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Penn Highlands could see more patients as elective surgeries now allowed


DuBois, PA — As the Pennsylvania Department of Health is starting to allow hospitals to schedule and perform elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures, our Penn Highlands Healthcare system could start seeing more patients.

Because hospitals statewide had been performing mostly emergency care and healthcare related to COVID-19, they had been unable to do many of the procedures that tend to bring in the most revenue. For the month of April, Penn Highlands is expected to have a net revenue decrease overall of about 40 percent.

The Penn Highlands Healthcare system had laid off or furloughed more than 600 employees in April. Furloughed employees aren’t set to come back until May 31.

However, things are looking more hopeful, now that patients can move forward with elective procedures such as joint surgeries and exploratory scopes.

Still, because the virus can be unpredictable and there still is the chance of a surge, Penn Highlands is continuing to prepare for potential COVID-19 cases and updating their safety precautions as necessary.

Read the full guidelines for Ambulatory Surgical Facilities.

According to the PA Department of Health:

Elective Surgeries and Procedures

ASFs may begin performing elective surgeries and procedures if the ASF makes an affirmative decision that it is able to do so without jeopardizing the safety of patients and staff or the ASF’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. In determining whether an ASF is able to support elective admissions, surgeries and procedures, the ASF must review the Joint Statement issued by the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of perioperative Registered Nurses, and American Hospital Association and consider the operational guidance described therein to the extent applicable to ASFs. ASFs that provide pediatric treatment and care should additionally review the guidance from the Children’s Hospital Association of the United States, to the extent applicable to ASFs, when determining whether to proceed with pediatric elective surgeries and procedures.

ASFs must comply with the PSRS reporting requirements described in the next section if the ASF intends to resume elective procedures and surgeries pursuant to this guidance. ASFs do not need approval from the Department to begin performing elective surgeries or procedures.