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Lehigh Valley Health Network Announces Two Major Projects

By Colin McEvoy on October 2, 2015

The Lehigh Valley Health Network held a groundbreaking on the new four-story LVH-Muhlenberg Specialty Care Pavilion.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network held a groundbreaking on the new four-story LVH-Muhlenberg Specialty Care Pavilion.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) announced two major projects for the region this week: a new center for obstetrics and newborn services, and another for those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The network dedicated the Fleming Memory Center last month at its Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street site in Allentown, a 5,300 square-foot facility that will centralize clinical, educational and support services for those in the region affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

LVHN also held a groundbreaking on the new four-story Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg Specialty Care Pavilion, a $93.6 million project that will bring about 2,000 births to the Bethlehem hospital for the first time in its 54-year history.

“The number of births rises each year at LVH-Cedar Crest, and we now accommodate more than 4,000 births annually at that location,” said Brian Nester, LVHN president and CEO. “In the last five years, the number of deliveries involving Northampton County mothers has increased by almost 25 percent. Currently, 16 percent of all births at LVH-Cedar Crest involve Northampton County mothers.”

Scheduled for completion in July 2017, the new 161,000 square-foot facility will create 185 new patient care jobs and 225 new construction jobs.

Its obstetrics and newborn services facilities will include a mother-baby unit with 20 private patient rooms, a level II NICU with 10 private rooms, eight labor delivery and recovery rooms, an admitting-holding nursery, two operating rooms, and more.

A rendering of the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg Specialty Care Pavilion.

A rendering of the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg Specialty Care Pavilion.

The Specialty Care Pavilion will also include a center for inpatient rehabilitation on the first floor, and will offer people in Northampton County tight connections to additional services available throughout LVHN.

“Moms at LVH–Muhlenberg will have access to maternal fetal medicine for high risk pregnancy, assistive reproductive technology, and to all the services available through our Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital,” said Mary Bianchi, LVHN vice president of the women and children’s service line.

The Fleming Memory Center — the first of its kind in the Lehigh Valley — will serve as a hub for a coordinated community network that will meet the unique and often changing needs of people with dementia, their families and principal caregivers, according to LVHN.

“We’re here tonight because of the scant, incomplete and unconnected treatment and resources for these people in our community,” Nester said. “I’m sure many or all of you know someone affected by this illness, and some who have died of it or are living with it. We need to act on this growing problem, and we will.”

New patients will be seen in the Fleming Memory Center starting in November. It will feature six exam rooms, geriatric and dementia experts, and space for consults, meetings, education, and caregivers

The center will also include targeted education for clinicians and the community, larger clinical evaluation and care space, more hospital-based services to quickly identify people with dementia and initiate their care, a memory support team, family and caregiver education programs, research to enhance dementia diagnosis and treatment, and innovative services including computerized “brain fitness” training for retaining memory and language skills.

“The Fleming Memory Center will serve our community and be a model for other communities,” said Debbie Salas-Lopez, LVHN’s associate chief medical doctor.

The center’s construction was funded by Richard “Dick” Fleming, a long-time LVHN trustee and former executive at Air Products, whose wife Peggy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002 and died in 2008.

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