Penn State Health plans hospital across interstate from UPMC Pinnacle West Shore hospital

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Penn State Health plans to build a 300,000 square foot hospital on this 44-acre plot of land in Hampden Township, Cumberland County. (Submitted)

Seven months since Penn State Health partnered with Highmark Health, the health system is moving forward with plans to expand its footprint in the region.Its new plan may also be a signal that Highmark and UPMC will continue heated competition for patients that the two health systems became known for in other regions.

Penn State Health plans to build a 108-bed acute care facility in Hampden Township, just west of Interstate 81. That puts it across the highway from rival UPMC Pinnacle’s West Shore Hospital.

A Penn State Health press release didn’t mention the proximity to the other hospital, but noted that Cumberland County — Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing county — will continue to have more patient demand in coming years.

Penn State Health CEO Craig Hillemeier said the planned facility will keep more people in Cumberland, Perry and Dauphin counties within 30 minutes of acute care.

“Cumberland County is booming with growth, and we want to ensure that the families in that area have easy access to high-quality and diverse health care services,” Hillemeier said in the news release.

The 300,000 square foot hospital will include an emergency department and other services including imaging and surgery.

Construction on the three-story building is set for early 2019.

As a note of disclosure, Transforming Health receives financial support from Penn State Health.