Geisinger Comprehensive Stroke Centers Recertified

Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre recently received recertification from The Joint Commission as Comprehensive Stroke Centers, the highest level of stroke center certification.

The designation recognizes the high level of care that both hospitals provide 24/7 to patients with the severest and most complicated types of strokes. The hospitals have specialized cerebrovascular neurosurgeons, neuroscience intensive care units and the latest advanced imaging capabilities. Patients also have access to extensive rehabilitation programs and support during recovery.

“The recertification of our hospitals is a testament to the ongoing work by our physicians and staff,” said Clemens Schirmer, M.D., director of the comprehensive stroke center. “Strokes require urgent care to restore blood flow to the brain and begin the recovery process. Being recertified as Comprehensive Stroke Centers means we’re being recognized for our continued commitment to providing high-quality, lifesaving care for patients experiencing all types of strokes, giving them the best shot at a full recovery.”

The Comprehensive Stroke Center is supported Geisinger’s systemwide stroke program, led by Anthony Noto, M.D., vice chair of acute care neurology; David Ermak, D.O., system director of acute stroke; Clemens Schirmer, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center; and Lisa Wasko, manager of clinical quality.

For more information on the full spectrum of stroke care at Geisinger, visit

Geisinger’s Northeast Hospitals Certified as Comprehensive Heart Attack Centers

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (GWV) and Geisinger Community Medical Center (GCMC) recently became the second and third hospitals in the country to earn The Joint Commission/American Heart Association (AHA) Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification, joining Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) in Danville in establishing a national precedent for coordination among care teams who treat patients on the heart attack spectrum.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, depriving the heart of oxygen. Much of the damage to heart muscle takes place in a short period of time after a heart attack, so timely care is critical for preserving heart function.

“No one expects to have a heart attack, but when it happens, we offer extraordinary care close to home for our patients and members,” said Yassir Nawaz, M.D., director of interventional cardiology and co-medical director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program for Geisinger’s northeast region. “With three certified medical centers, we’re taking a full-team approach to diagnosing and treating chest pain patients in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.”

At GWV, GCMC and GMC, chest pain patients can expect the highest level of care delivered as quickly as possible.

Already recognized as Joint Commission/AHA Mission Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Centers for their ability to treat the most severe type of heart attack by restoring blood flow to the heart, GWV and GCMC have shown their commitment to making better health easier for patients and members in northeastern Pennsylvania through achieving certification. They stand ready to care for all chest pain patients, including those who:

To accomplish this, hospital leaders, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, advanced practitioners, nurses, emergency medicine physicians, heart failure specialists, life support specialists, emergency medical services (EMS) providers, pharmacists and care managers must collaborate closely to accommodate a patient’s unique care needs. After a heart attack, cardiac rehab therapists are an integral part of the team as well.

  • Go to the emergency room with chest pain
  • Have heart attacks and need blood flow restored quickly
  • Go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital
  • Need open-heart surgery
  • Need advanced therapies for heart failure or life support

“Whether a patient comes in with mild chest pain or having a serious cardiac event, it’s all hands on deck,” said Cinde Bower-Stout, R.N., M.H.A., cardiovascular quality manager and director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program at Geisinger. “Day-to-day frontline care after a heart attack is just as important. Lab assessment, pain management and preparation for discharge and self-care through education and therapy are all key factors in patients achieving and maintaining good quality of life.”

Rigorous onsite review at both medical centers included evaluation of records for patients who were currently admitted or had been cared for since the beginning of the year and assessment of quality measures including leadership engagement, collaboration with EMS, medical decision making, systemwide approach to quality improvement, performance improvement projects and engagement with pharmacy at the bedside.

“Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, R.N., M.S., chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Geisinger for having the first three hospitals to reduce variation in clinical processes and strengthen program structure and management framework for cardiac patients.”

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center named among best major teaching hospitals

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center was ranked No. 9 on Fortune/Merative’s 2022 “25 Top Teaching Hospitals” list. The rankings are based on public data sets including Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data, and core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Compare website. 

Michelle Thompson, MD, chief education officer and vice dean for graduate medical education and designated institutional official, said, “It’s public affirmation recognizing the clinical leadership team and all Geisinger Wyoming Valley employees for their contributions and efforts leading to a top-quality hospital that allows for an exceptional educational experience for the many residents and students who work and learn here.”

According to Erika Fry, a senior writer at Fortune, Merative’s researchers found that hospitals achieving a ranking tend to share seven key characteristics, including:

  • a mature culture (and a commitment to maintaining it)
  • nursing excellence
  • deeply committed leadership
  • quality-focused hospital boards
  • an embrace of data
  • innovative technology (used in a practical manner), and
  • local autonomy within health systems

These characteristics come as no surprise to Daniel Landesberg, Geisinger’s associate vice president for clinical operations. “At Geisinger Wyoming Valley, we are fortunate to have everything on Merative’s list – particularly excellent nurses and committed leadership that emphasizes innovation and technology,” he said. “Their energy and focus make our hospital the ideal place for residents and fellows to work and learn.”

Fortune also writes that the list, “represents those hospitals that held up best against the pandemic’s ongoing stress test. They achieved better results than peer institutions on performance indicators intended to measure clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience, and financial health. The study, which for this year evaluated 2,650 U.S. hospitals, relies on publicly available Medicare data for its analysis. The Top Hospitals list also considers an organization’s contributions to its community and equity of care.”

The list is a debut for Fortune/Merative because Fortune’s long-time research partner, IBM Watson Health, became a standalone company named Merative when it was purchased in 2022.

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center Begins Construction on Medical Office Building

Construction of a new Medical Office Building is underway at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, a development that will make better health easier for patients in Luzerne County by allowing for growth of specialty services on the hospital campus and increased appointment availability. 

The 160,000 square-foot clinic space will be comprised of four floors plus a lower level and will house general surgery, vascular surgery, pulmonology, infectious diseases, neurology, pediatric neurology, neurosurgery, neurophysiology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)/audiology, general internal medicine, nephrology and transplant outreach practices as well as laboratory and radiology services and a retail pharmacy.

Demand for these services is growing among residents of Luzerne County and northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Medical Office Building will reduce wait times for patients by allowing for program expansion, hiring of 20 new providers, and more appointments in these disciplines. As programs mature, the development will create approximately 70 jobs and provide for roughly 70,000 new patient visits each year.

“We are grateful that more and more of our friends and neighbors are trusting Geisinger with their care, and we know we have to continue to grow to make our services easier to use for patients in Luzerne County,” said Dan Landesberg, associate vice president of operations in Geisinger’s northeast region. “This is another step forward in bringing better health to our region by providing a more comprehensive spectrum of services on our hospital campus and allowing for in-demand services to grow with our community need.”

The services chosen for the Medical Office Building have inpatient and surgical components, so locating them near the hospital is a natural fit to accommodate patients and their care needs should their course of treatment require in-hospital care.

Services have also been grouped for patient convenience. Locating nephrology and transplant outreach services under one roof allows for better coordination for transplant patients who are cared for by both sets of providers. A growing pediatric neurology practice aligned with epilepsy monitoring and inpatient pediatrics at Geisinger Wyoming Valley allows patients in northeastern Pennsylvania to get all the care they need close to home and on one campus.

The office building will also feature:

  • Facial recognition technology for quick and easy check-in
  • More than 4,000 square feet dedicated to public education, community stewardship and supporting residency programs for training top-tier physicians and nurses
  • An adjacent, multi-level parking garage that will increase total parking by 12 percent and provide a convenient parking location for patients scheduled for care on the east campus

The Medical Office Building is expected to be completed by late 2023, and it continues Geisinger’s commitment to providing outstanding health care to patients and members in Luzerne County and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center Celebrates 40th Anniversary

In 1981, three local hospitals merged to create one hospital that would modernize the delivery of health care in northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2021, that hospital, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, is celebrating four decades of dedicated service to the community.

Originally NPW Medical Center, a consolidation of Nanticoke, Pittston and Wyoming Valley hospitals, the health care facility was renamed Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center shortly after opening, as Geisinger joined the collaboration after Nanticoke’s withdrawal.

What began as a standalone community hospital on East Mountain is now a regional medical center and destination for care with a mission to make better health easier for patients and members in Luzerne County and beyond.

Recently, Geisinger Wyoming Valley received 5-Star status from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the highest quality and patient safety score bestowed by the organization, putting the medical center among the top 14 percent of hospitals in the country.

“As the only CMS 5-Star hospital in northeastern Pennsylvania, we are proud to provide care of unsurpassed quality to residents of the region,” said Karlyn Paglia, M.D., chief medical officer at Geisinger Wyoming Valley. “With a full spectrum of services available to our patients and members, we look forward to caring for our community for many more years to come.”

Complemented by a network of primary care and outpatient specialty clinics that provide world-class care close to home for residents of the region, Geisinger Wyoming Valley is as community-focused as ever, continually building upon and improving programs and services for northeastern Pennsylvanians.

In 1992, the hospital added the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center, which is now home to a comprehensive team of fellowship-trained cancer specialists and advanced treatment options like CyberKnife targeted radiation therapy, which was only previously available in major metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and New York. An $80 million renovation of Geisinger Wyoming Valley and the Henry Cancer Center began in spring 2020, which will double the center’s capacity for infusion services, create an 18-bed inpatient unit for treatment of complex blood cancers, and make more appointments available to patients.

In 2001, Geisinger Wyoming Valley established the Richard and Marion Pearsall Heart Hospital, which is recognized by the American Heart Association for its ability to treat the most severe heart attacks and offers advanced treatment in cardiology, electrophysiology and cardiac surgery. In 2008, the then-new Critical Care Building became home to the Emergency Department and Level II Trauma Center. And in 2011, the Tambur Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened. Still the only NICU in Luzerne County, the Level III unit cares for infants as young as 28 weeks gestation.

Throughout the decades, program expansions and advancements in care have been designed to offer everything a patient might need in northeastern Pennsylvania. Those strides have continued in recent years.

Since April 2019, Geisinger Wyoming Valley has received Magnet® Recognition, the highest national honor for nursing excellence, and become a Comprehensive Stroke Center, a hospital capable of treating the most complex types of stokes and neurovascular complications. The stroke program is the most advanced in the region, even treating patients who are flown in from New York.

The medical center’s CMS 5-Star ranking is the latest in these quality-of-care achievements and is a testament to the hard work providers put in daily to care for their friends and neighbors.

Noreen Diaco took her first full-time job at NPW in July 1981, and 40 years later, she’s celebrating her work anniversary along with Geisinger Wyoming Valley. Now an executive assistant to Dr. Paglia and other leaders, she remembers her experience as one of strong community.

“I grew up with Geisinger Wyoming Valley,” Diaco said. “The people I’ve met and worked with have become family to me. Through the 40 years, I have watched NPW change names and develop from a small-town hospital to a well-known institution. Through all the changes, the small-town, personalized service can still be felt.”