Penn State Health is hoping to build a 108-bed acute care hospital in Hampden Township, heightening health care competition in one of Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing counties.
The hospital is slated for a 44-acre tract in the Wentworth Corporate Center, near Interstate 81 in Cumberland County. Penn State Health expects to begin construction on the three-story, 300,000 square-foot hospital in early 2019, pending necessary approvals. Costs were not disclosed.
The Derry Township-based health system said its next step is to submit a land development plan to Hampden Township for approval.
In a statement, the head of Penn State Health described the new hospital as an extension of the system’s seven-month-old partnership with Pittsburgh-based insurer Highmark Health.
“When we announced our partnership with Highmark Health in December, we said we are focused on building a regional health network that offers comprehensive care closer to where our patients live,” said Dr. Craig Hillemeier, CEO of Penn State Health, dean of Penn State College of Medicine and senior vice president for health affairs at Penn State.
The new hospital would put patients in Cumberland and Perry counties closer to a Penn State Health acute care facility. The system’s flagship hospital, the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, is across the Susquehanna River in Derry Township, Dauphin County.
If it is built, the Penn State Health facility would be the fourth hospital in Cumberland County, joining two UPMC Pinnacle facilities – UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle and UPMC Pinnacle West Shore – and Geisinger Holy Spirit.
In addition to 108 private inpatient beds, the new hospital would feature an emergency department, physician offices, various specialty inpatient services, imaging and lab services, and complete medical and surgical capabilities. It is expected to employ about 1,000 people, according to a Penn State Health spokesperson.
Penn State Health also said it plans to develop collaborative programs between its faculty physicians and independent community providers.
“Cumberland County is booming with growth, and we want to ensure that the families in that area have easy access to high-quality and diverse health care services,” Hillemeier said in his statement. “This new facility is one way we can deliver on our commitment to ensure patients across the region are within 10 minutes of our Penn State Health primary care providers, 20 minutes of our specialty care providers and 30 minutes of a Penn State Health acute care facility.”
Other steps taken toward that goal include the purchase of Physicians’ Alliance Ltd., a primary care provider with 12 practices in Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties, and the recent addition of two specialty practices: Berks Cardiologists in Reading and AndrewsPatel Hematology/Oncology, which has offices in Lower Paxton and Hampden townships.