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St. Luke’s to Expand Gnaden Huetten Emergency Department and Open Walk-In Care Center at Palmerton
June 19, 2019

In the year and a half since the St. Luke’s / Blue Mountain merger, tremendous progress has been made expanding access to high quality, low cost health care at St. Luke’s Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses. Some of St. Luke’s investments to date include:

  • Renovation of the Older Adult Behavioral Health Unit at Gnaden Huetten
  • Expanded specialty services – Cancer Center, Sleep Center, Diabetes Center, Wound Care Center with hyperbaric chambers
  • New chiller at Gnaden Huetten
  • Refurbished boiler at Palmerton
  • Expansion of St. Luke’s Cardiology Associates
  • Additional physicians and surgeons in various specialties
  • Upgraded technology – Epic and Workday
  • Enhanced employee benefits and compensation
  • Purchase of 108 acres in Franklin Township for a new campus.

Next up, St. Luke’s Gnaden Huetten’s emergency department (ED) will offer expanded care as a new St. Luke’s Care Now walk-in urgent care facility opens in place of the emergency department at the Palmerton Campus. The changes will take effect July 1.

“These developments will allow St. Luke’s to offer the most cost effective and highest quality comprehensive care possible for the patients of both St. Luke’s Palmerton and Gnaden Huetten campuses,” said John Nespoli, President of St. Luke’s Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses.

St. Luke’s Care Now facilities have proven extremely successful and effective throughout the Network. Care is quicker, less expensive and more convenient. In fact, the average cost of a visit to a St. Luke’s Care Now is $25 while the average cost of an ED visit at most hospitals can be as high as $125. St. Luke’s Care Now facilities offer call-ahead scheduling, walk-in X-ray, lab services and on-site access to common prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. In the case off a life-threatening emergency, the patient may be transported to the expanded ED at the Gnaden Huetten Campus.

Among the enhancements to the Gnaden Huetten ED:

  • More beds
  • More behavioral health beds
  • New equipment
  • Refurbished interior


Additionally, St. Luke’s is expanding patient transportation services for Carbon County, introducing:

  • A critical care transport ambulance to Jim Thorpe, operating with a critical care RN, paramedic and EMT
  • A transit wheelchair van for both Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton
  • A daily shuttle from Palmerton to Gnaden Huetten’s outpatient lab and radiology services.


“Consolidating emergency services at one site – along with investing in new facility upgrades, technology and transportation and bringing new physicians to Carbon County – will improve care for our community,” Nespoli said.


 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 15,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and 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 Lehigh Valley’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 Lehigh Valley-based health care system with Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital.  In 2019, three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals were St. Luke’s hospitals.  St. Luke’s University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health seven times total and five years in a row. St. Luke’s 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.