Penn State Health and All About Children Announce Agreement
Berks Co. pediatric practice to join central PA’s leading health system.
HERSHEY, PA – Penn State Health and All About Children Pediatric Partners, P.C. announced today they have reached agreement for the Berks County practice to join Penn State Health Medical Group. Together, they will expand access to compassionate preventative and acute health care services for children and families in the Berks region.
Penn State Health and All About Children will collaborate to continue the holistic family-focused care its patients and families have come to expect. The affiliation will allow practice providers to offer local residents enhanced access to comprehensive care for their children close to home, in coordination with Penn State Health St. Joseph and Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey. Featuring the region’s highest level NICU and only pediatric trauma center, the Children’s Hospital offers advanced and specialized care to young patients across central Pennsylvania.
“Adding a respected pediatric practice that serves so much of Berks County is a win for Penn State Health, and for patients,” said Dr. Chris Newman, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs, Penn State Health St. Joseph. “All About Children’s long-standing mission clearly aligns with our mission of serving the health and wellness of all in the greater Berks region. It also will further enable us to provide more local access to the higher levels of care that only a university-based health system can offer.”
All About Children is known as an innovative, quality-focused practice committed to the health and well-being of children and its community. Since its start by Dr. Eve Kimball in 1991, AACPP has been recognized in Berks County as a resource for children with special issues and abilities, including autism, diabetes, mental challenges, asthma, cystic fibrosis and others. The practice has participated in a variety of quality initiatives, including the governor’s Chronic Care Initiative and American Academy of Pediatrics Quality Improvement Innovation Network on Child Abuse, and collaborative research projects with academic organizations on issues of prevention, such as asthma, newborn screening, oral health and genetics.
The combined experience of the practice’s pediatricians and nurse practitioners totals more than 300 years caring for children in Berks and all over the world.
“Whether we are technical, medical or clerical, we are all caregivers here,” Kimball said. “We are all focused on what it means to be compassionate, because we are parents and caregivers ourselves. We understand the patient’s and parent’s anxiety, and I think that comes through in how we are truly there for patients and families 24/7.”
The practice at 655 Walnut St. in West Reading sees 15,000-17,000 patients each year in a 16,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility known for both its technology and its integration of local community culture.
The facility was designed with infection-preventing strategies such as direct exhausting of air from patient areas to the outside, a separate waiting room for infants and children with special healthcare needs and 28 examining rooms. More than 40 murals with a theme of “Through the Life Span” were designed and painted by Wyomissing High School Art students and community members in coordination with Berks Community Murals, the Yocum Institute and practice staff.
All About Children takes a holistic approach to pediatric care, from prevention to support, and involving the whole family beyond traditional caregiver structures. They offer a monthly support group for grandparents who parent, with sessions in English and Spanish; engage a family advisory council to improve patient and family experience; were the first private practice Reach Out and Read site in the nation, delivering more than 200,000 free books to patients since 1996; focus on behavioral health needs through prevention efforts like a screening research project with Drexel University and a direct referral agreement with Berks Community Counseling Center.
“Partnering with Penn State Health gives us the opportunity to work with an organization that has our same values of truly caring for patients and being there for people. You just don’t find that in many large organizations today, but it’s clearly a Penn State Health philosophy,” Kimball said. “The combination of Penn State’s strong reputation and their respect for AACPP, our culture and our community will make the transition so much easier for our wonderful staff and the people we have been privileged to call our patients.”
An agreement between the two organizations—which could take effect as early as February 1—would mean that the approximately 60 All About Children employees, including 12 physicians and nurse practitioners, would become Penn State Health employees.