Performing more than 1,700 surgeries last year, the St. Luke's Hospital Miners Campus in Coaldale announced the award of a $750,000 matching grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), which will be used toward the construction of a new surgical suite at the hospital. Miners Campus President Bill Moyer stressed that the grant will help provide even more state-of-the-art services at the hospital.

According to Moyer, the grant will allow the hospital to completely renovate the fourth floor by relocating the existing operating rooms, recovery room, same-day surgery and other services to a new floor. Furthermore, the grant will allow for improved and expanded facilities including a third operating room and a dedicated endoscopy suite.

The RACP grant, which is matched with private donations, will help fund the second and third phases of construction of the hospital's new surgical suite. The new larger suite, to be located on the fourth floor, will replace the current suite, which encompasses only a portion of the third floor.

Traci Graver, RN, nurse manager, Surgical Services, at the Miners Campus said the new surgical suite will promote easy access for patients and visitors, incorporate larger waiting and recovery rooms, host three operating rooms and improve the flow of same-day surgeries.

"We expect the new surgical suite to attract highly qualified surgeons and compliment the highly skilled staff we already have," added Graver.

The wound care center, cardio rehab and physicians offices, located on the fourth floor of the hospital, will be relocated to other areas of the hospital or incorporated within the Tamaqua Medical Center currently under construction in Tamaqua.

On hand during the announcement were Sen. David G. Argall (R-29) and Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-122). Argall and Heffley added that the recent reduction in state grant money available has made the process of obtaining funds very competitive.

"This grant allows our hospital to offer more state-of-the-art services to local patients," Argall said. "I am pleased to see the constant upgrades this hospital makes to better serve the needs of the residents in this region."

"It's important that the state supports our health care providers, which are providing a much-needed service in our communities," Heffley said. "St. Luke's is committed to providing quality care to every single person that walks through the doors, so this additional state funding is good news for the hospital, its patients and the entire community."

Both Argall and Heffley stressed the importance of the grant award as a sign that St. Luke's continues to provide more services to local residents.

"I would like to thank Sen. Argall, Rep. Heffley and Gov. Corbett for their support," Moyer said during the announcement. "This investment will help retain those jobs right here and bring new doctors, nurses and health professionals to care for our people."

The Coaldale hospital, part of the St. Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN), employs over 330 local residents; making it one of the area's largest employers. Compared against the top 18 percent of Joint Commission accredited hospitals in Pennsylvania, the hospital was also recognized in 2011 by the Joint Commission as one of the Top Performers on Key Quality Measures for both pneumonia and surgical care.

SLUHN is a regional network of hospitals, physicians and other related organizations providing care primarily in Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey.

Moyer added that the project will not disrupt surgical services as the current operating room and surgical suite will stay in place on the third floor throughout construction.

Construction of the new surgical suite will start in September and is expected to be completed by May 2014.