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Geisinger Plans New Investments in Centre County

by on July 23, 2019 1:31 PM

Geisinger's plan for new bond financing will mean millions of dollars in new investments in its health care facilities in Centre County.

The health system plans to proceed with up to $1 billion in Series 2019 bond financing for debt refinancing, renovations and new construction at its locations in eight Pennsylvania counties and one New Jersey county. New spending across the system is projected to be $200 million. An estimated $24 million is designated for Centre County.

"I’m sure we’re going to spend more than that here in the next few years here, but not everything is bond funded," Andy Wargo, lead treasury analyst for Geisinger, told the Centre County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

The commissioners held a public hearing and approved a resolution that effectively allows Geisinger to spend bond proceeds in the county, as required by the IRS. Geisinger is going to each of the other counties in its system for the same approval. Only Geisinger is responsible for repayment of the bonds. Counties are not liable for repayment and no taxing power is involved.

Commissioner Steve Dershem said the process is to "confirm that you’re a viable organization doing a viable work for the good of our citizens.”

Mitch Leiby, Geisinger's senior director of construction, said that a number of projects are planned over the next several years in Centre County. An upgrade to the primary care facility at Scenery Park is currently in the design phase. A new pharmacy and other upgrades and renovations, including for psychiatric and addiction medicine, are also planned.

A possible new building at Port Matilda and new clinic facility in Bellefonte are in the works, as well. Leiby said he did not believe a site for the Bellefonte clinic has been determined yet.

Geisinger is also planning many upgrades for major equipment, such as for radiology, and technology, Leiby said.

Wargo said that new spending from the bond funds will likely take place over the next one to two years. He added that while Geisinger will be able to go up to $1 billion in bond financing, it probably won't go that high.

"It all depends on what the market is going to look like in a few months when we’re ready to go there," he said.

Last year about 53,600 Centre County residents — nearly a third of the county's population — were seen at a Geisinger facility. A total of 590 Centre County residents are Geisinger employees and 665 Geisinger employees work in Centre County, Wargo said.

"I’m very happy Geisinger has taken the opportunity and commitment that they have to support health care in Centre County," Dershem said. "We really appreciate that and hope that relationship will continue long into the future."

"[There is] a lot of innovation going on within Geisinger so we’re happy to be a part of that," added Commissioner Michael Pipe.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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