Geisinger Commits To $126 Million In Upgrades At Scranton Hospital

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Following up on a promise to the community when it took over a local hospital earlier this year, Geisinger Health System Foundation Board of Directors today approved $125.7 million for Geisinger-Community Medical Center, part of a nearly $160 commitment to the hospital.

When Geisinger took over CMC hospital in February, it promised to make upgrades of during a seven-year period to the dated facility.

With today’s announcement, Geisinger commits to an $80 million facility expansion of GCMC, $25.7 million to construct a new physician office building in Scranton and a $20 million project already under way to upgrade the hospital’s information technology system.

Anthony Aquilina, D.O., chief medical officer at GCMC, said the goal is to boost quality of health care in the local community.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/geisinger-commits-to-126-million-in-upgrades-at-scranton-hospital-1.1333161

TriCounty Community Network Board Member, Patricia Eltz, To Receive VNA’s 2012 Nursing Champion Award

Pottstown, Pa. (May 7, 2012) – TriCounty Community Network (TCN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health, social and environmental conditions in Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, today announced that its founding president and current vice president of the board, Patricia Eltz, RN, MSN, retired community health specialist at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC), will be the recipient of the VNA of Pottstown Home Health & Hospice’s 2012 Nursing Champion Award. 

Ms. Eltz will receive this award at the 2012 Health Care Champion Breakfast being held on May 8 at 7:30 a.m. at the Copperfield Inn at Lakeside.  She is being recognized for her work promoting health care in the community.     

“We are thrilled that VNA is honoring Pat with this prestigious award,” said Jen Doyle, executive director for TCN.  “She believes in giving back and making a difference in her local community.  This is evident in her efforts to coordinate the TriCounty Health Partnership (TCHP) and her vision that led to TCHP and the Tri-County Interagency Consortium to merge in 2005 to create TCN.” 

Ms. Eltz chairs the TCN board’s Personnel Committee and also serves on the Executive, Finance and Board Development committees.  As a community health specialist at PMMC from 1995 to 2010, she developed PMMC’s Community Education program to encompass the greater community and heighten awareness of available services.  Her contributions to the community are endless.  Some examples include: implementing and obtaining funding and support for Community Dental Services (a dental service for the working poor); obtaining more than $1 million in funding and support through grants for both PMMC and TCHP; and promoting wellness and improved health in the Pottstown area utilizing education, prevention and early detection techniques.

Ms. Eltz received her post master’s certification in nursing administration from Villanova University, her master’s in community health nursing from West Chester University, her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of the State of New York, and her RN from Reading Area Community College.

About TriCounty Community Network                 

TCN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership-based organization that partners with nonprofits, businesses and community members to improve health, social and environmental conditions.  Serving Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, TCN offers seven key programs: Build Up Youth, C.A.R.E. (Caring in Alternative Residential Environments), Environmental Awareness, Family Literacy, Homeless Services, S.A.F.E. (Supporting Abuse Free Environments), and Workforce Development.  For more information on TCN, visit www.tcnetwork.org.

Geisinger Among 15 Top Health Systems In U.S.

DANVILLE, PA A new study ranks Geisinger Health System as one of the top 15 health systems in the United States.

The fourth annual Thomson Reuters 15 Top Health Systems study recently reported Geisinger was among the 15 hospital systems singled out for achievement in clinical outcomes based on balanced system-wide clinical performance according to data collected from more than 300 organizations. That performance measures included care quality, patient perception of care and efficiency.

Geisinger was one of just two Pennsylvania healthcare systems making the list. The other was Main Line Health in Bryn Mawr.

Read more: http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/536475/Geisinger-among-15-top-health-systems-in-U-S-.html?nav=5168

Carbondale Losing Hospital And Largest Employer

Carbondale, PA‘s largest employer and the last remaining Catholic-affiliated hospital in the region will close by Feb. 28, a move officials said was unavoidable as the number of patients dwindled and financial struggles multiplied.

Marian Community Hospital will have an operating loss of $2.6 million this year and projected an operating loss of more than $4 million in 2012, according to Mary Theresa Vautrinot, president and CEO of parent company Maxis Health System.

The hospital is licensed for 70 beds but scaled back to 35 in January 2010, according to hospital officials. For the past six months, the hospital has had an average daily census of 20 patients.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/marian-community-hospital-to-close-1.1238179#ixzz1f9WtkRfP

Lancaster General Hospital: Profits Dip But Hosptial Remains 6th Most Profitable Hospital In PA

Lancaster General Hospital showed a $66.6 million profit for the fiscal period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.  Only five hospitals in Pennsylvania showed higher profits in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, they were: Thomas Jefferson, CHOP, University of Penn, Lehigh Valley and UPMC –Presbyterian Hospital.  For fiscal year 2006-2007 Lancaster General Hospital showed a profit of $136.8 million.  Salaries and benefits were the number one cost that contributed to lower profits.  Pension expenses were the main culprit.  Lancaster General’s profit margin is 7 percent.  The state average is 4.5 percent.

Lancaster General contributes significantly to the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster City School District.  Each entity receives about $1.35 million a year.  According to Mayor Gray, Lancaster General’s tax contribution equals three-quarters of a mill.  In addition to taxes, Lancaster General gives well over a half-million dollars in grants to various local organizations and provided $83.3 million in charity care for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Lancaster General Health is a not-for-profit regional healthcare system with a reputation for excellence. Located in Lancaster,PA, Lancaster General Health has a 600 bed Magnet Hospital as its cornerstone with multiple outpatient facilities.  Twice designated a Magnet hospital for clinical excellence, LGH was named one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals, nine of the past 11 years.  LGH has been recognized regionally and nationally for its intensive care unit and cardiology and orthopedic services.  Other key specialty services include obstetrics, open-heart surgery, neurosurgery and trauma.  Lancaster General Health system is the county’s largest employer with 6,693 employees.  LGH was named as a 100 Best Places to work in PA – the last three years.

Lancaster And York: A Tale Of Two Cities

I just read a very interesting article from the York Daily Record comparing York and Lancaster.  I found the article very thought-provoking as a former Lancaster City and suburban Lancaster resident.  I also am somewhat familiar with York.

Of course, I will share my opinion with you since that IS what I do and offer some advice for York in the process.  There is a link at the bottom of this piece where you can read this article for yourself.

I must agree with Sonia Huntzinger, the Director of Downtown Inc. in York.  A comparison is not really fair.  Lancaster and York have some similarities and they are only about 30 miles apart, but that is about where it ends.  There are strategies York can use that Lancaster has already perfected and customize them for York, without reinventing the wheel.   BUT York must also embrace itself and be true to its own history.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that York needs to move on from its past.  Race riots in the late 60’s were 40 years ago and our nation and York have changed since then.  York was not the only city in America to have race riots and bad ones.  Pittsburgh had some humdingers and can anybody remember Watts!?!  But again, that is ancient history and holding on to a negative event from the past is unhealthy!  Let it go!

Secondly, York could be very successful and they are making great strides to that end.  Heritage Tourism in a historic city like York must be fully embraced.  It certainly worked for Lancaster and it will most certainly work for York.  Lancaster has been at this far longer so they are light years ahead of York because of a HUGE head start. 

More than 4 million people visit Lancaster each year as it is one of Pennsylvania’s largest tourist destinations.  York should piggy back on that phenomenon and say to those tourists visiting Lancaster, “Hey! Come on over!  York is only a short car ride away!”  It would enhance the experience for both 18th century cities.  (Lancaster being incorporated in 1742 and York being incorporated in 1787.)  If you take away the Amish factor, there are people who would be interested in touring another “period city” that nearby!

Thirdly, stop looking at each other as “foes” (White Rose vs. Red Rose) and look at each other as business partners.  Frankly, cooperation is a win-win for everybody.  That includes Harrisburg.  These three metropolitan areas are contiguous and should be marketed as a Triad like Winston-Salem, Greensboro & High Point, NC.  Between the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York metropolitan areas (latest population estimates) you have 536,919 HBG + 507,766 LANC + 424,583 YORK = 1,469,268 people!  This is a more accurate picture of what you really have to work with and market to. 

Leveraging all three areas as one tourist destination would totally make sense and everyone would benefit.  Combine resources folks!  Many hands make light work and all that.  From a financial prospective, during a recession, working together makes sense.  Combine budgets, cut costs and everyone benefits.

Fourth, I will disagree with Sonia Huntzinger on this point (no offense, Sonia).  She stated in the article that Central Pennsylvania can not support another arts district like Lancaster’s.  With a draw of 1,429,268 people you certainly can.  Furthermore, Harrisburg is going great guns in Midtown to set up a big arts community there as well (I guess they didn’t get the memo, haha).  Each city should have an individual, size appropriate, arts area.  The “arts” are a huge tool in the redevelopment process.

Fifth – “Eds and Meds” are vital to redevelopment.  I do not care if York Hospital and College are not downtown.  They are large employers and stakeholders whether they like it or not.  As downtown York prospers, so will they.  Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have made their colleges partners in their redevelopment.  A healthy York will help York College attract more students and help the hospital attract more young people as employees.  You want more young people downtown like Lancaster?  You must get the hospital and college onboard.

Sixth – the perceived safety issues in York need to be overcome.  Sorry but there are stabbings/shootings in Lancaster too.  Anybody who says not is delusional.  Lancaster has a lower crime rate than York because redevelopment does that.  In addition, Lancaster has a surveillance camera system in place and a noticeable police presence downtown.  Until York can get those numbers down, they need to beef up police foot patrols in the downtown to make people feel safer.  Those surveillance cameras only cost $9,000 a piece, installed.  They might be something for York to consider going forward.  Saying we have no money is not a solution.  Find money to pay for foot patrols and cameras.  There are grants out there.  You can not afford to not spend money on public safety if you want to be like Lancaster.  You must overcome the crime stigma yesterday!

Lastly, private sector funding is the wave of the future because of budget constraints with our state and federal governments.  There is still money available but finding ways to involve the private sector is becoming increasingly important.  Large employers in York County need to be made to understand the importance of “giving back” and that they will reap benefits by doing so.  Groups like YorIT will also play an increasing role in moving York forward (http://www.yorit.org/).

Here is a link to the article that spurred my post:

http://www.ydr.com/ci_17425140?source=rss_viewed

It is vital that Pennsylvania’s cities be robust and growing.

Community Health Systems Buys Up Three More Hospitals In Northeast Pennsylvania

Location of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropol...

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As residents of Pottstown and Phoenixville know first hand, things change when Community Health Systems (CHS) buys your local hospital.  CHS owns Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and Phoenixville Hospital.

CHS is continuing to expand their presence in Pennsylvania with the purchase of three hospitals in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Metropolitan Area.  CHS, who already owns Wyoming Valley Health Care System since 2009, has entered into an agreement with Mercy Health Partners to purchase Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock and Mercy Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke.  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is part of Wyoming Valley Health Care System and already owned by CHS.

The standard CHS rhetoric has followed: hire all employees in good standing at the time of the sale (same position, pay and seniority), CHS promised to invest $68 million in the first five years, set up a community foundation and donate $2 million, maintain the status quo for five years and treat employees with dignity and respect.

All I can say is, based on what happened in Pottstown, things will change.  We narrowly averted a strike because employees were disgruntled, claimed to be overworked and salary/benefits changes were proposed.  CHS does invest in hospital infrastructure, equipment and recruit physicians as promised.

Wyoming Valley Heath Care System in Luzerne County’s largest employer.   http://www.wvhcs.org/About/Pages/About%20Us.aspx

Wait Time Clocks In The ER? Does That Sound A Little Too Much Like Ordering A Pizza?

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

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Some local hospital Emergency Rooms already have them.  Some others are considering adding them like Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and Phoenixville Hospital.

I don’t know about you but is this making medical care too much like ordering a pizza or being on hold with your credit card company?  Will patients get discounts and prizes for prompt treatment?  Will employees be rewarded for providing prompt treatment?

Some things take as long as they take.  Do we want medical treatment on the same level as an express lunch guarantee at Bennigan’s?  I am somewhat skeptical of this concept.  Will we be installing deli ticket machines so patients can take a number as well?  Maybe we can put up a digital display like at Redner’s so everyone can see what patient we are on.

Triage takes care of making sure the neediest patients get care first.  Turning the ER into a deli atmosphere does not seem like a step forward IMHO.

Obama’s latest health care idea

So let’s fine people who can’t afford health insurance and can’t get it through their work $3800.00 a year. WTF is up with that stupid idea! Basically that amounts to $300+ dollars a month! If people can’t afford $300 a month for health insurance already, how could they afford the fine??

Maybe we can increase the homeless population with ideas like this!

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!