Thursday, November 20, 2003
Lebanon Daily News
With their ambitious $45 million expansion project a year away from completion, Good Samaritan Hospital officials say they are looking forward to a prosperous future, while dealing with a discrimination lawsuit at the present time.
At the annual open meeting of the hospital's board of trustees yesterday, Chief Executive Officer and President Robert J. Longo declined to comment specifically about a lawsuit filed in U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg. The lawsuit was filed by a nurse, accusing the hospital of discriminating against her because she has multiple sclerosis.
The nurse, Carol Kohr of Cornwall, said the hospital demoted her, withheld pay raises and made her working environment difficult because of a complaint she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Longo said the hospital maintains good relations between supervisors and workers and will continue to do so.
"We have a long track record of being fair to our employees," he said.
Meanwhile, the construction project at Third and Locust streets is on schedule, officials said yesterday. When completed, the new 116,000-square-foot wing will offer open-heart surgery and intervention cardiac care for the first time in the hospital's 114-year history, Longo said. The wing will also offer emergency and critical-care services and more surgical space.
Complementing the new wing will be renovations to the hospital's existing 134,000 square feet. When the new wing is completed in November 2004, officials said, the hospital will feature 20 critical-care beds, four catheterization laboratories and 11 operating rooms. Open-heart surgery will begin in March 2005.
One minor renovation scheduled for next year will be a makeover of the hospital's kitchen area. Laureen Lyter, Good Samaritan's general manager for food and nutrition, said for a few weeks starting in the spring, food will be prepared at the Hyman S. Caplan Pavilion at Fourth and Willow streets, then shipped to the GSH cafeteria.
Improvements in the dietary area will include more lighting and a new grill and fryer. A timetable for the project was not given.
"This is going to be a challenge," Lyter said. "But we'll be able to service our employees in that area like we always have, and we want to continue to offer a selective menu to our patients."
In addition, Lyter said, the hospital's dietary department is working to improve food service to patients through surveys and increasing direct contact between the dietary staff and the patients. Using color-coded cards, the hospital staff can better explain to patients what their dietary needs are in relation to their condition, Lyter said.
Patients with special dietary needs will now know why certain foods will be detrimental to their condition.
"Then you know what you need to do with your own diet when you go home,"
she said. "We thought we would explain diet to our patients so they know
what is going on."
Copyright © 2003, Lebanon Daily News