Geisinger Serves 2,900 Veteran Appreciation Dinners

To thank local veterans for their service, Geisinger served approximately 2,900 meals during drive-through veteran appreciation dinners at 11 locations across its service area on Thursday, Nov. 9. The dinners for U.S. military veterans and guests were provided at no cost to participants.

Meals were provided in Bloomsburg, Danville, Jersey Shore, Lewistown, Mifflintown, Muncy, Pittston, Scranton, Shamokin, State College, and Wilkes-Barre. Members of Geisinger’s executive leadership team, regional leaders and volunteers attended the event to hand out meals to veterans.

Members of leadership, along with staff and volunteers, handed out the meals with a smile and “thank you for your service” to express gratitude for the veterans’ selflessness and sacrifice. At some locations, veterans also received homemade cards and notes from local students.

Geisinger and Local Food Chain Address Food Insecurity

Geisinger is partnering with The GIANT Company and Central Susquehanna Opportunities (CSO) to pilot a mobile food pantry that will serve food-insecure people living in the Central Susquehanna Valley.

The GIANT Company is committing a total of $597,000 to fund the mobile pantry, including a donation of $325,000 in 2023 in honor of its 100th anniversary to cover startup costs for the initiative. Expected to launch in early 2024, the mobile food pantry will aim to provide fresh, healthy food to 75 households in its first year.

“We’re grateful to The GIANT Company and CSO for their collaboration in bringing healthy food to underserved communities,” said Nancy Lawton-Kluck, Geisinger’s chief philanthropy officer. “It’s a privilege to work with community leaders who share our values as we contribute to healthier, more vibrant neighborhoods.”

According to the state Department of Human Services, more than a million Pennsylvanians were food insecure in 2022.

Geisinger screens patients to understand their social needs, including food insecurity, and gets them connected to local community resources. Among Geisinger patients who have taken an adult social needs screening, nearly 10,500 have worried they would run out of food before having resources to buy more, and more than 3,800 have reported the same concern across Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Snyder counties.

As an extension of Geisinger’s food-is-health strategy designed to help people with challenges accessing healthy food live well and manage diet-responsive conditions, the client-choice mobile food pantry will launch in targeted underserved areas. The mobile unit will be available for anyone in the community in need of food assistance.

The mobile food pantry is the latest in a long list of projects for which The GIANT Company has partnered with Geisinger to improve health and quality of life for local communities. This includes previous commitments to the Fresh Food Farmacy program, Children’s Miracle Network and Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. In total, The GIANT Company has given more than $8.5 million to Geisinger programs, facilities and initiatives.

“Reducing food insecurity, increasing access to healthy foods and promoting nutrition is a priority for The GIANT Company,” said Nick Koch, Head of Wellbeing for The GIANT Company. “When Geisinger approached us with their idea for a mobile food pantry to help address these issues in their community, we knew we wanted to be a part of it. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this life-changing program will have on families across the central Susquehanna Valley.”

CSO, a community action agency for Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties, will staff the unit with a community health worker, driver and volunteers, and the pantry will also provide nutrition education and referrals to Geisinger for any clinical care needs. CSO is a partner agency of the Central PA Food Bank.

Because 37% of Geisinger patients who reported food insecurity also identified more than one social need, Neighborly, an easy-to-use online search tool for free and reduced-cost community resources will be available on kiosks or mobile devices at distribution sites. To learn more about Neighborly, visit

The GIANT Company’s 100th anniversary celebration efforts honor team members, customers and the communities it serves. Building on its century-long commitment to grow strong, healthy communities, philanthropy is a cornerstone of the company’s anniversary celebration. It is building its legacy by making donations and participating in volunteer activities aligned with its purpose of connecting families for a better future through efforts to eliminate hunger, change children’s lives, heal the planet, promote wellbeing and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.

To learn more about how The GIANT Company is supporting the communities it serves, visit

Geisinger Medical Centers Nationally Recognized for Quality Heart Attack Care

Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre have received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center Gold Plus recognition.

The three Joint Commission/American Heart Association Comprehensive Heart Attack Centers and Mission: Lifeline Receiving Centers were recognized for delivering rapid, evidence-based care to people having the type of heart attack known as ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), which is known to be more severe and dangerous than other types of heart attacks.

All three medical centers are perennial recipients of Mission: Lifeline honors, but this is Geisinger Community Medical Center’s first year achieving Gold Plus recognition.

Each year, about 285,000 people in the U.S. experience a STEMI,caused by a complete blockage in a coronary artery. Like all heart attacks, this requires timely treatment to restore blood flow as quickly as possible.

“When one of our patients is having a heart attack, it’s important that we move quickly, move together, and deliver treatment that gives them the best chance at survival and recovery,” said Cinde Bower-Stout, manager of cardiovascular quality at Geisinger.

Mission: Lifeline is a national, community-based initiative improving systems of care for patients with STEMI, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), stroke and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Recognition as a Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center is designed to showcase hospitals that provide 24/7 support for STEMI. Accredited facilities coordinate with a network of referring hospitals and emergency medical services to provide guideline-directed STEMI and NSTEMI care.

“We are dedicated to always improving coordination among our teams and always delivering the latest, evidence-based care to heart attack patients,” said Vishal Mehra, M.D., Ph.D., director of cardiovascular quality at Geisinger. “The Mission: Lifeline initiative helps us achieve our goals by offering guidelines to follow on a daily basis as we focus on making better health easier for our patients.”

Geisinger Uses AI Technology in Fight Against Lung Cancer

Geisinger has begun using a new patient management system to expand its ability to identify and manage patients with incidentally identified lung abnormalities, as well as manage those eligible for lung cancer screening.

Nationally, incidental abnormalities are found about 40% of the time during imaging tests that are unrelated to the reason the test was ordered. In 2020, Geisinger implemented the STAIR™ Program (which stands for System to Track Abnormalities of Importance Reliably) to help manage these patients. If an incidental lung abnormality is found, the provider refers the patient to the STAIR team, which evaluates the patient and establishes a care plan.

“The mission of the STAIR program is to ensure that all patients with important radiology findings get the care they need at the time they need it — the first time, every time,” said Yatin Mehta, M.D., Geisinger pulmonologist and STAIR Program director.

The program has made sure patients have follow-up care, but referring, tracking and managing patients was time-consuming. The new patient management technology, in partnership with Denver-based health company Eon, automatically enrolls patients with an incidental finding in the STAIR program. The Eon system’s AI-driven workflow tracks the patient’s journey and flags the care team when necessary for timely follow-up care.

“Tracking patients behind the scenes, automating workflows and removing busywork not only enables the care team to manage and bring back significantly more patients, but also frees them up to spend more time on direct patient care,” said Nathan Boehlke, Eon director of implementation. 

“The STAIR program and lung cancer screening program are two important ways that we can catch cancer earlier when the patient has a chance to be cured,” Dr. Mehta said. “We’re excited to work with Eon on innovation that’s making a difference by allowing our staff to manage more patients more efficiently — and ultimately saving lives with earlier intervention.”

Geisinger Earns Highest Tech Honors in 2023 ‘Most Wired’ Survey

Geisinger has once again been recognized for its information technology as one of the top “Most Wired” health systems in the country by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

Geisinger was one of only 16 health systems or hospitals in the country to achieve level 10 certification, the highest recognition, in both the ambulatory and acute care surveys. CHIME’s annual Digital Health Most Wired survey certifies hospitals from levels 1 through 10. This is the fourth consecutive year Geisinger has achieved a level 10 certification. To have achieved this level, CHIME says it “reflects an entire organization’s commitment to improve health care through the advancement of digital health strategies.”

“One of the most exciting elements of this survey is that it shows how well we have used technology to enable clinical and operational best practices across our organization — in a way that also stands up nationally,” said Joseph Fisne, associate chief information officer at Geisinger. “Our integrations have made patient care safer and more efficient, a testament to Geisinger’s vision to make better health easier.”

Each organization is also scored on eight individual segments: Infrastructure; security; administrative/supply chain; analytics/data management; interoperability/population health; patient engagement; innovation; and clinical quality/safety. This year, Geisinger received the highest score in the clinical quality/safety section.

This recognition serves to highlight the many ways Geisinger has used technology over the years to transform care delivery, including through the virtual patient monitoring app ConnectedCare365, digital experiences that cater communications to patients’ needs and data policies that uphold the safety and privacy of patient information. The award also recognizes the implementation and use of technology across Geisinger — from the information technology teams that develop and deploy the technology to the frontline service providers who use the capabilities.

CHIME reports that more than 55,000 facilities around the world serving patients across the continuum of care were represented in the 2023 Digital Health Most Wired program. The survey assessed the adoption, integration and impact of technologies in health care organizations at all stages of development, from early development to industry leading.

Geisinger Announces Recipients of the Nursing Scholarship and Caring Award

Geisinger has recognized 10 employees who go above and beyond in their dedication to patients at work and in the community with the Caring Award and Nursing Scholarship in honor of Susan M. Robel.

“Improving the patient experience and making better health easier for everyone is at the forefront of what we do. And our Geisinger family members are devoted to finding ways — big and small — to impact our patients’ lives,” said Janet Tomcavage, MSN, RN, executive vice president and chief nursing executive at Geisinger. “Each year, we recognize those who go the extra mile in their service to others. Congratulations to all the deserving recipients.”

Created to honor the legacy of Sue Robel, Geisinger’s former chief nursing officer and co-chief patient experience officer, the two awards are presented annually to recognize Geisinger employees’ commitment to providing the highest level of patient care and serving others in their roles at work and in the community.

The Nursing Scholarship Program in honor of Robel recognizes the significance of lifelong learning in nursing, and rewards those enrolled in nursing school who exemplify what it means to go above and beyond in providing patient care. Scholarship recipients have demonstrated a continued commitment to meeting the highest standards of bedside care and treat patients with the utmost compassion and kindness. Each recipient is awarded $1,000 toward their tuition, funded by the Alice E. Steele Endowment. 

The 2023 Nursing Scholarship winners are:

  • Cherie Hrapowicki, patient care technician II, emergency medicine, Geisinger Medical Center Muncy
  • Jennifer Kauffman, patient care unit assistant, intermediate care unit, Geisinger Lewistown Hospital
  • Katie Lynn, nurse intern/extern, emergency medicine, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre
  • Carson Farr, patient care technician, medical/surgical unit, Geisinger Medical Center
  • Jessica Wallace, operations manager II, family practice, CommunityCare Kistler Clinic

The Caring Award recognizes Geisinger employees who are dedicated to caring for others in the workplace and beyond. Like Robel, who defined collegiality and was an exemplary colleague to all, these people demonstrate a steadfast commitment to serving others and are incredible advocates in our communities. They inspire others with their compassion, thoughtfulness and selflessness. Nominated by their peers and selected by the award committee, winners receive $500 in cash and $500 to donate to their charity of choice.

The 2023 Caring Award winners are:

  • Raphael Ferro, registered nurse, intensive care unit, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
  • Kimberly Green, registered nurse, Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital
  • Gina Hatton, licensed practical nurse, neurology, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
  • Angela Phillips, community health assistant II, Care Coordination and Integration
  • Lindsey Shannon, patient care technician, intensive care unit, Geisinger Medical Center

Geisinger Welcomes Vascular Surgeon

John A. Kutz, M.D., an experienced vascular surgeon with deep ties to northeastern Pennsylvania, has joined Geisinger.

Dr. Kutz practices at Geisinger Community Medical Center and treats patients with diseases of the circulatory system. He has a clinical interest in helping patients get appropriate operative and non-operative care for vascular conditions and is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Vascular Surgery.

He joins Eugene Langan, M.D., David Phang, M.D., and Alessandro Smeraldi, M.D., on a vascular care team that provides comprehensive coverage for Scranton and surrounding communities.

A native of Luzerne County, Dr. Kutz earned his medical degree from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He completed his residency in general surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and his fellowship training in vascular surgery at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

He has provided vascular care in Scranton for 20 years and has held clinical and administrative leadership positions in surgery, vascular surgery and wound care. Dr. Kutz serves as an assistant professor of vascular surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and he was recently appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania to serve on the State Board of Medicine.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to continue caring for members of my community with Geisinger,” Dr. Kutz said. “My wife and I came back to this region two decades ago, because we wanted to be part of the communities in which we were raised.”

Dr. Kutz served 13 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve where he trained at the School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, Texas, reached the rank of major and was awarded for expert marksmanship, unit achievement and meritorious service.

To learn more about vascular care at Geisinger or find a vascular surgeon near you, visit

Bartari to Host Fundraiser for Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital

Bartari will be hosting the 3rd Annual “Quarters for Kids” an Extra Life event, which benefits the Geisinger Janet Weis Children Hospital. The event will take place on Sunday, November 5th from 11 am. to 11 pm.

The fundraiser is looking for monetary donations, raffle items, and items from Child Life Donation Wish List. (See attached list below. These items have to be new.) All donations can be dropped off at Bartari, 101 Adams Ave. Scranton or at A.J Guzzi General Contractors, 9 Skyline Drive, Clark Summit. Any questions please call Carol Heim at (570) 498-2004.

Donation List