University Hospitals closing ERs across Northeast Ohio due to sharp decline in patient visits

The temporarily closures will enable the hospital system to avert costs, and devote more resources toward COVID-19

University Hospitals closing ERs across Northeast Ohio due to sharp decline in patient visits
The temporarily closures will take effect on April 26. (Source: Vic Gideon)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - University Hospitals emergency rooms have seen a 50 to 70 percent decline in patient visits over the past several weeks, which has led the hospital system to initiate a temporary shutdown at many of its ER facilities.

The sharp decline has been driven by patients seeking virtual care versus in-person visits.

“Following a thorough assessment, UH is temporarily suspending operations for freestanding emergency departments in Avon, Amherst, Broadview Heights, 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,” according to a UH spokesperson.

Triage staff and medical equipment are being shuffled to other departments and locations across UH to help battle COVID-19 and address patient needs.

UH had previously suspended operations at 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.

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.

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