Reading Hospital Joins Alliance With Six Others

The Reading Health System announced Wednesday that it has joined an alliance with six other health systems in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a move officials say could lead to better and more affordable care for patients, improve hospital operations and reduce costs.

The alliance, AllSpire Health Partners, is not a merger, officials stressed.  Reading Hospital will remain locally governed and managed.

The seven health systems include a total of 25 hospitals with a service area of more than 6 million people.  The systems have a combined revenue of $10.5 billion, and AllSpire touts the partnership as the largest health care consortium in the country.

Read more:

Some At Altoona Regional Health System Urging Caution In UPMC’s Acquisition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPMC‘s months-in-the-making acquisition of the Altoona Regional Health System may soon be finalized, but the deal is not sitting well with some employees and community residents.

Last week, a petition with some 2,000 signatures was delivered to Altoona Health officials, urging them “to slow down and stop exclusive talks with UPMC in order to re-examine the best future course for our hospital.”

The next day, Altoona president and CEO Jerry Murray sent a letter to the health system’s 6,000 employees that said the UPMC affiliation was on track for a July 1 completion announcement, pending final approval from the board and the state attorney general’s office.

“There are some very well-meaning people in the community who have concerns, and we appreciate the concerns that they have.  Unfortunately, there are also some with self-serving motives,” said Dave Cuzzolina, Altoona Health’s director of marketing and communications.

Read more:

‘Doc-In-A-Box’ Centers On Rise For Urgent Care

Temple University logo (no text, "T"...

Temple University logo (no text, “T” only) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only a week after Shannon Cropper first noticed Temple University‘s cherry-and-white “T” on a ReadyCare Center at the Pavilion in Jenkintown, he found himself sitting in an examination room there with his 9-year-old daughter, Kennedy, who had tumbled off her bicycle and twisted her ankle.

“I’m having a hard time walking on it,” Kennedy said as she rested the injured joint on her father’s lap.

Just 45 minutes after entering the ReadyCare’s bright waiting room, Kennedy had had her vital signs taken, been examined by a doctor, and had her swollen ankle X-rayed.  Father and daughter were now waiting for a radiologist a few miles down the road at Temple University Hospital to read the film.

“It’s well-organized,” Cropper said of ReadyCare, one of a growing number of urgent-care centers set up by hospitals like Temple. “My first impression is that this is amazing.”


Berks Hospitals Get High Ratings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical treatment available at Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center is as good as or better than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.

But the cost of that treatment is more expensive at Reading Hospital, 16 percent more expensive on average.

The Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council measures the in-hospital death and readmission rate of all hospitals in the state in 2011.  A readmission is defined as being admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being hospitalized for the same condition.

It also measures the average cost for treating some common medical conditions.

Read more:

Hospitals Become Key Players In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Economy

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a massive consolidation of the region’s health care industry, Community Health Systems has become the largest private employer in Northeast Pennsylvania.

With about 6,500 employees at eight area hospitals and nonhospital entities, Community Health Systems has even surpassed Tobyhanna Army Depot, which has about 5,400 workers.

“Whenever you have an employer that size, clearly that has a huge impact on the economy, not just for the people we employ, but those folks go out and buy houses and cars and gas,” said Cornelio Catena, CEO of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Commonwealth Health, the umbrella group for Community Health Systems’ area hospitals.

“It’s a huge economic contributor to our area.”

Read more: