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Patients speak out about changes at UPMC Lock Haven

UPMC Lock Haven announced last week that it will be moving forward with plans to transition to an outpatient emergency department only.

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. — UPMC Lock Haven will soon be utilized as an outpatient emergency department. Last week, the healthcare system announced plans to discontinue other services at the campus in Clinton County.

"Delicensing the actual inpatient beds that we have, but evolving the emergency department to become a department of the Williamsport Regional Medical Center but just on the campus of Lock Haven," explained Ron Reynolds, president of UPMC Lock Haven.

No one at the hospital will lose their job, Reynolds said. However, some employees will be moved to hospitals in Lycoming County.

"We anticipate no job layoffs. We are looking to place every employee we have, but there will be some retained here. Optically, the emergency department will look no different than it does today."

Folks in Lock Haven shared their opinions about the hospital cutting back its services to only emergency needs.

"I used to go up there all the time to Lock Haven Hospital, and now it is hard for me because I have to go down to Jersey Shore Hospital," Dawn Mallory said.

"At least you can go there if you have an urgent issue and you can't drive yourself," Gail Rhoton said.

Officials at the hospital say the transition was backed by data. The hospital in Lock Haven was only seeing eight patients per day on average. The hospital has also incurred millions of dollars in operating losses.

"In the surgical world, we were down to elective surgeries just two days a week to try and be cost-effective. Again, we can fully integrate all of those surgeries into Williamsport or UPMC Muncy," Reynolds said.

UPMC Lock Haven will make the full transition in April. After that, folks will have to travel to UPMC Williamsport or UPMC Muncy for elective surgeries or other care.

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