LVHN to build hospital on 35 acres near Walmart in Mahoning
An artist’s rendering of the 89,000-square-foot hospital to be built in Mahoning Township. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
An aerial view from Walmart overlooking the land where the new LVHN hospital is proposed. See a video of the proposed site at tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Map provided by Lehigh Valley Health Network shows the central location of the proposed hospital. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Lehigh Valley Health Network announced plans Thursday to build a new, $65 million hospital along Route 443 in Mahoning Township.
The 89,000-square-foot facility, to be called Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)−Carbon, will be constructed on 35 acres of open farmland on the north side of Blakeslee Boulevard, catty-corner to the Walmart Superstore. Initial plans call for a hospital that includes all private rooms for inpatient care, and a medical office building.
“We’ve been taking really great care of patients in that area for decades,” Brian Nester, LVHN’s president and chief executive officer, said.
“In the past, we did that through a very strong relationship with Blue Mountain Health System. They chose to go in another direction and we were very disappointed about that, but it’s long been our philosophy to keep people in their community and not have them have to travel for health care. This is a new and exciting project that we feel helps cement the relationships we have forged in the Carbon County area over the years.”
The health network expects to break ground on the project next spring, and opening is anticipated in the fall of 2021. The hospital is expected to create about 150 new jobs in the network.
Surveyors have been working this week at the property, which is owned by Oscar Beck.
“It is centrally located to so many population centers here in the area,” said Terry Purcell, LVHN’s vice president for market development, who will serve as president of the new hospital. “We met with the Mahoning Township supervisor chairman, and they seem very excited about and supportive of this project.”
LVHN employees have also been notified by email.
At the outset, the hospital will have 18 beds with the opportunity to expand as the need arises. In addition to Carbon County, Purcell said he envisions the hospital drawing patients from the Coaldale and Tamaqua areas as well.
Nestor said the hospital is expected to provide a multitude of services including radiology and advanced imaging, including MRI; inpatient and outpatient surgical services; a full-service emergency department including a helipad; cardiology (Lehigh Valley Heart Institute); breast health services; rehab services; expanded cancer services (Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute) as the only health system in Carbon County affiliated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center giving patients access to the latest treatments and clinical trials; and complete telemedicine services allowing for consults among clinicians across LVHN.
“There is a lot of competition in health care in the area, but Carbon County residents always had a strong interest in the Lehigh Valley Health Network,” Purcell said.
“We had 30 percent of the market share, and that was without a hospital in the community. Now we can bring that care closer to home for those patients. When you’re having a heart attack, they say time is muscle. When you’re having a stroke, they say time is brain. You want to get to the closest facility as fast as you can, and now our patients here will have a much shorter trip.”
Purcell joined LVHN in September 2018 after previously serving as president with St. Luke’s University Health Network and at the former Blue Mountain Health System for 12 years where his last role was senior vice president of operations. LVHN officials said Thursday he’s the “right guy” to lead the new hospital.
“He’s caring, patient friendly and well-known in the community,” Nester said. “He’s someone you can trust and pleased to have him be a key representative.”
Nester said LVHN plans to continue to foster relationships with health care providers who are not employed by LVHN but practice independently.
“By having a modern health care facility in Carbon County, we will strengthen partnerships with those independent providers and other community-minded organizations that are aligned with our mission to heal, comfort and care.”
The new hospital is the latest of several new facilities and services LVHN has recently announced in Carbon County.
An ExpressCARE location in Lehighton at 363 N. First St. is scheduled to open Sept. 3, while a location in Palmerton in the Pencor Services Inc. building at 528 Delaware Ave. will open Oct. 28.
According to Nester, these will be LVHN’s 20th and 21st ExpressCARE facilities providing residents with access to treatment for common illnesses and minor injuries without an appointment including sprains and strains, cuts and lacerations, poison ivy, rashes, seasonal allergies, flu symptoms, bronchitis, ear infections, sore throat and fever. ExpressCARE will be open 365 days a year. Hours of operation will be announced closer to the openings.
The local hospital will join eight others currently in LVHN’s network including three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville.
It also plans to open a 156,000-square-foot hospital and medical office building just off Route 33 on Hecktown Road in Lower Nazareth in the fall of 2020.