WellSpan Health plans micro-hospitals to serve rural communities

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

WellSpan Health is planning to expand access to care in its rural communities.

Three neighborhood hospitals are planned in Cumberland and York counties, the health care network announced Tuesday.

Similar to their larger, traditional counterparts, these new facilities will operate 24/7 and include an emergency department. Each of the neighborhood hospitals, however, will be much smaller and include only up to 10 inpatient beds, according to WellSpan.

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The WellSpan news comes after its recent partnership with Emerus, a leading developer of micro-hospitals in the United States.

Emerus currently operates 39 facilities nationwide, according to its website.

Roxanna Gapstur, president and CEO of WellSpan Health, said the key to accessible health care is meeting residents where they are.

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While each micro-hospital will be fully licensed and WellSpan branded, the new facilities will be operated and staffed by Emerus. Each facility will be fully integrated with WellSpan systems, including the MyWellSpan patient portal, an online website where patients can make appointments, order prescriptions and chat with their doctors.

A groundbreaking for the first of the three neighborhood hospitals is scheduled for the end of 2023, with a potential grand opening by the end of 2024.

Specific location details are still being finalized, according to the health system.