Following national trends on outpatient services, Lehigh Valley Health Network plans a major expansion to its Health & Wellness Center at Hazleton, which could eventually become a medical mall offering multiple services.
LVHN also plans to renovate the 42-year-old Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton by adding more private patient rooms and expanding the emergency department.
“This plan would allow us to address future needs rather than devoting precious community resources to a new hospital and a care model that is changing dramatically,” Dr. Brian Nester, president and CEO of LVHN, said in a statement.
LVHN did not respond to a request for information on the cost of the renovation and expansion or when it is expected to begin.
Nester said the plan was developed after LVHN officials and industry experts conducted a two-year assessment of the Hazleton region’s needs and trends in health care.
The plans calls for an expansion to Hazleton’s cancer program and to develop a strategy to recruit and retain physicians in Hazleton.
The Health & Wellness Center at Airport Beltway in Hazle and Butler townships will require new construction in order to house new or expanded services that include women and children’s services, outpatient surgery, primary care and ExpressCARE, LVHN said.
Also, a center city location that offers ExpressCARE and Lehigh Valley Physician Group Pediatrics will be expanded to include obstetrics and gynecology services and primary care, LVHN said.
“This is the best direction to go for the future of health care in our region,” said John Fletcher, president of LVH-Hazleton. “It will provide better accessibility to quality health care for all people, patient convenience in terms of private inpatient rooms, state-of-the-art technology and will set the stage for the coming trend in health care from inpatient care to more ambulatory (inpatient) care and wellness programs.”
LVHN merged with the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance, which included the 150-bed Hazleton General Hospital, in 2014.