SCRANTON -- Doctors in Lackawanna County broke ground Monday on a project that will be one of the largest expansions of health care in the Scranton's history.
The newly-named Geisinger-Community Medical Center will be under construction for the next few years.
Geisinger Health System bought Community Medical Center near Nay Aug Park in Scranton last year. Geisinger officials promised to spend $160 million on the hospital. Monday marked the first part of that investment. Doctors broke ground on an $80 million expansion for Geisinger-CMC.
Officials with Geisinger Health Systems promise better intensive care and an upgraded surgery center to start its part of a promise that Geisinger made when the health care giant bought Community Medical Center last year.
Doctors, politicians, and folks from Geisinger ceremonially broke ground on the $80 million project that will get started in the next few weeks. It's something the hospital wanted for years, but wasn't possible until Geisinger stepped in.
"I think the consolidation of the market is better for everyone. I think it's brought in huge resources that were much needed and will keep people from leaving the area for their health care needs," said Virginia McGregor, Geisinger-CMC board member.
Crews will build an all-new and bigger intensive care unit towards the back of the hospital, along with 14 new operating rooms, and a clinic right next to the front lobby.
The scenery hasn't changed much since the hospital was built in 1967. There isn't very much room to expand, so the new lobby will extend all the way to the edge of Mulberry Street and those new operating rooms will be built on top of the existing emergency room.
"This is a city hospital, make no doubt about it. We don't have room around it to build, so we're going to be building up," said Dr. Anthony Aquilina, Geisinger-CMC chief medical officer.
Geisinger officials acknowledge that their multimillion dollar investment is also to keep up with the competition since the other two city hospitals have also consolidated. But Geisinger thinks that will drive down the cost of health care for us.
"Because of the competition and because people will be making choices that are much more transparent choices than they have right now, they'll be able to choose based on outcome and cost. That'll be very different," said Geisinger President & CEO Dr. Glenn Steele.
Geisinger-CMC's expansion will stay on one side of Mulberry Street for now. The hospital bought the old Audubon School across the street and officials say eventually it will be torn down and the lot will be built on. For now, they are focusing on this expansion that's set to be done in about two years.