New partnership to bolster St. Luke’s addiction, behavioral health services

Stacy Wescoe//November 19, 2020

New partnership to bolster St. Luke’s addiction, behavioral health services

Stacy Wescoe//November 19, 2020

St. Luke’s University Health Network of Bethlehem said Sellersville’s Penn Foundation has joined its network.

Penn Foundation is a nonprofit behavioral health provider with 27 behavioral health and substance abuse treatment programs serving more than 20,000 people annually.

Penn Foundation operates one of Pennsylvania’s first Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence.

Penn Foundation’s decision to join St. Luke’s comes at a time when the demand for behavioral health services is rising.

Rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide are expected to increase as a result of the immediate and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of increased alcohol consumption and the ongoing challenges connected to the opioid crisis, substance use disorder treatment is also expected to rise.

“St. Luke’s recognizes the significant role that behavioral health services play in the overall health and wellbeing of our community,” said Richard Anderson, president & CEO of St. Luke’s. “The synergies created by this agreement will benefit patients throughout areas our organizations serve for generations to come.”

Wayne A. Mugrauer, president & CEO of Penn Foundation, commented on the partnership.

“Penn Foundation is fortunate to be well positioned to make this strategic decision for the future health of our community. Joining St. Luke’s University Health Network assures continued regional access to high-quality behavioral healthcare that is fully integrated with general medicine,” he said.

The St. Luke’s / Penn Foundation partnership, approved by the Board of Directors of Penn Foundation and the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s, is subject to approval by various regulatory agencies.

When the agreement is approved by the regulatory agencies, which is expected to be in the first quarter of 2021, Penn Foundation and St. Luke’s will operate the largest nonprofit network of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services in eastern Pennsylvania, according to a press release.

The goals is that the combined services will establish a complete continuum of care to treat patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders.

Last month, St. Luke’s Sacred Heart in Allentown announced it would be opening the region’s first Level IV medical detoxification unit early next year.

It will provide 24-hour medical supervision to people withdrawing from alcohol or other drugs.