A St. Luke's representative met with the Palmerton Democratic Club to discuss future plans of healthcare in town.
No definitive decisions were announced, but some new information was shared
There's been a huge question mark over the St. Luke's Palmerton hospital as to what will become of it after the new campus is built, and last night we learned there is a chance healthcare services may not continue at this facility in the coming years.
"With the Palmerton hospital and the reuse, we want to pay homage to your community by adapting and reusing the hospital to the benefit of this borough." said Melissa shafer with St. Luke's Community Affairs
Shafer spoke to a group at the Palmerton Hotel and says other options outside of healthcare services have been explored once the new campus is finished on Harrity Road in Franklin Township.
"I've heard residential, I've heard older adult residential. I know John Nespoli is meeting with some developers he's worked with down in Allentown." Shafer said, "And so I know those conversations are ongoing."
When we contacted St. Luke's regarding those comments, they issued a statement saying:
"Melissa was engaging with the audience about the “possible future” options for the hospital facility. However, St. Luke’s has not made any decisions, and it would be inaccurate to state that St. Luke’s is considering closing the hospital at this time. St. Luke’s is considering a variety of ways to expand access to quality health care in the Palmerton area. As part of this effort, we are evaluating how to make best use of the hospital to serve the community’s needs. We will share our plans after final decisions have been made."
Kris Hoffner of Palmerton Borough Council was in attendance.
He said, "I'd say the meeting was somewhat informative, but there's stil a lot of unanswered questions."
Hoffner says the hospital is an old building, and he understands a high price tag on renovations holding St. Luke's from bringing back healthcare services.
"But the one thing that was definitive is that to bring the current Palmerton hospital up to code, with the HVAC system in particular, which is too cost prohibitive, and that's understandable."
Hoffner says he feels optimisitc that St. Luke's truly does have the borough's best interests in mind, but says rumors and uncertainty are flying around because there have been no guarantees made. He hopes St. Luke's can clear that up sooner rather than later.