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Morahan: Performance in July through December among the best in years

John Morahan, president of Penn State Health St. Joseph, sent the following email to St. Joseph employees, including a reminder about two town hall meetings on Wednesday, Feb. 12:

As we enter the second half of our fiscal year, I’m pleased to inform you that Penn State Health St. Joseph’s performance from hospital operations and patient experience, to the clinical quality and financial operations perspectives from July through December has been among the best we have recorded over the past few years.

I know in a complex, fast-moving, rapidly changing organization, where hundreds of people are doing so many different jobs — in many different locations — it can be difficult to appreciate how the Penn State Health system works together and, more specifically, how what you do affects the larger picture. So it gives me great delight to report this good news because teamwork at all levels and YOUR individual contributions add up to our success as a whole.

This growth in admissions and surgery, in births and ER visits and in outpatient services sets our sails for the future and also achieves one of my guiding beacons for a purposeful life: Any time you become part of something, your goal should be to leave things better than you found them. I believe that together we have done that, and I’m excited for St. Joseph’s future and your future.

First, some specifics around patient volumes through December:

  • Admissions were 3% higher when compared to the same time period in 2018.
  • Surgery volume was 10% higher than budget and 14% higher than last year.
  • The Emergency Department remained steady compared to last year.  We see non-emergencies moving to more appropriate care settings, like medical group practices and urgent care sites. This shift enables the Emergency Department to be more focused on diagnosing and treating true emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes.
  • We experienced a 28% increase in outpatient visits compared to budget.
  • And, the Breidegam Family Birthing Center continues its push, running 8% ahead of budgeted births.

When volume grows like this, it means many things, not the least of which is that our community sees St. Joseph as a place to access cost-effective, quality care. Also, volumes at this level translate into positive financial performance that contributes to Penn State Health’s success, as well as to our sustainability here in Berks County. As a tax-exempt, charitable purpose hospital, we reinvest excess revenue into our staff, clinical services, technical capabilities and our network of locations, which ensures St. Joseph’s services remain accessible to where people live and work.

We are an organization of diverse people, working together in an industry that is in a perpetual state of transformation, yet we remain true to our mission—healing in body, mind and spirit, while providing quality care to everyone in our community. I know the community recognizes this because I get letters that serve as testament to how each of you, in your own way, delivers on our core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence to the people who turn to us for help.

Here are just a few examples of what patients are saying:

Pam from Sinking Spring honored birthing center staff “who touched my heart and supported me through the challenges of the first few days of motherhood. I was surrounded by genuine kindness and compassion.”

Tammy from Exeter, a cancer survivor, said, “I feel fortunate to have a doctor with such compassion and true selflessness in helping others…it’s why I chose St. Joseph.”

Lola from Pottsville said, “From cleaning staff to kitchen workers, to nurses and doctors, everyone was considerate, kind and encouraging. The prayer that started each day and ended each day, brought peace and comfort during a difficult time. Our dear Lord is He which gives life and uses the lives of people to touch others.”

Judith from North Carolina, who suffered an emergency that required surgery, gave “kudos to each and every nurse. Their caring ministration contributed mightily to my recovery. I could not have had better care anywhere.”

Alfred from Leesport wrote to report his wife was “now free of cancer.” His family was grateful for the “extremely skilled care from the doctors, infusion nurses, the radiologists and even the staff of treatment schedulers.”

James from Fleetwood, writing on behalf of his three brothers, thanked Emergency Department staff and the many departments who cared for his mother. “I cannot tell you how amazing all of the evident coordination and communication throughout all hospital disciplines was to treat Mom so quickly, humanely and compassionately…They are all HEROES!!!”

What James wrote, I think, is the best way to end—THANK YOU for all you do and for being the “hero” to so many in their time of need.


John Morahan



To learn more about our successes and what lies ahead for St. Joseph, join me and Alan Brechbill, executive vice president, hospital operations, Penn State Health, at one of the town halls this Wednesday, Feb. 12:

  • From Noon–1 p.m. on the Downtown Campus – WMP Conference Room (lunch will be available)
  • From 2–3 p.m. on the Bern Campus – Franciscan Room

All are invited to attend in person or via ZOOM:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 897 463 8678

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