Penn State Health soon could acquire St. Joseph Regional Health Network in Reading, thanks to a vote by Penn State trustees’ finance committee.
For the past nearly five years, Penn State Hershey Medical Center has had an existing relationship with St. Joseph, and on Friday Penn State’s board of trustees committee on finance, business and capital planning approved a proposal to acquire the Berks County-based health network.
It is anticipated that Penn State’s board of trustees will consider a motion to approve the acquisition of St. Joseph at its Jan. 16 meeting.
“Our partnership with Penn State Hershey has been the right fit for us,” said John Morahan, St. Joseph president and CEO. “We share common missions and values along with a special focus on providing care and advancing clinical services for the benefit of the residents of our communities.”
The relationship between Penn State and St. Joseph has been in areas related to oncology, neurosciences and pediatric services, thus improving access to care for cancer, stroke, high-risk pregnancy and neurological disorders as well as offering a range of pediatric sub-specialists.
Founded in 1873, St. Joseph Regional Health Network is the eighth largest employer in Berks County with 1,566 employees. The network’s St. Joseph Medical Center in Bern Township is approximately two miles from the Penn State Berks campus, providing outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical and surgical services to Berks County’s population of 410,000.
The partnership with Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System allows St. Joseph to provide its patients increased access to pediatric specialty care and enhanced cancer services.
In July, Penn State Hershey Medical Center opened the Penn State Hershey Medical Group at St. Joseph Medical Center, with about two dozen Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital physicians in 15 pediatric specialties already projected to see patients at the St. Joseph site, on a rotating basis. In addition, a full-time radiation oncologist from Penn State Hershey is seeing adult patients at St. Joseph Cancer Center.
Penn State Hershey and St. Joseph are collaborating on care of stroke patients through real-time consultation.
“Penn State Hershey and St. Joseph Regional Health Network already enjoy a successful relationship, which has increased access to high-quality specialty care for patients and families in the Berks County region … ,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System and Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs. “Joining forces with St. Joseph would result in the expansion and enhancement of additional services to patients with a focus on making health care better, more accessible and more affordable.”
St. Joseph, affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives in Englewood, Colo., has a two-campus system that provides a range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical and surgical services. A full-service teaching hospital is near the intersection of Route 222 and Route 183 in Bern Township, and the health network’s downtown Reading campus is the largest facility for ambulatory care in the city.
Also, 15 outpatient facilities offer a variety of services that include urgent care, imaging studies, lab work and other ambulatory services and procedures in Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties.