MAHONING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There's a debate among township officials in one part of Carbon County on the need for another hospital.
Lehigh Valley Health Network submitted an application to build a facility in Mahoning Township, but a few planning commission members are asking that township supervisors deny the hospital's application.
The proposed hospital location is off Route 443.
Some officials believe there are going to be too many hospitals in the area. St. Luke's Health Network already has two in the county and another on the way.
People Newswatch 16 spoke to have mixed opinions on the situation.
"I think that's a bummer," said Jim Thorpe resident Falona Walker. "I think it would be a great thing for the area as far as industry goes and people getting jobs. I think it would be great if we can have that here for us."
Members of the planning commission believe there are too many hospitals in Carbon County.
St. Luke's Health Network already runs two other facilities -- one in Lehighton and one in Palmerton. Another is planned for Franklin Township.
"I guess it gives people options. It's a different health care system. I mean you'll get a different level of care that you might not get somewhere else. I guess in that sense, it gives people choices, but it definitely seems excessive," Hayley Cseh said.
While most people would like to see the hospital built, there are some people who agree with planning commission members.
"They shouldn't have closed the ones that were doing good. Why build a new one when we had good ones? Palmerton was a good one," Dorothy Strohl said.
Lehigh Valley Health Network released the following statement:
"It is part of our DNA as an organization to go where the need is greatest, and Carbon County has shown that its residents need more access to care, particularly as the population ages. We always work closely with the communities we serve, and at present, thousands of Carbon County residents rely on Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) for convenient, high-quality care.
"Although we were disappointed with the recommendations of the planning commission, we remain committed to our plan and to answering the Supervisors’ questions about LVHN’s proposed new hospital in Mahoning Township. For more than 65 years, Carbon County was served by two hospitals: Palmerton Hospital and Gnaden Heutten. With the closure of the first and the impending changes at the second, the people of Carbon deserve a health partner who is ready to step in and bring them the care they need, close to home. We are that partner now and we hope to deepen that relationship with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Carbon."
Terry Purcell, future President of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Carbon
Mahoning Township supervisors are scheduled to meet on November 18 for a public hearing on the hospital.