Micro-Hospitals: Transforming Healthcare in Southeastern Pennsylvania

ChristianaCare and Lehigh Valley Health Network. Sign staked in grass indicates the site of new ChristianaCare West Grove campus

The old saying that good things come in small packages isn’t usually associated with health care, but it’s true nonetheless for residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Two area health systems, ChristianaCare and Lehigh Valley Health Network, are launching a new era of health care with their opening of “micro-hospitals” that provide 24/7 emergency care with limited inpatient beds.

Micro-hospitals are also known as neighborhood hospitals, designed for patients who are not seriously ill while filling coverage gaps in areas that can't support full-scale hospitals.

ChristianaCare's West Grove campus is set to open a 20,000-square-foot, 24/7 micro-hospital by late 2024 or early 2025. It will feature 10 emergency department beds and 10 inpatient beds, providing low-level acute care services at a lower cost compared to full-scale hospitals.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LHVN) is not far behind. Its Lehigh Valley Hospital-Macungie is expected to open this spring, offering patients an inpatient medical unit, ambulatory diagnostic services, a full-service emergency room, lab, imaging, and a pharmacy. LHVN also plans to open a separate health center in the area offering many of the same services.

Hospital leaders say this shift in health care delivery is a big step towards a more sustainable and community-focused health care system, which will also strengthen the referral network and capture a greater percentage of the market in outer service areas.

Resources on the Role of Hospitals