Penn State Health Holds Celebratory Event

Penn State Health held an event to celebrate St. Joseph Regional Health Network?s recent transfer to Penn State Health. The event was held on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, beginning at 11 a.m. at Penn State Health St. Joseph, 2500 Bernville Road, in Reading . The celebration included remarks by key stakeholders and the unveiling of a Penn State Nittany Lion statue and new Penn State Health St. Joseph signage.

The program opened with welcoming remarks from John R. Morahan, President and CEO, Penn State Health St. Joseph, followed by Senator Judy Schwank who read a special proclamation.

?As history has dictated and the future portends, St. Joseph?s destiny is to be an integral part of a regional delivery system for the purpose of advancing medicine, improving health care for patients and ultimately improving the lives of people in this region as a means of advancing the common good,? stated Morahan. ?This is the shared purpose we have with Penn State Health. Our collective vision, culture and approach to patients, employees and the health needs of the community are aligned.?

He was followed by Peter Banko, Senior Vice President of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), who discussed why CHI selected Penn State based on the two organizations? shared values and commitment to the community.

Then Dr. Craig Hillemeier, CEO of Penn State Health, spoke about the vision of Penn State Health and enhancing access and quality of health care in Berks County. ?Today?s celebration is really the evolution of a partnership that began five years ago when the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the St. Joseph Medical Center first began collaborating to provide specialty care for the residents of Berks County. I believe our physicians, our staff, and especially our patients would say that worked out very well.?

Dr. Leif Christiansen, Medical Staff President, Penn State Health St. Joseph, spoke about the partnership between St. Joseph?s medical staff and Penn State Health.

He was followed by J. Andrew Weidman, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Penn State Health St. Joseph, who stated that Penn State Health will strengthen the ability of Penn State Health St. Joseph to deliver on its missions and support the community.

Dr. R. Keith Hillkirk, Chancellor of Penn State Berks, concluded ?We anticipate many promising opportunities for Penn State Health, Penn State Health St. Joseph and Penn State Berks to work together in complementing and supporting our respective missions, as well as creating synergies that can enable us to better serve the citizens of the Greater Reading and Berks communities. At Penn State Berks, each of our 20 baccalaureate programs emphasizes the importance of internships and faculty and undergraduate research. A few examples of where we believe there will be multiple avenues for internships, collaborative research and service include our degree programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kinesiology, Applied Psychology, Rehabilitation and Human Services, Mechanical Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology. And these are but examples.?

The grand finale to the event was the unveiling of the Penn State Nittany Lion statue, located directly in front of the hospital, and Penn State Health St. Joseph signage, while nearly 200 Penn State Health employees exited the hospital wearing ?We Are Penn State Health? t-shirts and carrying blue and white pompoms.

Penn State Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) recently completed the transfer of ownership of CHI?s affiliate, St. Joseph Regional Health Network, to Penn State Health. The official announcement was made on July 1, 2015.

Formal discussions among the organizations began in 2014. The decision to transfer ownership of St. Joseph is a recognition that the health care industry is rapidly changing and moving to a new model ? one in which organizations are expected to offer integrated systems of care for specific geographical populations. As a result, many smaller health systems are joining larger systems to expand their care within existing regions.

This acquisition builds on an existing five-year relationship and will enable Penn State Health and St. Joseph to more comprehensively coordinate the care of patients in the Berks region, enhance access to services, manage the cost of care and improve population health. It will provide increased and coordinated access to specialty care services and advanced therapies for patients, including clinical trials.