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Easton Hospital Enters ‘Era of Rebuilding’ After One Year with St. Luke’s

By Colin McEvoy on July 7, 2021

St. Luke’s Easton Campus President Linda Glass speaking at the one-year anniversary of the health network acquiring the Easton campus. (photo courtesy St. Luke’s University Health Network)

This month marks one year since the St. Luke’s University Health Network acquired what was then called the Easton Hospital, which had been losing money for years. Since that time, finances there have stabilized, and St. Luke’s is now focused on adding new services at the hospital.

“St. Luke’s laid the groundwork for a great turnaround,” said Linda Grass, President of what is today called the St. Luke’s Easton Campus. “… We are about to begin an era of rebuilding, and there is so much in store for the St. Luke’s Easton Campus. The future is just beginning.”

The exterior of the St. Luke’s Easton Campus. (photo courtesy St. Luke’s University Health Network)

The health network acquired the Easton hospital on July 1, 2020, and in February the campus posted its first positive operating margin in years. Admissions are up by 23% since the acquisition, and emergency room visits were 30% higher than planned in the first year.

Looking ahead, St. Luke’s plans to open a 16-bed in-patient adolescent behavior health unit at the campus this fall. The network also plans to establish an orthopedic center with four orthopedic surgeons, and a cardiovascular center with noninvasive cardiovascular testing

“We’ve had a lot of opportunities and we have a lot of access to care, but the patients in the Easton community have needed to travel either to our Anderson or to our Warren campuses,” said Devang Dave, Easton Campus Medical Director, Cardiology. “Hopefully by expanding services here, it will bring the same level of high-quality care closer to home.”

Patient waiting areas and other public spaces will be given facelifts, and additional growth at the emergency department is planned for between now and the end of 2022, Grass said.

Joseph Faccio, Easton’s medical staff president and director of emergency medicine, said it is exciting to be part of developing programs that are so essential and aligned with the needs of both the community and St. Luke’s University Health Network.

“Easton is rapidly overcoming the challenges it had faced for many years and, since the acquisition, patients, physicians and staff express optimism about the future direction of the Easton Campus,” Faccio said.

Grass said doctors, nurses, and other employees are more enthusiastic about the state of the Easton campus than they have been in years.

“They are thrilled to be part of the early success of the hospital, and they want to be here to help lead the hospital into a bright new future,” she said.

Since January, several operating rooms and gastrointestinal procedural rooms were modernized and reopened, while vascular surgery, interventional radiology and pulmonary testing programs were returned. Diagnostic services were also reopened at the hospital.

Additionally, a physician group that specializes in gastrointestinal medicine joined St. Luke’s and now is performing colonoscopies and other interventions in the new procedure rooms, Grass said.

“As soon as the community saw the St. Luke’s star on the hospital, they started to return for their care,” she said. “They have confidence in St. Luke’s to provide high-quality care and are excited at the prospects of St. Luke’s investing in the future of the hospital.”

In response to critical needs in the community during the pandemic, St. Luke’s launched a monoclonal antibody clinic at the Easton hospital to treat COVID-10 patients, providing this solution for more than 1,500 patients.

A new molecular laboratory that provides rapid COVID-19 test results in as little as 24 hours was also opened this year, Grass said.

“The purchase of Easton Hospital by St. Luke’s University Health Network has proven to be a real positive for our community,” Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said. “St. Luke’s has a real vision for this facility and the entire community will benefit from the healthcare services they provide.”

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