Hampden Medical Center opens 


Penn State Hampden Medical Center opened in Cumberland County on October 1st. PHOTO PROVIDED

Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center opened Friday morning after breaking ground in early 2019. 

Penn State Health’s new 300,000-square-foot, three-story, acute-care hospital is located at 2200 Good Hope Road in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.  

The hospital opened this week with 300 employees, who were hired by the Hershey-based hospital system this year. Penn State Health said it plans to increase that to 950 employees in the next three years. 

Hampden Medical Center features 110 private inpatient beds, an emergency department, physician offices, various specialty inpatient services, image and lab services and complete medical and surgical capabilities. 

Hampden was initially estimated to cost the system $200 million upon completion. Penn State Health announced on Friday that the final bill topped out at $300 million. 

Penn State Health hired 300 employees for Hampden Medical Center’s opening. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The acute care facility opens nearly a year after Penn State Health acquired Holy Spirit Health System from Montour County-based Geisinger last October. Holy Spirit Medical Center and Hampden Medical Center are less than seven miles away from each other, which will allow the system to adopt what it calls its “two hospital strategy” and share services. 

An example of this strategy is the recent news that Penn State Health would be moving Holy Spirit’s labor and delivery services to Hampden Medical while Holy Spirit will continue to provide gynecologic and breast-care surgery as well as other women’s services. 

“Today marks an important step in implementing Penn State Health’s two-hospital strategy on the West Shore, to take advantage of each hospital’s strengths and best serve the health care needs of the surrounding communities,” said Don McKenna, regional president of Hampden Medical Center and Holy Spirit Medical Center. 

Penn State Health’s regional expansion does not stop in Cumberland County. The system is currently building a new Lancaster hospital in East Hempfield Township. 

The system’s growth into surrounding counties is part of its 0, 10, 20, 30 strategy. The system aims to have patients be zero minutes from telehealth services, 10 minutes from a primary care provider, 20 minutes from a specialty care provider and 30 minutes from a Penn State Health hospital. 

Susquehanna Valley Emergency Medical Services completes merger with Penn State Health

Susquehanna Valley Emergency Medical Services (SVEMS) merged with Penn State Health this week after signing a letter of intent to partner in April.

SVEMS, a prehospital emergency and non-emergency care provider, has operated in Lancaster County for over 50 years and in parts of York County since 2016.

The emergency medical service provider’s stations and its about 85 staff members joined under Hershey-based Penn State Health on Sunday. It will now operate under the health system’s own EMS company, Penn State Health Life Lion.

“Penn State Health and Susquehanna Valley EMS share a commitment to high-quality, compassionate care, which makes this partnership a natural fit,” said Scott Buchle, director of Penn State Health Life Lion. “This is a win for the community and Penn State Health.”

SVEMS was formed through the merging of Hempfield Community Ambulance and Columbia Community Ambulance in 2000. Since then, the company has merged with six other Lancaster County EMS organizations.

The merger will give Lancaster and York county residents enhanced access to Penn State Health’s primary and specialty care services, particularly when the system finishes construction of Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center, Penn State Health wrote in an accompanying press release.

“Penn State Health’s respect for our mission and reputation will make the transition easy for both patients and employees,” said Mike Fitzgibbons, president and CEO of SVEMS. “Joining the health system gives us access to resources that will give us the ability to enhance patient care.”


Penn State Health’s Hampden Medical Center begins to take shape

Hampden Medical Center is coming together at its site in Cumberland County ahead of a summer 2021 opening date. PHOTO/ IOANNIS PASHAKIS.

Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center is beginning to take shape in the Wentworth Corporate Center in Cumberland County.

Contractors working on the 300,000-square-foot, three-story, acute-care hospital overlooking Interstate 81 recently completed the facility’s walls and ceiling as the project gets closer to its summer 2021 completion date.

Work began on the medical center in March of last year with plans to have it finished in 26 months. So far, COVID-19 has only cost the contractors two day.

“We are feeling the heat from this schedule,” said Dan Myers, project manager at Barton Malow Alexander, the company managing the site. “Full collaboration has been a huge push to meet the demands of a schedule this aggressive.”

Myers said that the project has benefited from a high percentage of local companies pitching in on the project. Out of all of the subcontractors working on the site, 75% are located in a seven-county region around Cumberland County and 50% of the $200 million hospital’s materials come from local companies.

Currently, around 350 people are working at the site on any given day.

When completed, Hampden Medical Center will feature 108 private inpatient beds, an emergency department, physician offices, various specialty inpatient services, image and lab services and complete medical and surgical capabilities.

Don McKenna, president of the incoming medical center, said the site allows Penn State Health to further its strategic initiative for patients to be within 30 minutes of a hospital and allows the system to provide its care to West Shore patients, many of whom travel to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for care.

“There are thousands of people from the West Shore that go to Hershey and it delays their access to care,” he said. “We’ve been welcomed by the community and the medical community and it’s encouraging.”

Many pieces of the project, such as patient bathroom pods and the hospital’s central utility plant, were fabricated at other locations and placed into the facility.

McKenna highlighted the system’s partnership with Barton Malow Alexander, noting that the project’s ability to run in parallel paths has allowed for a better overall build.

“It’s a safer environment. You don’t have people working closely in the same place,” he said. “They’ve been an incredible partner, very safety focused and intentional about hiring folks in the community.”

When completed, Hampden Medical Center is planned to initially hire approximately 650 physicians and staff with that number growing to about 1,000 employees within three years.

See what the Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center will look like in virtual reality:

Geisinger and Penn State Health outline new date for Holy Spirit sale


Penn State Health and Geisinger’s Boards of Directors reached an agreement that will give Penn State ownership of Holy Spirit Health System pending regulatory approval.

In October, Penn State and Montour-County based Geisinger signed a letter of intent to give Penn State sole corporate ownership of the East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County-based Holy Spirit Health System. Both organizations now say they are finalizing the plans for the acquisition, which is planned to be completed this October.

The agreement is now under review by the Federal Trade Commission and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office if the agreement complies with antitrust laws. The acquisition was originally to be completed by June 30, but Geisinger announced earlier this month that the sale date would be extended after the two regulatory bodies asked to extend their investigations.

As part of the deal, Penn State Health will acquire Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, along with the system’s outpatient practices and urgent care centers in Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and York Counties. The acquisition also includes the Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit Hospital and Holy Spirit’s assets of West Shore EMS.

“The addition of Holy Spirit enhances Penn State Health’s ability to provide a robust network of clinical services in and around the greater Harrisburg region,” said Steve Massini, CEO of Penn State Health. “Holy Spirit’s hospital, employed medical group and strong community of independent practice physicians, working in collaboration with our Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, offers consumers a strong competitive alternative for healthcare services.”

Penn State Health is scheduled to finish its 108-bed Hampden Medical Center in the fall of 2021. The system said that when the Hampden Township, Cumberland County-based hospital is finished, it plans to deploy a dual hospital strategy between Hampden Medical and Holy Spirit.

Once completed, Penn State intends to change the hospital’s name to Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center.

Geisinger expects to continue to operate in the midstate through its health plan and current Geisinger Health Plan members will not lose coverage or benefits from the acquisition, according to the system.

Penn State Health approves plans for Lancaster County hospital

A rendering of Penn State Health’s new Lancaster Medical Center planned to be built in Lancaster County. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

Penn State Health expects to begin construction on its 129-bed, five-story acute care hospital in Lancaster County in the coming weeks.

The Hershey-based health system announced late last June that it would be building its fourth acute care hospital in East Hempfield Township.

The system said on Monday that its plans for the build were approved by its Board of Directors and the project is set to soon break ground.

Located on 30 acres near the intersection of State Road and Harrisburg Pike, the new hospital will feature all private inpatient beds, an emergency department, various specialty inpatient services, an imaging lab, complete medical and surgical capabilities and an attached building for outpatient services.

The 341,000-square-foot facility was designed by New York-based HKS Inc. and will be built through a joint venture by Southfield, Michigan-based Barton Malow Co. and Harrisburg-based Alexander Building Construction Co.

The project is planned to be finished by mid-2022.

UPMC Memorial sees first patients this week

UPMC Pinnacle began transferring patients to its new West Manchester Township hospital early Sunday morning. By 9 a.m., the new UPMC Memorial hospital was open.

The opening comes just over two years after the plans for the larger, more modern UPMC Memorial were approved by West Manchester Township officials in July of 2017.

In its first day, the 102-bed private-room hospital treated more than 100 patients and had no problems moving from its former Spring Garden Township location, according to Kelly McCall, UPMC Pinnacle’s public relations director.

“Effective planning and the dedication of our staff supported a smooth transition,” McCall said. “The physicians and the staff are excited to be caring for patients and their families in the new hospital.”

The new hospital is 36 percent larger than the Spring Garden Township facility and includes three heart catherization labs, six operating rooms, a 28 room emergency department and a 14 bed critical care unit.

In the past 20 years, York County’s population has grown by 16 percent with an increase of 60,000 people. That population growth had spilled over to UPMC Memorial, officials said, with emergency department visits going from 15,000 patients per year to 45,000 in the last two decades.

“UPMC Memorial has seen exponential growth in emergency department visits, surgeries and births in the last 20 years,” said Philip Guarneschelli, president and CEO of UPMC Pinnacle. “With this new hospital and future outpatient facility, UPMC Memorial is able to continue providing care that area residents need and want for generations to come.”

Adjacent to the new hospital building is the 120,000-square-foot, five-level UPMC Outpatient Center set to open on Sept. 9. The facility is expected to offer ambulatory surgery, outpatient imaging, a sleep lab, a cancer center and offices for specialty care providers.

The Spring Garden Township hospital ended direct admissions of patients from physicians on Aug. 11 and stopped receiving patients from local ambulance services on Aug. 15.

The former UPMC Memorial is currently for sale.

Correction: A photo labeled as the new UPMC Outpatient Center depicted a different facility from the outpatient center.

Penn State Health plans Lancaster-area hospital

Penn State Health will be proposing the location for its new East Hempfield Township hospital at the intersection of State Road and Harrisburg Pike. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

Penn State Health is planning to build a new acute care hospital in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County next year, adding new competition to the market.

The Hershey-based health system has announced it will be seeking approval from East Hempfield Township as it moves forward on a plan to build a new 30-acre hospital campus at the intersection of State Road and Harrisburg Pike.

The hospital would feature private inpatient beds, an emergency department, physician offices, various specialty inpatient services, an imaging lab and complete medical and surgical capabilities, the hospital system wrote in a press release on Monday.

It is the second new hospital for Penn State Health. It also is building a new hospital in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.

“We are committed to building a regional health network across Central Pennsylvania that gives our patients a full range of care right in their neighborhoods,” said Steve Massini, CEO of Penn State Health. “This new acute care facility 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.”

The system wrote in its release that the new hospital will provide care to residents of Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties at a location closer to them than the system’s anchor hospital, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Derry Township, Dauphin County.

The news comes a few months after UPMC Pinnacle closed its UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster hospital. The UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster campus is 5.5 miles away from the proposed site of the new Penn State Health facility.

In April, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health announced it was considering an expansion to its Duke Street hospital in order to keep up with the increase in patients stemming from the closure of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster.