Penn State Health gives exclusive tour of new Lancaster Medical Center [photos, video] | Health

Zero, 10, 20, 30.

The numbers refer to the number of minutes Penn State Health has set as a goal for patients to access telemedicine, primary and specialty care and an acute-care hospital.

With an outpatient center presence already in Lancaster County, the construction of the $375 million Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center is an effort to ensure that goal is met here.

“It’s really staying true to the mission and vision of Penn State Health, which is 0, 10, 20, 30,” said Claire Mooney, who, in her role as senior vice president and chief operating officer will be the hospital’s top executive.

The 129-bed, 341,000-square-foot hospital in East Hempfield Township remains set to open in mid-fall, after being pushed back from the summer because of COVID-19-related delays.

“I know many systems who have been building have been plagued with supply chain issues,” Mooney said. “We did a lot of planning early on in the process and we are on track to open.”

When the Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center opens its doors this fall, the hospital will be the fourth in Lancaster County.

Structure up, interior underway

Mooney recently donned a pink hard hat and gave LNP | LancasterOnline an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the medical center.

Construction is roughly 75% complete, said Barbara Schindo, a Penn State Health spokeswoman, and the hospital is still an active construction site.

The roughly 40-minute tour encompassed what will be the Emergency Department, cafeteria and, on the rooftop, the hospital’s helipad. The tour also included a glimpse of the inpatient unit and nurses stations, which are designed to foster better communication.

The bones of the building are upright.

The building has lights and flooring, and many, but not all, indoor walls are erected. Equipment, technology and furniture have yet to be added.

The new facility sports, in many areas, ceiling to floor windows to create a more meditative environment for patients that helps promotes well-being, shortens hospital stays and supports an accelerated recovery.

Once at full capacity, the hospital will employee 900, mostly patient facing staff. The health system began its recruiting effort roughly 18 months, given the health worker crisis.

Mooney declined to say how many staff have already been hired.

But the strategy appears to be to fill positions with staff from other facilities. Being a health system, Mooney explained, allows them to hire and train staff now, in advance of opening.

‘It was sort of meant to be’

Mooney started her career as an ICU nurse and worked her way up to manger, director and chief nursing officer. She’s also no stranger to running an entire hospital.

Before moving to Penn State Health in August, Mooney was president and chief executive officer of two Tower Health hospitals in Chester County — Brandywine Hospital in Caln Township and Jennersville Hospital in London Grove Township — a position she held since April 1, 2019.

When assuming the helm at Tower Health, she was hailed for her work reducing emergency room length of stay by 60 minutes at Chestnut Hill Hospital, where she was director of critical care and emergency services.

Mooney holds a doctorate degree in nursing practice from Loyola University in New Orleans.

For her, serving in health care is something of a family tradition.

Mooney said she followed in the footsteps of her two favorite aunts — both nurses — one of whom she is named after.

“It was sort of meant to be,” Mooney said.

Christin Hakim

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