As part of its commitment to Carbon County, St. Luke’s University Health Network has completed upgrades to the Emergency Department at its Lehighton campus, adding five more beds, expanding staff hours and installing state-of-art medical technology.
The Emergency Department (ED) at the former Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital at 211 N. 12th St. now features 14 beds for emergency care, up from nine. In addition, the entire ED has been updated with new flooring, lighting and other amenities.
The changes mean the ED, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will be able to treat more patients more quickly, improving their quality of care, according to Joseph Pinto, COO of the Lehighton campus and Sacred Heart campus in Allentown.
All five new beds received the necessary state approvals to open on Dec. 9, Pinto said.
“We are fully operational,” Pinto said.
The renovations are part of St. Luke’s promise to expand services in Carbon County following its acquisition of Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton Hospital through a December 2017 merger with Blue Mountain Health System. The plan includes construction on an $80 million hospital on more than 100 acres at Fairyland and Harrity roads in Franklin Township.
Marsha Moyer, Patient Care Manager of the Lehighton ED, said patients won’t recognize the Emergency Department.
Moyer said all the new beds are in individual rooms with walls and doors, allowing for privacy. In addition, she said, new and current rooms have been updated with cardiac monitors, beds that can weigh patients for calculating prescription dosages and televisions to help patients pass time while waiting for test results and treatment.
The entire department has new flooring and lighting and a fresh coat of paint, among other renovations.
In addition, St. Luke’s has replaced contracted employees in the ED with its own physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They are staffing the ED with increased hours, a move that has reduced waiting times for treatment and transferal to medical beds, Moyer said.
David Gibson, Vice President of Patient Care Services for the Lehighton and Miners campuses, said the work at the Lehighton ED dovetails with the Network’s mission to reduce transfers and keep patients in their home town throughout their continuum of care. “Along with recently adding many talented, board certified ED physicians to our care team, the ED expansion is a major step forward in achieving this at the St. Luke’s Lehighton campus,” Gibson said.
Pinto said the renovations in the ED are part of a top-down makeover of the Lehighton building. “We’ve been updating and modernizing inside and out,” he said. “It truly feels like a new hospital.”
Additionally, the Lehighton campus continues to offer surgeries and care for patients in 42 medical/surgical and six ICU beds. It also houses a 42-bed behavioral health unit, skilled nursing facility, wound care center and adult day care.