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St. Luke’s Awarded $400,000 Grant for Rural Telemedicine
January 21, 2019

St. Luke’s University Health Network has been awarded $401,700 under the 2018 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.

By connecting St. Luke’s Hospital–Bethlehem via telehealth equipment to the Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital in Orwigsburg, the project will provide more than 140,000 underserved rural patients better access to critically needed specialty care such as behavioral health services and chronic disease management.

“This is great news for historically-underserved rural populations,” said Dr. James Balshi, the Chief Medical Information Officer at St. Luke’s University Health Network. “The grant will improve access to St. Luke’s high quality, low cost care through tele-medicine – a high-tech solution to an age-old problem.”

The grant will also enable Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital staff to participate in virtual professional development training.

“Access to health care continues to be a top dinner table issue in our region,” said U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will always speak up for funding programs that improve or expand access in our rural communities.”

The new Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital, under construction near Orwigsburg, is scheduled to open later this year. The final steel beams were set into place at the construction site in November.

Made with American steel, the 120,000 square foot hospital marks the first time in Pennsylvania history that two health care systems have agreed to equally co-own, build and manage a new hospital.

Hiring is underway. Permanent positions paying attractive, family-sustaining wages and benefits include doctors, nurses, technicians and other workers. All are needed to provide the inpatient care, surgery, radiology, lab and additional services the 80-bed hospital will feature, including an emergency department, medical/surgical suites and an intensive care unit.

Those interested in employment opportunities and in applying for positions can learn more by visiting sluhn.org/careers. Potential candidates will be interviewed at a new hiring center located near the hospital construction site at 1021 Centre Turnpike near Orwigsburg.


About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.  Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows.  St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  In 2018, St. Luke’s was named a Top Hospital in the Teaching Hospital category by the Leapfrog Group.  It has repeatedly earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) – six times total and four years in a row including 2018.  It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program.  Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.