Local hospital acquisition a major milestone

UPMC Susquehanna’s acquisition of Lock Haven Hospital brings the local institution back into the nonprofit realm, where we believe it should have stayed all along.

How heartening to report that UPMC Susquehanna’s first task upon its acquisition is to retool resources and equipment available to physicians, nurses and all staff, and then to bolster manpower.

It’s been a virtual revolving door there the last decade or so under the previous ownership, which bought the hospital for a low, low price.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been good leadership at LHH under the former regime.

And to its credit, the former owner invested a lot of money over the years in improvements to the hospital — both to the bricks-and-mortar and in services.

UPMC Susquehanna’s ownership comes almost 120 years to the date that Lock Haven Hospital was founded.

Some more history is in order, and it comes from the University of Pennsylvania:

“The Lock Haven Hospital first opened in a farm house on Sept. 7, 1897, with Dr. Rita B. Church as first superintendent. A training school for nurses was established that same year when one pupil matriculated for a two-year course of study. The struggle to create a reputable institution was eventually recognized by the community. Mr. Wilson Kistler gave a piece of land for a new building and on May 30, 1903, the hospital in full-fledged form was ready for patients. Cornelia Happersett, superintendent from 1905 to 1908, saw to it that the patients’ physical requirements were skillfully met.

“On July 28, 1908, the hospital burned to the ground. The determination of the nurses to save the patients from the fire at all costs resulted in the complete loss of their wardrobes and possessions. The hospital was rebuilt and, in 1924, was totally remodeled with significant additions of modern equipment such as an x-ray and a heliotherapy department. The nursing school closed in 1936 and was reopened in 1943.

“The Lock Haven Hospital records begin just before the hospital was formally opened and extend to its closing in 1938 due to financial difficulties. The collection includes the minutes of the board meetings from 1896 to 1938, as well as a series of annual reports spanning select years from 1898 to 1913. There are two pamphlets published after the reopening of the hospital, including one brochure about the Lock Haven Hospital School of Nursing.”

Among our points are that this latest development is yet another milestone … a big milestone in the local hospital’s history.

It is significant … very significant in that now the hospital is part of a local, yet regional, yet national … yet global network.

And we remind you, dear readers, the local hospital is now part of a Christian faith-based health care provider.

Further, its “parent” is working on becoming a regional trauma center just 25 minutes away.

We’re sorry to see Haven Medical Center physicians group move out of downtown Lock Haven. We don’t like it, but we understand the economics and benefits of moving the practice of physicians and outpatient services to renovated space some 10 minutes down the road to McElhattan. We’re happy to hear that UPMC Susquehanna will maintain its family practice physicians offices along High Street at the Lock Haven-Flemington line.

It’s no secret that some local people go elsewhere for their medical care based on the local institution’s past history.

We emphasize past history.

That’s their choice, of course, but we know UPMC Susquehanna is working to change that.

Americans demand a lot from their doctors and their hospitals.

Sometimes too much.

The result is a very high cost for health care … and health-care insurance.

With Geisinger’s recent acquisition of Jersey Shore Hospital to continue its legacy of care, and now UPMC Susquehanna’s ownership of Lock Haven Hospital, the quality of health-care services in our region has never been better.