Background: About Easton Hospital - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Background: About Easton Hospital

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Easton Hospital, in Easton, Pennsylvania, was purchased by CHS in 2001 for $36.8 million.  Prior to its purchase, Easton was near bankruptcy with annual deficits of approximately $1.7 million.  CHS agreed to pay off more than $39 million in debts and committed to spending $42 million in capital improvements for the facility and $2 million to recruit physicians to the hospital.

CHS committed to retaining the hospital for at least ten years and immediately implemented a new billing system and installed new computers and information technology.  The transaction created the Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation, which received over $15 million in net profits from the sale.  The foundation will control the charitable trusts and funds owned by the hospital and will work to develop a community healthcare prevention and education plan. 

Easton Hospital received a great deal of AP and local press attention in 2003, during a nurses' union strike.  The nurses' strike dealt with contract negotiations over pay, vacation time, length of contract, and whether the hospital can send the nurses home mid-shift during slow periods.  Easton also received press during the purchase and the Allentown Morning Call ran an editorial supporting the purchase of Easton by CHS, citing its record of charitable care and its commitment to return the hospital to profitability. 

Most recently, Easton has received press on a number of renovations, upgrades and other improvements to the facility.  In May 2005, Easton unveiled a $30 million, 30,000 foot expansion that included a new lobby, parking deck, outpatient registration center, outpatient lab, enlarged surgery center, widened operation rooms, upgraded pharmacy, and a new gift shop and coffee stand.  CHS spent an additional $6 million on renovations in Easton's maternity and cardiovascular units.  CHS and Eason also had plans to build an additional outpatient clinic and office building in Lower Nazareth, PA to compete with another local hospital.

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