From staff reports
DUBOIS – DuBois-based Penn Highlands Healthcare on Friday unveiled a $111 million master facilities plan that triggers eight major expansion and renovation projects, including one in Clarion.
The plan is designed to enhance access to critical services and advanced care for the residents of northwestern/central Pennsylvania and create an anticipated 400 jobs across the health system and region, according to a press release issued Friday by Penn Highlands.
Part of the project will include the construction of a two-story outpatient facility in Monroe Township in the well-traveled Interstate 80 exchange near Clarion’s primary shopping plazas on Route 68.
This building also will be able to support virtual care to the extent that it could be called a virtual hospital.
Using technology, the virtual clinics will allow specialty providers to reach out and see patients and provide care any time from multiple locations, according to the press release.
This will minimize the need for patients in the Clarion region to travel for specialty care, the press release said.
One of the other projects is in Brookville, where the Brookville Medical Office Building will be constructed like the St. Marys Community Medical Building.
Located on the Penn Highlands Brookville campus, the facility will be convenient for patient drop-off and pick-up, the press release said.
Currently, major Penn Highlands facilities exist in Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk counties, but Penn Highlands also largely serves patients in Clarion, Forest, Cameron and Centre counties.
“The hospitals of Penn Highlands Healthcare have been serving our communities for more than 100 years. As we look toward the future and determine how we can best meet our region’s needs, we are thrilled to share our vision to grow our footprint and further build our system to provide patients with the care and services they deserve,” said Steven M. Fontaine, chief executive officer of Penn Highlands.
In addition to providing its communities with access to care and services, the continuing shift from traditional inpatient services to outpatient services, along with the system’s expansion into new markets, is a driving factor in the need for new infrastructure, Fontaine said.
More information on the master facilities plan is available online at http://www.phhealthcare.org/about/master-facilities-plan.
Penn Highlands employs about 3,400 people, including 341 physicians and 93 advanced practice providers.
The health care company has an annual net revenue exceeding $450 million, according to its website.
(Clarion News writer Samantha Beal contributed to this report.)