Construction of Lancaster County’s newest hospital – the first to be built since the closing of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster in February 2019 – is quickly nearing completion.
The five-story, 341,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center will feature 129 patient beds, 10 observation beds, a helipad, an emergency department, specialty medical and surgical services, an imaging lab, labor and delivery, and an attached medical office building for physician practices and outpatient services. It will employ 900 at full capacity.
The acute-care facility, at 2160 State Road in East Hempfield Township, is expected to be substantially finished by the end of June, Joe Frank, regional president of Penn State Health’s East Region, wrote in an email.
“Our team is working very hard to keep us on track for a mid-fall opening. Supply chain has been a concern for many other hospitals but our team planned early to ensure we could have all the items we need without delay.”
Barbara Zuppa, chief nursing officer at the medical center, said via email that the facility is on target with recruitment and developing innovative delivery and exceptional care for patients and caregivers “from day one.”
“The chief operating officer, Claire Mooney, and I created the COO-CNO Advisory Council and meet monthly with staff who have already been hired,” she added. “This council engages leaders and staff as partners in making decisions about the work environment and care delivery.”
Also on the executive team is Dr. Michael Reihart, director of emergency services, who will oversee the emergency department’s clinical operations.
Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center will be the fourth hospital in the county, joining Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, UPMC Lititz and WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital.
Features state-of-the-art technology
“Being able to design a hospital from scratch gives you many opportunities to incorporate design and technology into an exceptional patient experience,” Frank said. “We’ve planned so we are able to provide state-of-the-art technology … now and in the future as our community grows.”
In addition, floor layouts have been designed to take advantage of natural light, “which positively impacts patients, visitors and caregivers,” he said. And the efficiently designed
operating room suite “optimizes collaboration and quick access to supplies and equipment when minutes matter.”
Zuppa said the “most important feature of Lancaster Medical Center is our caregivers. We’ve built a strong team of highly experienced physicians, providers, nurses, therapists and technologists who are using their decades of knowledge to design exemplary care practices and an extraordinary care experience. Hospital leaders are clinicians who partner with frontline staff to assure a culture of excellence, safety and customized care.”
A healthy work environment is paramount, she said, and the emergency department layout, operating rooms, unit central cores and “team huddle space” support that.
Zuppa said a café with indoor and outdoor seating “provides healthy dining in a soothing atmosphere. Meditation areas, abundant windows with panoramic views, art and décor designs, and the walking trail further promote well-being for staff and visitors.”
This will be the network’s sixth hospital. The others are Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, also in Hershey; Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center and Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center, both in Cumberland County; and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Berks County.
The site for Lancaster Medical Center was chosen for several reasons, Frank said.
“We know that Lancaster County is growing, and along with population growth will come the need for more health care services.”
“The secret is out,” he said, about Lancaster being a great place to live and to retire. “Projections show that we can expect growth of about 40,000 people in 10 years, almost as many as live in Lancaster city today.”
The East Hempfield location provides comfortable, convenient access to the Penn State Health system, “especially for an aging population,” Frank said. “It allows us to anticipate the city’s outgrowth and plan for … 10 years from now. And not just in age, but in many other measures of diversity. Understanding the changing face of our community has been a key driver for our decisions from staffing to care design to locations.”
“Our partners in the Penn State Health Medical Group have been caring for Lancaster for generations,” he added. “And many families have benefitted from the Penn State Children’s Hospital and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.”
The new hospital will give residents of Lancaster and York counties proximity to Penn State Health’s expertise and specialty services without having to drive to Hershey.
Frank said Lancaster Medical Center “is another step toward delivering on our promise to ensure the communities we serve are within 10 minutes of our primary care providers, 20 minutes of our specialty care and 30 minutes of our acute care.”
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.