Ephrata Hospital already has plans to handle population growth

According to Ephrata Community Hospital (ECH) spokeswoman Joanne Eshelman, “We regularly evaluate our facility needs and have a plan in place to further develop our main hospital campus to meet the needs of this community.”

This fact may come as surprise to the public, considering Lancaster General Hospital’s intention to develop an inpatient hospital and medical center within three miles of ECH’s central facility.

A primary justification for LGH’s proposal is an anticipated five-year population increase of 10,000 in northeast Lancaster County. Yet Eshelman says that Ephrata’s strategic plan accounts for the needs that will come with anticipated population growth.

According to Eshelman, the hospital’s occupancy rate averages 64%, nearly 4% lower than the national average for non-profit hospitals as of 2003.

She said that on an infrequent basis, the Ephrata Community’s emergency department has to “divert” patients to a nearby hospital when no beds are available. Between September 2008 and August 2009 the emergency department averaged a monthly seven hours of “divert mode,” with some months requiring no such admittance.

ECH has already developed plans to expand their emergency department; however, the project was temporarily suspended during the last fiscal year because of the economic downtown, according to the spokesperson.

Eshelman declined to comment directly upon Lancaster General’s plans to expand into nearby West Earl Township.


1 Comment

  1. I thought market dominance led to price gouging? What a surprise that two corporations would each speak optimistically and innocently to the public about their prospects.

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