St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, has unveiled its new, $1.9 million Intensive Critical Care Unit (ICCU).

On Monday morning, the hospital held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ICCU, which is now located on the second floor after being previously housed on the third floor.

William Moyer, president of St. Luke's Miners, welcomed those in attendance at the gathering, which include members of the hospital's board of directors, administrators, staff and area legislators.

The new unit expands the space available for critical care from 1,613 square feet to 4,165 square feet and includes state of the art technology for treating the hospital's sickest patients. The presence and availability of the equipment allows the hospital to treat patients on its grounds that might have had to be transferred to Allentown or Bethlehem.

The updated ICCU took four months to complete and was officially opened on Sept. 1. The rooms on the unit are more spacious and can accommodate six patients.

The new ICCU was financed as part of the hospital's $3 million Committed to Caring Capital Campaign.

Joseph Hnat, a Coaldale councilman and a member of the capital campaign committee, spoke on behalf of the over 300 donors who have contributed to the campaign.

"St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit hospital," said Hnat. "Our donations, like those of our forefathers, the miners of the Panther Valley area, help to provide the Panther Valley-Tamaqua area with a much needed service.

"I, along with members of my family, have personally visited the hospital on many occasions over the years, sometimes as patients and other times as visitors. I have had loved ones who were patients in the ICU and they always received excellent care, but now they will be cared for in a state of the art intensive care unit."

Hnat urged the community to continue to donate to the hospital, even if it is in small amounts.

"The ICU cost millions of dollars," he said. "My family was a part of the many people who donated to the new ICU. Remember that 100 $10 donations equal $1,000 and 100 $50 donations equal $5,000. Your donation, no matter what the amount, can keep St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital here in the Panther Valley-Tamaqua area, giving excellent service to our communities for the next 100 years."

Moyer noted that grant funding also played a role in the new ICCU.

Christine Verdier, chief of staff for state Sen. David Argall (R-29), said the completion of the unit is "a sigh of relief to the community."

U.S Congressman Timothy Holden (D-17) of St. Clair also noted he was proud to see the new ICCU completed. He noted his family has long had a connection with the hospital, as his father was on the board of directors when the Coaldale Hospital was operated by the state.

"It's a credit to the staff here at St. Luke's Miners that you are able to have this expansion," said Holden.

Margie Sheeto and Anastasia Gibas, both registered nurses, have worked at Miners for 36 and 42 years, respectively. They welcomed the changes from the old unit.

"We have nurses here who are trained in critical care, and our patients are our priority," said Sheeto.