CLEVELAND — University Hospitals will indefinitely shut down five of its freestanding emergency departments across Northeast Ohio this weekend, citing decreased patient volumes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Operations in Avon, Amherst, Broadview Heights, Kent, and Twinsburg will be suspended beginning Sunday at 7 a.m. Urgent care and ambulance services will still be available at all locations, however, and the hospital system is reaching out to state and federal government officials to discuss the changes and will also transfer those needing care to other spots.
"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," COO Eric Beck said in a statement.
UH says it has seen a 70% drop in patients at freestanding emergency rooms, along with a 50% drop at hospital-based sites. Officials say citizens are instead utilizing services either by phone or online for fear of leaving their homes amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Experts say Ohio hospitals overall are losing roughly $42 million a day as costs increase and patients decrease during the pandemic. UH itself announced Wednesday it will temporarily reduce hours and cut pay for about 4,100 caregivers not directly involved in caring for coronavirus patients.
Gov. Mike DeWine did provide some relief for hospitals today, saying elective surgeries could begin to be scheduled again depending on how soon patients need them done.
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