Penn Highlands Healthcare Announces $111 Million Master Facilities Plan

That will Create 400 Jobs across Northwestern/Central Pennsylvania

June 08, 2018


Penn Highlands Healthcare today unveiled a $111 million Master Facilities Plan that triggers eight major expansion and renovation projects designed to enhance access to critical services and advanced care for the residents of Northwestern/Central Pennsylvania and create an anticipated 400 jobs across the health system and region.

“The hospitals of Penn Highlands Healthcare have been serving our communities for more than 100 years. As we look toward the future and determine how we can best meet our region’s needs, we are thrilled to share our vision to grow our footprint and further build our system to provide patients with the care and services they deserve,” said Steven M. Fontaine, chief executive officer of Penn Highlands Healthcare. “The projects collectively focus on delivering the right care in the right setting as we continue to respond to the changing healthcare landscape.”

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 and numerous outpatient facilities in the 12-county region it serves. The projects include: expansion and renovation of the Penn Highlands DuBois East behavioral health facility; a new five-story annex at Penn Highlands DuBois West as well as a new Emergency Department that will serve as a Level III trauma center; a new three-story building housing Centers of Excellence in orthopedics, pediatrics and women’s health; Emergency Department renovations at Penn Highlands Clearfield; a new three-story Brookville Medical Office Building; renovations at Pinecrest Manor and a new two-story Clarion Outpatient Facility.   

In addition to providing its communities with access to high quality care and services, the continuing shift from traditional inpatient services to outpatient services, along with the system’s expansion into new markets, is a driving factor in the need for new infrastructure.

To support these building efforts, Penn Highlands Healthcare will recruit an approximately 100 additional physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 300 professional staff members in the nursing and support services fields.

The Master Facilities Plan represents a $111 million investment across the region. The projects are to be funded through a combination of operating revenues, bond financing and charitable donations.

“These projects are a true testament to our dedication to all those who make up our communities, from our patients to our medical staff and employees,” said Karin R. Pfingstler, Penn Highlands Healthcare’s system director of Fund Development. “We are a tightknit region and the generosity of grateful patients, families and community partners has undoubtedly been a significant part of our history. It’s this continued support that will shape our future and help us grow a robust health system that will serve generations to come.” 

Details of the Eight Projects

Penn Highlands DuBois East Campus Behavioral Health Hospital  

Patients with behavioral health needs are critically underserved in Northwestern/Central Pennsylvania and beyond. To address this need in the region, the expansion of the current facility at Penn Highlands DuBois East will create a 126-bed campus providing a comprehensive continuum of behavioral health services. The campus will feature a new walk-in urgent care center specific to behavioral health issues, outpatient behavioral health services, a Child/Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit, Adult Behavioral Health units and a new dual diagnosis unit for patients who need behavioral health services as well as drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation – a critically-needed service for our region.

Penn Highlands DuBois Emergency Department/Patient Tower

By 2021, Penn Highlands Healthcare is poised to create a Level III trauma center for the benefit of patients in the region. With a lack of trauma-accredited hospitals between Erie and Altoona, many patients must be transferred out of the system based on protocols and regulatory requirements. These transfers can create hardships and emotional strain on the family members. To be accredited as a Level III trauma center, Penn Highlands Healthcare must first grow its Emergency Department.

The new Emergency Department/Patient Tower will have five floors and a basement. The first floor will have 30 Emergency Department bays compared to the current 19. Additionally, a 12-bed Observation and Clinical Decision Unit will be dedicated for patients who do not meet admission criteria but who many not be ready to be sent home as well as for patients transported from other facilities and awaiting bed placement. There will be a four-bay “Vertical Care” area used for fast-tracking patients who have ailments that can be treated quickly and released, many within an hour.Two large trauma rooms will be created. The trauma rooms will be able to be divided in half to create more space and they will also be pediatric friendly.

The Patient Tower will house a combination of traditional medical/surgical patient rooms and acuity adaptable rooms. All of the rooms will be single occupant rooms with private bathrooms. In total, this will create 40 additional medical/surgical rooms.

Penn Highlands DuBois West Wing Annex

The creation of the West Wing Annex – five stories plus a basement – makes way for the new Emergency Department at Penn Highlands DuBois. The ground floor will house a new kitchen and the first floor will include a retail cafeteria. The second floor will house a new physicians’ lounge and administrative wing as well as conference rooms. The third floor will be earmarked for future expansion of the Maternal and Child Center Maternity Department. A new Ambulatory Surgery Center on the fourth floor will offer patients of all ages a safe, comfortable environment for outpatient surgical procedures. It will have its own recovery area, pre- and post-surgery area and operating rooms. The unit will stand alone from the current Short Stay Unit. The fifth floor will be earmarked for future expansion of The Heart Center and cardiology services. The current Cardiopulmonary Services – treatment, monitoring and post-procedure rehabilitation – will expand as well.

Penn Highlands Healthcare Center of Excellence  

A new three-story building will be built on the Penn Highlands DuBois West Campus along Hospital Avenue to create a hub for orthopedics, pediatrics and women’s health Centers of Excellence.

The building will include office suites for orthopedic surgeons and support staffs, a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation center providing physical, occupational and speech therapies, x-ray/imaging services and pain management services.

On another floor, services specific to women and children, such as obstetric/gynecological physician offices, maternal fetal medicine, mammography, bone/DEXA scanning and pediatric physician offices, will conveniently be located within close proximity. The Pediatric Center will complement the Women’s Center, centralizing Penn Highlands DuBois’ pediatricians and providing space for pediatric physical therapy. Obstetric/Gynecological and pediatric services will continue to be provided at Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield and Penn Highlands Elk.

Penn Highlands Clearfield Hospital Renovations

Penn Highlands Clearfield’s Emergency Department treats approximately 18,000 patients per year from a large radius around the greater Clearfield and Moshannon Valley region. The plan is to modernize and renovate the current Emergency Department to make it more welcoming and comfortable for patients. It will also have easier accessibility for patients and more room for staff to work. In addition, the renovations will improve ambulance access as well as enhance the outpatient registration and diagnostic areas. The main entrance of the hospital also is slated to be relocated.

Brookville Medical Office Building    

A new three-story Brookville Medical Office Building, modeled after the St. Marys Community Medical Building, will house primary and specialty care super clinics for multiple providers. It will be located on the Penn Highlands Brookville campus adjacent to the main hospital, allowing for convenient drop off and pick up of patients and plenty of accessible parking.

Pinecrest Manor

Built in 1971, Pinecrest Manor, a service of Penn Highlands Elk, is a 138-bed skilled nursing facility. Over the next three years, all of the resident rooms/bathrooms, bathing facilities, hallways, solariums, multipurpose rooms and the resident dining room will be updated. New furnishings, window treatments and accents also will be purchased. The goal is to modernize the facility with finishes and elements to make the residents feel at ease. It will have an aesthetic that one would see in a residential house and not in a hospital. Having their own space helps patients retain their autonomy, dignity and health longer.

Clarion Outpatient Facility   

A new two-story building will be constructed in Monroe Township, Clarion County, in the well-traveled Interstate-80 exchange near Clarion’s primary shopping plazas on Route 68. This building will house a QCare walk-in clinic with ancillary services, such as imaging and lab. Primary and specialty care super clinics will house multiple providers. This building also will be able to support virtual care to the extent that it could be called a virtual hospital. Using innovative technology, the virtual clinics will allow specialty providers to reach out and see patients and provide care any time from multiple locations. This will minimize the need for patients in the Clarion region to travel for specialty care.