Hospitals Plan To Merge

HAZLETON — Employees and those in charge gathered at Hazleton General Hospital for an announcement. Plans are underway for the merger of the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance and the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Hazleton Health Alliance C.E.O.  Jim Edwards said the joining of forces will make for better health care.

“It means new technology obviously, it brings know how, physicians it brings time which we will have with this relationship.”

Dr. Ronald Swinfard heads the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

“It’s clear that our cultures are compatible and a common commitment to our communities and we will continue and make that commitment to the Hazleton community,” Dr. Swinfard explained.

Officials say the merger will allow each hospital, Lehigh Valley and Hazleton General, to learn from each other. Hazleton General will keep its name. The merger does not call for an exchange of money Dr. Swinfard said.

“There’s no need to do that other than bring to enhance the services, including increased number of facilities.”

Daniene Friendy lives in Hazleton. She hopes the merger will mean less time spent in the emergency room.

“There has been many times we’ve been here 12 hours, 9 hours just to be seen so hopefully it will be quicker just to be seen when you go in,” Friendy said.

Jasmine Zook just took her 1-year-old daughter to the hospital for an ear infection. Zook said she agrees with the merger.

“It will be the best thing for the Hazleton area as far as anybody needs care from a hospital.”

There’s no word on when the merger will become official however a spokesman for the hospitals says it’s before the state attorney general’s office. That agency has to approve the merger.

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