time Fast Track rooms for minor illnesses and injuries. Patients who are assessed for Fast Track care are seen by dedicated, certified emergency room clinicians. Fast Track will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The goal at Fast Track is to have patients seen and discharged in 90 minutes or less.

All new digital X-ray systems from GE Healthcare are now located within the Emergency Department to further expedite care and treatment. Ample parking is available at the new East Entrance.

Patients will also benefit from a state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanner from GE Healthcare, which is located in the Emergency Department. This innovative technology provides rapid, precise imaging to diagnose disease and life-threatening illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, while improving emergency wait times. St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus is a certified stroke center.

Other new areas include a new Main Lobby with Gift Shop and coffee kiosk; six new ICU beds for critical care patients; 22 new medical/surgical beds, including two specially designed for weight-loss surgery patients; two new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories with state-of-the-art technology from GE Healthcare for interventional cardiovascular procedures and electrophysiology studies; cardiac cath holding area; and a 680-square foot Open Heart Operating Room Suite.

“I can't help but say we have a great hospital and great people,” said Frank Ford, President, St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus. “I am proud to be a part of it and to be among so many people who have made this a reality. I must recognize our talented and trusted medical staff, our wonderful employees and volunteers, and also the past and present members of Allentown's City Council who supported the vacation of St. Cloud Street, enabling us to realize our vision. These individuals include Julio Guridy, Gail Hoover, Tom Burke, David Bausch, David Howells, Louis Hershman and Martin Velazques. I must also recognize Allentown's Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham, State Representative Jennifer Mann and many others for their continued support.”

Growth in admissions fueled this expansion, according to Ford. “More and more patients are choosing this hospital for care; the numbers tell the story, especially in terms of emergency room visits and total admissions.”

“Since the merger in 1997, admissions have increased 98 percent,” said Mr. Anderson. Admissions in 1997 were recorded at 4,389; in the 2008 fiscal year, total admissions were 8,696. St. Luke's recorded 34,144 emergency visits in Fiscal Year 2008, an increase of 167% since 1997 when 12,800 visits were recorded.

“As people were choosing St. Luke's Allentown Campus as ‘their’ hospital, St. Luke's responded by investing more than $127 million in buildings and technology and adding 261,000 new square feet to this hospital, as well as opening other health care facilities across the community,” said Mr. Anderson. “Growing patient volumes also brought additional respected, highly trained and skilled physicians to this campus.”

“Seeing is believing; it is truly incredible how this hospital has grown on Hamilton Street over the past 11 years,” said David Lobach, Chairman, Board of Governors, St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus and Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. “But even more impressive than the outside is what is on the inside—a tremendous team of physicians, exceptional health care providers and support staff, a comfortable, spacious hospital environment and some if the most impressive medical technologies available today. I must echo Ken's earlier remarks; this is an historic achievement. Indeed, today, we mark the start of a new era for health care in Allentown.”

“The expansion at St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus was not only designed to meet immediate needs, but built with tomorrow in mind,” continued Lobach. “Shell space of more than 100,000 square feet is still available to us, enabling us to meet the health care needs of this community well into the future,” he said. “If recent history is any indication of the growing need for quality health care services in this community, without a doubt, all of this new space will be put to the very best use.”

A new Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) will also open in new space on the Third Floor in December 2008. Additional shell space has been established in the new building on the Ground Level and the Fourth and Fifth Floors, providing the flexibility for future expansion of key departments, including inpatient beds, surgical suites and support space. A Wound Care Center with two new hyperbaric chambers and a Community Education Room will be added in 2009.

“I pass this hospital routinely and I am amazed by its presence today every time I drive down Hamilton Street,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “The transformation of St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus has been just amazing. But even more amazing is the real impact it will have on this community from both a health care and an economic standpoint.”

It is estimated that 115 new direct positions will be available to qualified professionals as a result of the growth at the Allentown Campus. This includes openings for nurses, doctors, managers, technologists, clerical and administrative staff. According to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, these new health care jobs will add economic vitality to the region as new health care employees become new consumers of goods and services. As a result, 165 new indirect jobs are forecasted. Overall, the total economic impact to the region is estimated at $15.7 million.

With Phase I of this expansion completed, St. Luke's is the largest single investor in the City of Allentown. St. Luke's total capital investment for facility improvements, for new technology and for the introduction of new services at the Allentown Campus from 1997 to 2008 amounts to $127.5 million. In total, 261,000-square feet has been added since the Allentown Campus became a part of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network.

Phase I of the building expansion officially opens for public use September 22, 2008; a community open house to preview the new building is scheduled for September 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To attend this open house, register by calling St. Luke's InfoLink at 1-877-610-6161 or emailing infolink@slhn.org.

About St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus

Making quality health care accessible is part of St. Luke's mission. To support this, St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus has continued to add important health care programs and services, since it became part of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network in 1997.

This recent expansion adds to previous investments at St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus. In June 2003, the hospital opened a new five-story addition that, at that time, included a 10,000-square foot Emergency Department expansion, five state-of-the-art operating room suites, some of the most advanced imaging technology from General Electric, the addition of an Intensive Care Unit, advanced laboratory and pathology departments, same-day surgery and endoscopy areas.

In January 2007, St. Luke's nationally-recognized heart program was introduced at the campus. The comprehensive program includes emergency care for heart attacks provided 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, cardiac testing, cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology studies and procedures and open heart surgery.

Today, some of the most advanced procedures in the region, and even the world, are performed at St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus, including computer-assisted knee replacement surgery and total lumbar disc replacements. Also, innovative procedures for women are consistently performed by internationally recognized reconstructive pelvic surgeon Vincent Lucente, MD at the campus.

St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus now offers adjustable gastric lap banding, an FDA-approved adjustable and reversible obesity procedure that is the least invasive form of weight loss surgery.

St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus was recognized with the Premier Award for Quality for hip and knee replacement procedures in 2006 and again in 2007. Premier measures the quality and cost of care at hundreds of hospitals throughout the country and identifies the best of the best.

Other positive changes have included the move of St. Luke’s Family Health Center to a new location at 1501 Lehigh Street in Allentown in April 2007. Patients now benefit from a larger, completely renovated 12,000-square foot facility with first-floor access and ample parking. The center provides children and adults with preventive care, the treatment of illness and the management of chronic conditions.

In August 2007, a new St. Luke’s Cancer Center opened at 240 Cetronia Road in South Whitehall Township. Patients needing outpatient cancer care benefit from a radiation therapy program featuring state-of-the-art cancer-fighting technologies, outpatient infusion services, a laboratory and a pharmacy. Patients may also schedule consults and appointments with a variety of cancer specialists at the facility, including fellowship-trained surgical oncologists, urologists, a gynecologic oncologist and a thoracic surgeon.

The investments made by St. Luke’s complement the ongoing urban economic development projects supported by the City of Allentown and Lehigh County. Currently, St. Luke’s Hospital-Allentown Campus employs nearly 700 employees and has a payroll approaching $35 million annually. By continuing to expand important hospital services and programs, St. Luke’s serves as a vehicle of redevelopment for the third largest metropolitan area in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.