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After 1 Year with St. Luke’s, Easton Hospital Finances Stabilized, Setting Stage for Expansion
June 30, 2021

On July 1, St. Luke’s Easton Campus will celebrate the first anniversary of its acquisition by St. Luke’s University Health Network.

After one year as part of St. Luke’s, Easton’s namesake hospital is no longer losing money as it had for years under previous owners. Its finances stabilized, the hospital is now focused on adding services for Easton-area residents.

“St. Luke’s laid the groundwork for a great turnaround,” Easton Campus President Linda Grass says, noting that in February the hospital posted its first positive operating margin in years.

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“Admissions are up 23 percent since the acquisition, and ER visits were 30 percent higher than planned in the first year,” Grass reports. Also helpful was the reopening of diagnostic services.

This fall, an adolescent behavior health unit will open here. Patient waiting areas and other public spaces are getting facelifts, many displaying the St. Luke’s logo. Between now and the end of 2022, the emergency department is targeted for additional growth.

“It is exciting to be part of developing programs that are so essential and aligned with both the community needs and Network needs,” says Joseph Faccio, DO, Easton’s medical staff president and director of emergency medicine. “Easton is rapidly overcoming the challenges it had faced for many years and, since the acquisition, patients, physicians and staff express optimism about the future direction of the Easton Campus.”

Since January of this year, several operating rooms and gastrointestinal (GI) procedural rooms were modernized and reopened, while vascular surgery, interventional radiology and pulmonary testing programs were returned. A physician group that specializes in GI medicine joined St. Luke’s and now is busy performing colonoscopies and other interventions in the new procedure rooms.

“As soon as the community saw the St. Luke’s star on the hospital, they started to return for their care,” says Grass. “They have confidence in St. Luke’s to provide high-quality care and are excited at the prospects of St. Luke’s investing in the future of the hospital.”

In response to the critical needs during the pandemic, St. Luke’s launched a monoclonal antibody clinic at Easton to treat COVID patients and has infused more than 1,500 patients with this remarkable solution. Additionally, a new molecular laboratory that provides rapid COVID test results in as little as 24 hours was opened this year.

Doctors, nurses and other employees are sharing an enthusiasm that hasn’t been seen at Easton in years, says Grass. “They are thrilled to be part of the early success of the hospital. And they want to be here to help lead the hospital into a bright new future.”

Faccio, a former paramedic in New York and a firefighter in Easton before going to medical school, says, “The patient and staff loyalty are key drivers of the hospital’s growth.”

Easton Mayor Sal Panto on the St. Luke’s Easton Campus turnaround: “The purchase of Easton Hospital by St. Luke’s University Health Network has proven to be a real positive for our community. St. Luke’s has a real vision for this facility and the entire community will benefit from the healthcare services they provide.”

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Media Contact:

Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, samuel.kennedy@sluhn.org

 

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 sites and 300+ outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue in excess of $2.5 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 established 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 to earn 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.  U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Luke’s #1 in the Lehigh Valley and #6 in the state.  Three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals are St. Luke’s hospitals.  St. Luke’s flagship University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health nine times total and seven years in a row, including in 2021 when it was identified as THE #1 TEACHING HOSPITAL IN THE COUNTRY.  In 2021, IBM Watson Health also named St. Luke’s among the 15 Top Health Systems nationally.  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.