Allentown News

Published on June 3rd, 2020

St. Luke’s University Health Network to Acquire Easton Hospital

EASTON, Pa. – St. Luke’s University Health Network will acquire Easton Hospital on July 1, including affiliated physician practices and two physician residency programs with 36 physician residents. This acquisition will preserve the 125-year-old hospital for future generations, ensuring future jobs and bringing St. Luke’s world class health care to the citizens of the greater Easton-area community.

St. Luke’s and Steward Health Care of Dallas, the current owner of Easton Hospital since May 2017, recently signed an asset purchase agreement that will allow for the transfer of ownership to SLUHN effective on July 1.

“Integrating an existing hospital into a health network can be challenging, even during the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. However, St. Luke’s has always welcomed challenges,” said Richard A. Anderson, President & CEO of St. Luke’s, a regional health network and major medical academic center with 11 hospitals and more than 325 outpatient sites serving 11 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “We stepped away from discussions with Steward in early March to appropriately focus on the epidemic and the treatment of COVID-19 patients. After careful consideration, we again re-engaged in discussions with Steward in late April. After diligent evaluation and thoughtful discussion, our Board of Trustees felt that the acquisition of Easton Hospital was the right thing to do for the health and wellbeing of the Easton community in spite of recent media reports and predictions of Easton Hospital’s demise.

“Over the years, St. Luke’s management team has established a highly successful record of working collaboratively and forming successful partnerships with other hospitals that have joined our Network. We have extended our nationally recognized quality programs to all of our locations, providing patients with cost-effective care and superior quality second to none as measured regionally and nationally. St. Luke’s will replicate at Easton Hospital the success it has achieved at its other campuses, resulting in a ‘win-win-win’ for all. The community wins. Easton Hospital wins. Our Network wins.”

Today’s announcement comes nearly two decades after St. Luke’s and Easton Hospital first explored the possibility of merging. The two organizations engaged in extended discussions in 2001 before Easton Hospital’s Board of Trustees decided to sell the hospital to for-profit hospital company Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tennessee. Community Health Systems sold Easton Hospital to Steward in 2017.

Linda Grass, President of Easton Hospital, said: “Steward entered into this asset purchase agreement with the long-term interests of Easton Hospital, its patients and the community in mind. St. Luke’s long history of enriching the hospitals that join its network make it the ideal partner for Easton Hospital. This collaboration will ensure that Easton-area residents will continue to receive the quality, compassionate care that has been the mainstay of Easton Hospital for over 125 years.”

The acquisition, which was approved by the St. Luke’s Board of Trustees, is subject to certain conditions, including review and approval by various regulatory agencies.

“St. Luke’s is preserving the hospital and jobs for the community by right-sizing the hospital,” said St. Luke’s Board of Trustees President, Luanne B. Stauffer. “Easton Hospital is not at the end of the road. Quite the contrary: It is on the path to a bright future with St. Luke’s!”

Additional comments from prominent community members:

  • “I am thrilled, and our community is very fortunate, to have as fine a healthcare provider as St. Luke’s acquire Easton Hospital and expand its presence in our area.” – Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Jr.
  • “We are very grateful St. Luke’s is able to ensure our community hospital continues to serve our school community, which is important for our children’s health and wellbeing. We look forward to partnering with the network in the years ahead!” – Wilson Area School District Superintendent Doug Wagner.
  • “The Two Rivers Health & Wellness Foundation supports and appreciates St. Luke’s University Health Network’s efforts to preserve Easton Hospital during this very challenging time. This acquisition aligns well with the Two Rivers Health & Wellness Foundation’s 19-year-old mission of working to improve the health and wellness of the residents of Northampton County. We look forward to St Luke’s maintaining and ultimately expanding the provision of high-quality community and health services to the residents of the greater Easton community.” – Two Rivers Health & Wellness Foundation Chairman Paul E. Brunswick.
  • “Happy to see our St Luke’s working to save Easton Hospital and preserve a downtown health care presence for our City.” – Former heavy weight boxing champion Larry Holmes.

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