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History Made in Schuylkill County; First Hospital to be Built in 90 Years

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV)  Thursday was a historic day for one Schuylkill County community. Leaders are building a new hospital for the first time in more than 90 years. But that is not the only way this project is making history. Eyewitness News Reporter Crystal Cranmore has more.

  On a lot of what used to be a drive-in theater in West Brunswick Township near Orwigsburg, construction crews were hard at work on a new hospital.

   Leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a new era for healthcare in the region.

 Geisinger and St. Luke's are making history.

  "This is one of the few times in the history of healthcare where two organizations of this size, will join forces." said Gabe Kamarousky,  President Geisinger-St. Luke's.

Administrators say it’s the first time two health care systems have agreed to build and equally co-own a new hospital in Pennsylvania.

 Both entities will contribute physicians and support staff to the new "Geisinger St. Luke's Hospital" the partnership started two years ago.

When Geisinger was looking to offer their insurance plan in the region St. Luke's provides care.

  "We are really excited to do things in a new way by collaborating both networks processes," noted Kararousky.

The 80 bed hospital will have an emergency department and a full range of specialties and services. A new hospital hasn’t been built in Schuylkill County in almost 100 years, leaders say.

Geisinger has an outpatient facility nearby and St. Lukes has a small 44-bed facility in Coaldale. But borough officials say many patients are leaving Schuylkill County for hospital services  It's a groundbreaking partnership. And it’s a win to residents "  

 "Typically we drive an hour or so to get to the hospital so as far as healthcare goes. I think it’s great" Said Angie Solga,  of Orwigsburg.

 And the owner of 419 Market Café, Amanda Bowen, agrees.   " It’s a trek north or south to get to a hospital and it will boost business and up the moral.  The hospital is expected to open fall of next year.  

As of July first, Geisinger's life flight manages St. Lukes emergency medical air transportation.


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