By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read April 2020 — Tower Health is a regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that oversees six acute care hospitals and other entities serving 2.5 million people. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Gregory Sorensen told Invest: what Tower is doing to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients, the community’s role in fighting the virus and his message to the community.
What accommodations is your hospital making to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
We monitor our bed capacity hourly. The elimination of elective surgeries and the general decline in routine demand for care has reduced normal bed demand and is freeing up beds for possible use by COVID-19 patients. We will also coordinate bed capacity among Tower hospitals.
How is your hospital working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?
Safety for our employees and patients is our top priority. Like other healthcare providers, Tower Health is working very hard to manage and conserve our supplies of masks, eye protection, disinfecting wipes, gowns, and other materials related to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Our normal production sources and distribution channels have been interrupted, just as they have for every hospital in the country. While our inventories are not at normal levels, with careful management we believe we can meet current needs. We are working to acquire additional supply. We are implementing a number of strategies, including sharing supplies across Tower Health facilities; gathering supplies from shuttered outpatient clinical areas and getting them to the hospitals; and identifying alternative sources for supplies.
How can the community best assist local healthcare providers in this time of need?
We have been gratified by the many offers from area businesses, organizations, and individuals to donate supplies and we are accepting contributions of specific items. More information is available on our web site.
What would your message be to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?
We encourage all members of the public to adhere to the guidance of the governor and the PA Department of Health on sheltering at home, practicing social distancing and practicing infection prevention. These steps will reduce the spread of COVID-19, which protects the community and helps ensure the safety of our healthcare team and the patients relying on us for care. Our team at Tower Health is committed and prepared to care for our communities through this pandemic. The public can contribute meaningfully to this effort by remaining at home to prevent the spread of the virus.
Do you feel you are receiving enough state and federal support for items you are in need of? What can these entities be doing better?
Our public health officials at the local, state and federal levels are working hard to keep the public safe during an unprecedented situation. We support their efforts and are grateful for their dedication, perseverance and leadership.
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