Suburban General to close ER, end inpatient care

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Suburban General Hospital will close its emergency department and discontinue in-patient care at the Bellevue campus in 90 days, West Penn Allegheny Health System officials told staff and employees this afternoon.

There have been discussions since early in the year that changes might be coming to Suburban, which has been a mainstay in the North Borough community for decades, as WPAHS undergoes restructuring and consolidation.

The health system has contracted with LifeCare Hospitals to expand its acute care long-term care services from the current 41 beds to 50 beds, and LifeCare may add another 50 skilled nursing or transitional care beds by year's end.

There also will be an urgent care center and physician offices on-site, as well as outpatient services such as radiology, laboratory, dialysis and imaging services, physical therapy, and outpatient oncology and pediatric services.

State law prohibits hospitals from having an emergency department unless it has in-patient beds.

Health system officials said 86 percent of those seen in Suburban's emergency department had injuries or illnesses that could be treated in an urgent care setting. They also said that in-patient care represents only four percent of the hospital's volume.

In a release, WPAHS said affected Suburban employees "will be encouraged to apply for one of the many new LifeCare positions or one of hundreds of open positions across the West Penn Allegheny Health System."


Steve Twedt: stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963. More in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.


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