Tower Health names executive VP and CEO 

Bernard Boulanger, MD 2022
Bernard Boulanger PHOTO/PROVIDED

 Tower Health and Tower Health Medical Group has named Dr. Bernard Boulanger executive vice president and CEO, Provider Enterprise for Tower Health, effective Oct. 31.  

Boulanger will provide executive leadership for Tower Health Medical Group, Tower Health Providers, Tower Health at Home, and undergraduate Academic Affairs, Tower Health said. 

 Boulanger joins Tower Health from MetroHealth in Ohio where he served in a wide range of leadership roles, most recently as executive vice president, Provider Enterprise & Academic Affairs. In this role, he led a network of more than 1,000 employed providers and 19 clinical department chairs. 

He also oversaw undergraduate medical education with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, as well as leading the MetroHealth Research Institute. Prior to this role, he was chief clinical officer for MetroHealth. 

 During his tenure at MetroHealth he oversaw advancing quality, access, and growth in adult and pediatric clinical service lines; improved financial performance of MetroHealth’s provider enterprise; and created a leadership culture that improved employee engagement, trust, and diversity and inclusion.  

Before joining MetroHealth, Boulanger was a trauma surgeon at University of Kentucky Healthcare and became the system’s chief medical officer. 

 He is a graduate of the University of Toronto College of Medicine, where he also completed his residency in general surgery. He completed a fellowship in Trauma Surgery/Critical Care at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. He holds an MBA from the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. 

OraSure to provide up to 1 million HIV tests for CDC program

OraSure in Bethlehem PHOTO/FILE –

Bethlehem-based OraSure Technologies Inc. a global developer, manufacturer and distributor of surgical and medical instruments, has been selected to provide its OraQuick In-Home HIV test to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Together Take Me Home” HIV self-test program.

Under the program, managed by Emory University, the CDC will provide $41.5 million over five years for community testing. Emory will collaborate with OraSure – which will provide up to 1 million OraQuick In-Home HIV tests – and other partner organizations to supply tests to U.S. communities not equitably reached by HIV testing services.

A free HIV self-test will be mailed in discreet packages to people who enroll through a website. The program will target populations disproportionately affected by HIV and less likely to have access to key prevention services.

Almost 1.2 million people aged 13 and older have HIV in the U.S., including an estimated 158,500 who are undiagnosed. “Identifying these individuals and linking them to care is a crucial element of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative and empowers these individuals and their communities to take control of their health care,” a release said.

The “Together Take Me Home” program follows a successful pilot program by the same name, for which OraSure also supplied tests.

“We are proud to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Emory to help support broader HIV testing and awareness in underserved communities across the United States,” said Lisa Nibauer, president of diagnostics for OraSure. Programs such as “Together Take Me Home” show that the government “can take an active role in making a difference against the major public health crises that we face as a country and to support marginalized populations.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Cannabis dispensary opens in Allentown

Curaleaf Holdings Inc., an international provider of consumer cannabis products, has opened a dispensary at 1801 Airport Road, Allentown.

The company’s sixth new location in Pennsylvania this year, Curaleaf Allentown expands Curaleaf’s retail presence to 18 dispensaries in Pennsylvania and 137 nationwide.

Curaleaf Allentown’s curated selection of products include Grassroots, Select and Curaleaf brands. Patients can choose from Select Elite, Select Elite Live, Grassroots full-spectrum and strain-specific RSO, Grassroots full-spectrum and strain specific RSO capsules, Grassroots pre-packaged flower, Curaleaf pre-packaged flower and Grassroots concentrates.

The new dispensary is scheduled for a Sept. 27 grand opening after celebrating a Sept. 15 soft opening Sept. 17. Curaleaf, based in Wakefield, Massachusetts, marked its latest retail opening by making a $5,000 donation to the Urban Affairs Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life and building wealth in marginalized communities.

“We are excited to deepen our roots in the Keystone State with the opening of Curaleaf Allentown, our first dispensary in Lehigh County,” Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf, said in a release. “… We remain committed to expanding access to high-quality medical marijuana products for the state’s growing body of medical patients.”

Within Pennsylvania, the company also operates in Altoona, Bradford, Brookville, City Avenue, DuBois, Erie, Gettysburg, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Horsham, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Morton, Philadelphia, State College and Wayne.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Senate approves cannabis banking bill 

State-legal cannabis businesses could have better access to banking and insurance services if a bill passed by the state Senate on Wednesday receives approval from the House. 

The Senate approved Senate Bill 1167, authorizing financial institutions and insurers to provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. 

The legislation was authored by Senators John DiSanto, R-Dauphin and Perry counties and Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, and would protect against state penalties for banks and insurers that service the medical cannabis industry. 

The approval by the Senate comes after the Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee bipartisan approved the legislation in late March. 

Financial institutions and insurers received guidance in 2014 from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network regarding how they could service cannabis-related businesses. However, federal law does not currently protect financial institutions for servicing cannabis-related businesses. 

The legislation would codify that existing climate of regulatory non-enforcement, according to a release from DiSanto.   

It would also allow the state-legal cannabis industry to operate on credit. Currently companies are forced to operate strictly with cash, making them a target for armed robberies and putting patients and employees in jeopardy, said the release. 

Medical building going up on Hanover Avenue

Workers welding the outer structure of the planned medical office building on Hanover Avenue in Allentown. –


Construction is underway on a planned medical office building on Hanover Avenue in Allentown across from the Allentown State Hospital.

The building is being constructed by Sage Design Build of Upper Macungie Township, for Pannenbier, a national developer of medical buildings that is based in Atlanta.

The 12,000-square-foot building is going up on a space that was formerly a used car lot and is in an area that hasn’t seen a great deal of development in recent years.

The shell of the building is expected to be complete by spring.

Other health care buildings developed by Pannenbier include Ohio General Hospital in Hillard, Ohio and UCHealth Broomfield Hospital in Broomfield, Colorado.

Details on the final tenant for the building have not yet been released.

LVHN moves closer to finalizing Coordinated Health acquisition

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s main campus in Salisbury Township. (Submitted) –

The Federal Trade Commission and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said they have completed their antitrust reviews of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s proposal to acquire the assets of Coordinated Health, allowing the transaction to move forward.

The two organizations issued a joint statement on Nov. 21.

Salisbury Township-based LVHN, the Lehigh Valley’s largest health network and its largest employer, has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire the assets of Coordinated Health.

Brian Downs, spokesperson for LVHN, said the network anticipates the organizations will complete the transaction documents in the coming weeks. The two organizations will continue to operate as separate entities at this time, he said.

“We are still working toward closing,” Downs said. “We are just focusing on getting the transaction documents completed.”

He said he could not comment further on any additional details.

It is unknown whether the acquisition will result in a name change for Coordinated Health or any layoffs for either organization.

Coordinated Health, the Lehigh Valley-based health network based in South Whitehall Township, has a focus on orthopedics. The planned acquisition includes all CH locations in the greater Lehigh Valley region, northeast Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.

Coordinated Health employs about 1,200 people across all its 21 locations, according to Ron Ticho, spokesperson for Coordinated Health.

LVHN has a little more than 18,000 employees across all its locations, Downs said.


Coordinated Health’s hospital at 1503 N. Cedar Crest Blvd. in South Whitehall Township. (Submitted) –

Construction begins on $68M health care campus for LVHN

With all township approvals in place, Lehigh Valley Health Network is starting construction on its new health care campus off Route 33 in Lower Nazareth Township.

Construction is underway on a new campus for Lehigh Valley Health Network that would include a new cancer institute, medical office building and hospital off Route 33 in Lower Nazareth Township. (Submitted) –

The site along Hecktown Road will include a hospital, cancer institute and medical office building.

The campus has three planned buildings, which are a two-story 106,000-square-foot-hospital with 18 beds; a two-story 35,000-square-foot- cancer institute; and a large, two-story medical office building at 61,000 square-feet, said Rachel Lefebvre, vice president of operations at LVHN.

The project’s estimated construction costs are $68 million.

Lefebvre, who will oversee the campus once it’s built, said the network is building all of the buildings and services with the capability for expansion.

Workers have already begun soil movement and preparing for ground improvements, with traditional foundation work to begin in mid-November, she said.

The whole campus, including all three buildings, should be open and operational in summer 2021, she said.

“The expansion of these health services is in response to growing patient demand for services in Northampton County,” Lefebvre said. “We have two large health centers that are very close to the campus.”

Over the last seven years, LVHN has seen a 91 percent increase in the number of visits to Lehigh Valley Physician Group providers, she said. In fiscal year 2018, LVPG had more than 430,000 visits from Northampton County residents.

Rather than having more patients travel across town for care to go to a different LVHN center, the network wanted to put a campus closer to their homes, she added.

“We are providing local, accessible care,” Lefebvre said. “We are really focusing on convenience and access.”

The network plans to reveal a name for the 80-acre campus at its groundbreaking ceremony, set for November, she added.
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Upper Macungie Township is the design-build firm working on the project, along with the architect, Erdman, based in Wisconsin.

James Pennington, chairman of the Lower Nazareth board of supervisors, said township officials are looking to collaborate with LVHN.

“I think from our perspective, it’s a welcome partner and use of the business in the township,” Pennington said. “We are looking forward to working with them over the years. This is a long, long term project for them.”

The township is installing a new community park off Newburg Road with about 90 acres of open space, walking trails and exercise stations, and potentially, the hospital network could partner with the township for this project, Pennington said.

Medical product supplier buys flex building for $1.2M

A medical product supplier bought a multi-tenant flex building in East Allen Township for $1.24 million.

The company, Delco Innovations, based in Schnecksville, plans to move in July to the building, which is at 6583 Ruch Road in East Allen Township.

Delco will renovate the interior of their new building and should move in July 1, said Brandon Boyer, co-owner and COO.

Delco’s 11 employees will occupy the entire first floor of the building, taking up about 8,304 square feet of its 12,678 square feet overall, said Kelly Berfield, senior vice president at Colliers International in Upper Macungie Township.

Berfield and Ryan Dietrick, senior vice president at Colliers, represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.

According to Northampton County property records, the seller is Ruch Road Properties LLC.

The building’s second floor has two tenants – Family Tree Karate, a martial arts school, and Trennic Data Services LLC.

Delco will lease space to those two tenants, Boyer said.

For Delco, the need for additional room prompted the move. In Schnecksville, the company occupies about 2,000-square feet of office space and 2,500 square feet of warehouse space, Boyer said.

“We have just been growing,” Boyer said. “We just need more room for employees and warehouse space.”

Founded in 2012, Delco Innovations distributes orthopedic and rehab equipment to medical supply companies and physicians nationwide, Blaise Derrico, a co-owner of the company, said in a statement.

It will be sharing the space with Trend Medical, a separate company but with the same owners, Boyer said.

Trend, a contract manufacturer, will use the space for its headquarters. It makes knee, wrist and hand braces, among other orthotic and therapy products.

Delco will use the new space for a headquarters as well, but also for distribution and shipping.