Enola-based PAM Health announced plans Thursday to build a freestanding 42-bed physical medicine and rehabilitation hospital in Mechanicsburg, its first inpatient rehabilitation hospital in the state.
Overall, the Mechanicsburg facility will be the fourth PAM Health hospital in Pennsylvania, including long-term acute care specialty hospitals in the Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh and Beaver areas.
Construction of the hospital is expected to begin in early 2023, with opening projected for 2024.
“Central Pennsylvania is an ideal location for a PAM Health hospital,” Anthony Misitano, chairman, founder and CEO of PAM Health, said in a release. “We look forward to adding a hospital where our employees and their families live and work so we can provide high-quality inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation option to our friends and neighbors in the region.”
The new hospital will assist patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, strokes and other neurological disorders, amputations, and other orthopedic and post-surgical conditions.
Misitano said the location, near other hospitals and “in the heart of the growing health care center of the Capitol region,” will enable PAM Health to work seamlessly with those hospitals in transitioning patients who require inpatient rehabilitation.
PAM Health provides specialty health care services through more than 70 long-term acute care hospitals and physical medicine and rehabilitation hospitals, as well as wound clinics and outpatient physical therapy locations, in 17 states.
WellSpan’s incoming addition to WellSpan York Hospital, an eight-story tower created to expand the hospital’s inpatient services, is not the only major project the system is working on. In fact, the midstate is currently brimming with new projects in the works from all of the area’s major players.
Below is a list of those projects and when they are expected to be finished:
UPMC Outpatient Center, Hanover: UPMC plans to consolidate its outpatient services with a new outpatient center in West Manheim Township, York County. Projected opening date: spring.
WellSpan York Cancer Center: Construction began in August on an expansion to WellSpan’s Cancer Center at the system’s Apple Hill Health Campus in York Township. The 67,000-square-foot addition to the center will consolidate the system’s oncology services and is expected to open in spring, 2021.
WellSpan Heart & Vascular Center: WellSpan broke ground on a new heart and vascular center adjacent to its Apple Hill Health Campus in June of last year. The new building is expected to bring the system’s cardiovascular services under one roof. Opening is planned for winter, 2021.
Lancaster General Hospital Emergency Department: Prepared to face an increase of emergency department visits with the closure of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster in early 2019, LG Health completed a $3 million temporary expansion to its emergency department last summer. The system also announced in April that it was looking at three possible expansions to the hospital. They hope to begin construction this winter.
Penn State Children’s Hospital: A three-floor addition to Penn State Health’s children’s hospital in Derry Township, Dauphin County, that began in 2018 is set to be completed this fall. The 126,000-square-foot expansion will provide space for a new labor and delivery unit, post-partum patient rooms and a new neonatal intensive care unit.
East Hempfield Township hospital: Penn State Health plans to break ground on a new acute care hospital in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, this year. The new facility is proposed for 30 acres near the intersection of State Road and Harrisburg Pike.
CocoaPlex outpatient care: In November the system announced it will expand its medical services in Hershey’s CocoaPlex Center in the former theater. The additional outpatient services will open later this year.
WellSpan currently employs some 10,000 people in York County, with more than half working at WellSpan York Hospital alone. The new tower is expected to take five years to complete and would increase the hospital’s number of nurses, nursing aids, physicians and respiratory, physical and occupational therapists by more than 500.
WellSpan’s project is part of a wave of health care expansions in the midstate that include additions to existing hospitals and new facilities. UPMC Pinnacle West Shore in Hampden Township, Cumberland County; and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and its children’s hospital in Derry Township, Dauphin County, are also growing. Penn State Health’s plans include two new hospitals in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, and Hampden Township, Cumberland County.
WellSpan’s new tower will be built on the south end of the campus by 2025 and will be joined to the hospital’s Century Tower. As part of the project, WellSpan will demolish the Marie Ketterman Building and South Hall, two facilities standing at the space.
The current buildings are home to a number of specialty and outpatient services as well as a family practice residency training center and dental clinic. The hospital’s specialty services will be relocated to different sites on and off campus.
On the outpatient end, John Porter, executive vice president and COO of WellSpan, said that the system will be moving procedures to multiple sites in the community, such as WellSpan’s Apple Hill Surgical Center. Moving some of these services out of the hospital will allow the system to grow its inpatient services within the additional space of the 248,000-square-foot expansion, Porter said.
When the tower is complete, the system plans to move its critical care services out of the Century Tower and into the new building along with added intensive care unit beds, larger surgical suites and new anesthesia and pre-post-operative care areas.
In recent years, WellSpan York Hospital has consistently operated near capacity, something that Porter said would be alleviated by an expansion to the ICU and the movement of outpatient services out of the hospital.
“We thought (operating near capacity) was temporary and we’ve done things to try to alleviate it, but it has not been effective,” he said. “We’ve continued to face the situation where we are pretty much at capacity most of the time and so we recognize that we will need an expansion.”
The expansion will increase the hospital’s ICU bed count from 60 to 96, bringing its overall beds to more than 600. The tower will also have spaces for family wishing to stay with the patient during their stay in critical care.
The tower’s new surgical suites will be large enough to make room for robotic surgical and advanced medical technology already used in some of the hospital’s operating rooms.
WellSpan York Hospital currently makes up more than half of the county’s hospital visits, and contributed $2 billion to York County’s local economy in 2019, said Dr. Roxanna Gapstur, president and CEO of WellSpan Health, adding that the system plans to continue to invest in the county with the new expansion.
“As a board and leadership team we understand the impact that WellSpan has on the York community and the significance of this investment,” Gapstur said. “We are grateful for the trust our community has placed in WellSpan York Hospital.”
WellSpan has yet to seek approval for the zoning of the expansion, which the system will need to request from both York city as well as Spring Garden Township.
While the tower is planned to be eight-stories tall, WellSpan said it does not expect to need additional zoning approval on its height because the building will be at a lower elevation than Century Tower.
The system has yet to announce who will be working on either the design or the construction of the expansion.
Ephrata-based Retreat Behavioral Health will open a mental health and substance abuse treatment center in Connecticut next week.
The Lancaster County health care system operates inpatient treatment centers in Lancaster County and Palm Springs, Florida. The new center, opening Jan. 9, in New Haven, Connecticut, will be its third.
The new facility is approximately 53,000 square feet, has 80 beds and is Retreat’s first inpatient facility built with mental health services in mind.
Connecticut was chosen for its newest facility because of the state’s high death rates from opioids, which were at a rate of 27.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, twice the national average.
“We are prepared to hit the ground running in Connecticut to provide some relief to those who are suffering,” said Peter Schorr, Retreat Behavioral Health President and CEO. “With high-quality, affordable care, we aim to address the opioid epidemic, as well as all other growing substance abuse and mental health issues. By providing individualized care, a peaceful environment, and affordable treatment offerings, we aim to become the leading resource for this region.”
The new center will offer services such as rehabilitation, detox, intensive outpatient care and holistic therapy. Retreat’s new mental health services branch, Synergy Health Programs, will also offer services for mental health disorders like PTSD, depression and bipolar disorder from the center.
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