St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) has forged alliances with two US partnerships that will enhance the network’s access to critical medical supplies that are made in the USA. These arrangements will help reduce American healthcare’s dependence on foreign suppliers.
The Bethlehem-based network of 12 hospitals joined Civica Rx, a nonprofit partnership comprising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and private industry manufacturers, which is increasing the domestic manufacturing of generic medicines and their active ingredients. St. Luke’s involvement in Civica Rx will improve its access to these medications at a lower cost. More than 50 health systems are Civica members, representing over 1,200 U.S. hospitals.
While the immediate priority of Civica Rx is to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coalition also plans to stockpile pain antibiotics, pain management medications, neuromuscular agents and other medicines. Phlow Corporation, a public-benefit manufacturer of Richmond, Virginia, will lead the partnership, producing essential medicines from beginning to end.
Additionally, St. Luke’s recently became one of 15 leading U.S. health systems to invest in face mask production from Prestige Ameritech, the country’s largest maker of face masks, including N95 masks and surgical masks. St. Luke’s agreed to buy from Prestige a percentage of all face masks the network uses annually for six years.
This arrangement is part of a plan of investing in domestic suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE), much of which currently is purchased from China and Southeast Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dangers of overreliance on foreign suppliers of PPE, which triggered widespread shortages that threatened the safety of healthcare providers and patients. Prestige sells 100 percent of its products to U.S. customers.
Other Premier members participating in the initial investment include AdventHealth (Altamonte Springs, FL), Adventist Health (Roseville, CA), Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, IL, and Milwaukee, WI), Ballad Health (Johnson City, TN), Banner Health (Phoenix, AZ), Baptist Health South Florida (Miami, FL), CommonSpirit Health (Chicago, IL), Genesis Health System (Davenport, IA), Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI), McLaren Health Care (Grand Blanc, MI), Riverside Health System (Newport News, VA), Texas Health Resources (Arlington, TX), Universal Health Services, Inc. (King of Prussia, PA) and University Hospitals (Cleveland, OH).
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 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals and 300+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne 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 38 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 347 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 2020, two 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 eight times total and six 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.