Hempfield micro-hospital slated to open next month | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Hempfield micro-hospital slated to open next month

Megan Tomasic
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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Construction continues at the new AHN Hempfield facility in Hempfield Township, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.

Almost two years and $30 million since breaking ground, a new Allegheny Health Network hospital is set to open its doors in Hempfield.

Known as a micro-hospital, AHN Hempfield Neighborhood Hospital will start admitting patients in November, said Dan Laurent, vice president of internal and external communications at Allegheny Health Network.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Nov. 9, featuring food trucks, family activities, live music and hospital tours. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hospital will begin admitting patients around that week, subject to the Department of Health licensing process, Laurent said.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Laurent said. “There’s a lot of excitement across the organization … to introduce our new model of care to the region. The neighborhood hospital concept is an award-winning concept that has been lauded for its exceptional patient care and overall care the model provides.”

Located at the intersection of Route 30 and Agnew Road, the 120,000-square-foot hospital will feature an emergency department, a 10-bed inpatient unit, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory, cancer unit and other complementary medical services. It will not have operating rooms nor a helicopter pad.

The 55,000-square-foot cancer unit will not open until early December.

The hospital is for-profit, meaning the county and township will receive tax dollars. On Wednesday, county officials did not have estimates on how much the facility would generate in taxes.

For Excela Health, which has a facility about three miles away from the new hospital, the news is “disappointing,” according to John Sphon, acting CEO.

“While calling the facility a hospital, the fact is that it provides very limited capabilities beyond basic urgent care and emergency medicine,” Sphon said. “Should a patient present with a condition that requires an advanced level of care such as cardiac catheterization, intensive care, surgery or stroke intervention, they will undoubtedly be sent to an AHN facility in Pittsburgh or Monroeville.”

The township, Excela Health and Allegheny Health Network were in a legal battle last July after Excela contended AHN is “trying to put a size 12 (foot) into a size 9 boot” by proposing the facility on a property without enough parking or stormwater mitigation, and without studying the impact it would have on traffic.

At the time, township Solicitor Scott Avolio said Hempfield had gone through the usual process for approving major projects, including traffic and stormwater considerations.

Excela’s appeal was denied by a county judge months later.

Sphon contends that AHN Hempfield Neighborhood Hospital will not necessarily increase available care in the county, but push patients into other AHN hospitals closer to Pittsburgh.

“What it does provide, however, is inconvenience and added stress for patients and their loved ones in Westmoreland and surrounding counties when further care is required and the treatment plan includes trips through a tunnel (on a highway),” he said.

Micro-hospitals

The Hempfield location is the first micro-hospital to open in the region after Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network announced in 2017 a massive $700 million expansion plan that includes construction of four neighborhood hospitals, a 160-bed state-of-the-art hospital in Pine and renovation of its existing facilities throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Locations in McCandless, which is slated for a ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 12; Brentwood, which will open by the end of the year; and Harmar, which will open next year, are under construction, Laurent said.

Cancer units also are being built in Monroeville, Erie, Butler and Beaver County. In all, the new locations will bring between 250 and 300 jobs, AHN officials said in February.

AHN is partnering with Emerus Holdings Inc., a Houston-based health care business, which will manage the Hempfield facility. Emerus operates 24 facilities nationwide, according to its website.

Laurent said workers are putting the finishing touches on the Hempfield hospital ahead of the November ribbon cutting.

“The community has been behind this project since day one,” Laurent said. “We’ve had the support of community leaders … It’s been very positive.”

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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