UH Suspends Operations at Freestanding Emergency Departments to aid COVID-19 Response and Recovery Efforts
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is requiring University Hospitals to carefully evaluate and align system-wide programs and services to meet evolving patient care needs.
An unforeseen consequence of the pandemic has been a sharp decline in the number of patients visiting UH emergency departments system-wide. Current patient volumes are down 50 percent at UH hospital-based emergency departments and more than 70 percent at UH freestanding emergency departments. Patients are seeking care in different ways that include phone or online virtual care and urgent care.
Following a thorough assessment, UH is temporarily suspending operations for freestanding emergency departments in Avon, Amherst, Broadview Hts., Kent and Twinsburg, effective 7 a.m. Sunday, April 26. Other UH ambulatory services at these UH health center locations will continue to be open and available to patients. Emergency departments remain open at all UH hospitals.
UH urgent care facilities in Broadview Heights, Kent and Twinsburg will continue to serve health care needs in these communities, and on Monday, April 27 UH will open urgent cares in Amherst and Avon. Urgent cares offer patients a lower-cost access point for many services than emergency departments, and these facilities can transition patients to UH hospitals when more acute care is needed.
UH is partnered with first responders with 182 medical commands across the region to assure that patients are transported to locations providing the appropriate level of care.
The health system is notifying and discussing the temporary suspension of services at these free-standing emergency departments with local, regional, state and federal government officials.
According to UH Chief Operating Officer Eric Beck, DO, MPH, “University Hospitals is committed to providing the safest, highest-quality care for our patients in these communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and for all of our patients’ needs now and in the future.”
Caregivers at these facilities will have options to move into positions at our new urgent cares and at other locations within our health system. “We appreciate the flexibility and dedication of our caregivers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created unique demands for our health care services,” Beck said.
UH had previously suspended operations at freestanding emergency departments in Andover and North Ridgeville.
Health systems across the country have been impacted financially by the high costs associated with preparedness for a surge in COVID-19 patients and a reduction in revenues from the suspension of non-essential surgeries and procedures. Additionally, some patients have been reluctant during the pandemic to access care in traditional ways
In Ohio, it is estimated that hospitals are seeing financial losses of $42 million per day and spending $5 million per day on increased costs of supplies.
UH will continually evaluate patient volumes and preferences as a guide for the return of emergency department services.