DuBOIS — Serving the Tri-County area for more than 100 years, Penn Highlands Healthcare Board of Directors Chairman Ron King said PHH is committed to caring for generations to come.
“What’s phenomenal is the growth that we have witnessed first hand,” King said at a Friday press conference announcing PHH’s $111 million master facilities plan which will create approximately 400 jobs across the region over the next three years.
“Our four community hospitals (DuBois, Brookville, Clearfield and St. Marys) have been serving the residents of this area for over 100 years,” King said. “Since we enacted an integrated health system here for the past several years. I think what is more exciting from our board’s standpoint is that we believe our future has endless possibilities.”
The board has a vision for what the future will look like, and the eight major expansion and renovation projects unveiled Friday are the way to make that vision a reality, King said.
The projects, designed to enhance access to critical services and advanced care for residents of the region, include:
“These eight projects will have a tremendous impact on our region, not only ensuring access, critical services and advanced care for the residents of our areas, but more importantly we are creating jobs,” said King. “Jobs for the future-to-be nurses, professional support services, jobs to help us recruit and retain expert physicians and advanced practice providers, as well. And these jobs, we feel are just so significant to the area. These jobs for individuals and families that live in these communities that we serve.”
“It is often said that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re probably falling behind, as is true for so many industries,” said King. “I don’t think I need to tell you, it’s certainly not news, that health care is constantly changing. That we have been conscious of these changes and we’ve been proactive in order to ensure our spot in the future health care market place in our area. Yes, there will continue to be changes, no doubt about that. But what won’t change is our commitment to the care in the communities that we care for.”
PHH System Fund Development Director Karin Pfingstler said she is “truly honored” to work with members of the community who are motivated to give back to the local health care system because they share in PHH’s dedications for ensuring that healthy future for generations to come.
“The strongest health systems are those that have engagement from their communities. Communities that take pride in the great services we offer and recognize that we are here for our residents in times of great need,” Pfingstler said. “When you think about it, all of us who call this region of Pennsylvania home, share a common desire. We all want to have the best possible healthcare services where we choose to live, work and raise our families. We have carved out our own little neck of the woods and we want our families to have healthy, prosperous lives. Although we choose to live in rural communities, we deserve access to advanced and critical care like the trauma center or comprehensive behavioral health services.”
Pfingstler said that Friday’s announcement represents a commitment to the communities.
“They say it takes a village and that statement applies now more than ever,” she said. “We have long valued the generosity of grateful patients, families and community partners. We will continue to work hand in hand with our neighbors to grow and strengthen a healthcare system that is there for all of us when we need it most. In 2018, your healthcare system is alive and well and it starts with you. We look forward to partnering with our communities where we will work toward an even brighter, healthier future.”
DuBois American Legion Riders Post 17 members gave their annual donation to the Children’s Miracle Network last weekend at Delgrosso’s Amusement Park.
President Jeff Sedor said there are 36 members of the local Legion Riders. The organization is dedicated to raising funds to help children and veterans in need, and bringing awareness to these causes.
Throughout the year, members raise money through efforts that include bingo events, a chicken BBQ fundraiser, a breakfast and Chinese auction. They also have a benefit motorcycle ride later in the year, in honor of fallen veterans.
Their spring fundraisers have benefited the Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger Hospital for nine years, Sedor said. For the last five, the amount steadily stayed at around $5,500, and increased this year to $6,000.
The donation is given during the “Children’s Miracle Network Celebration Weekend” Telethon at Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton during the first weekend in June.
Last year, the Legion Riders were the recipients of the “Dillman Award” — a prestigious honor given to organizations who consistently and generously donate.
All of the funds raised by the ALR go to children and to veterans, Sedor said.
In the fall, the group begins raising money for Operation Comfort Warriors and Housing Homeless Veterans, both through the American Legion, usually giving about $10,000 between the two organizations.
The CMN has always been an obviously deserving recipient of this donation, Sedor said, because it is an organization that helps sick children who need the financial and moral support.
“Everything we bring in as an organization, we don’t keep any of it,” he said. “We give it away. We are pretty proud of what we do.”
DuBOIS — Steven M. Fontaine, chief executive officer of Penn Highlands Healthcare, speaking at Friday’s press conference outlining a three-year $111-million master facilities plan, addressed the issue he said he is asked about most often: Parking.
“Construction is always critical, but what do we do about parking?” Fontaine said.
Fontaine said a portion of the monthly meetings PHH officials have had with several board members, as well as the management and architect teams, is how Penn Highlands is going to accommodate the growth with parking.
“In our plan, we have two or three phases for this on this campus (DuBois) because this is the biggest issue with parking today,” Fontaine said. “We’re planning to build up to approximately 550 new parking spaces on this campus alone to accommodate a growing need. That will be phased in. As we get a little bit further down that path, we’ll give you more details on that.”
Fontaine said there will be the typical construction disruption, some inconvenience, some parking issues, other minor issues, “but it’s all part of growth, unfortunately. But as far as disruption of services, no, we don’t anticipate any.”
By 2021, Penn Highlands Healthcare announced it is poised to create a Level III trauma center for the benefit of patients in the region.
For many years, Fontaine said, the trauma department of the Department of Health has asked Penn Highlands to explore the possibility of a trauma center.
“Because if you look at the trauma map in this state, there’s a gaping hole in the quarter in which we serve, the Interstate 80 corridor,” Fontaine said. “And so, by default, as I described earlier, a lot of folks with traumatic incidents have to go to Altoona because that’s a level two trauma center. Anything beyond that is in Conemaugh and then in Pittsburgh, I believe.”
“So it’s very inconvenient and is critical to taking care of these patients in a timely fashion that we have trauma here and not to inconvenience families or loved ones,” Fontaine said.
In approximately 2 1/2 years’ time, to coincide with the Emergency Room completion, Penn Highlands should be completing that trauma application. The state does require that Penn Highlands partners with a facility that is already a level one trauma center.
The plan, to be implemented over the next three years, will modernize, improve and expand upon the services Penn Highlands Healthcare offers patients at its four hospital campuses (DuBois, Brookville, Clearfield and St. Marys) and numerous outpatient facilities in the 12-county region it serves.
It is expected to create approximately 400 jobs across the region over the next three years.