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UPMC Lock Haven succeeds even after difficult 2020

LOCK HAVEN — “On September 10, there was a fire,” Ron Reynolds, UPMC Lock Haven and Muncy president, said in their annual meeting on Wednesday evening. “The fire did not enter the building. Seventeen patients were evacuated in 14 minutes.”

He also said that many of the patients were transported in as little as 90 minutes and with “remarkable effort,” 37 companies from three different counties responded to the fire.

“It was a quite remarkable feat,” he said.

Regardless of the ongoing fire challenges on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, no staff were laid off at the Lock Haven hospital and Haven Place campuses.

Staff were transferred to other UPMC hospitals including Williamsport, Muncy and Milton.

“Those staff members grew,” he said. “It is good to see other cultures within our own system. In talking to those people, that experience benefited nearly all of those staff members.”

“As we evolve out of the fire, we continue to look at our surgical services…to ensure getting patients the right care at the right place at the right time,” Reynolds continued.

He said that within the reopening of the hospital, there were 24 emergency room visits and seven admissions before lunch time. They were also given four COVID patients from the Milton campus prior to the fire, who had to be evacuated due to the fire.

“This shows how much the community needs us,” he said. “We need them to use us. We have come a great long way with expanding the patient experience.”

“This has been a challenging year for UPMC Lock Haven,” Ann Pepperman, UPMC Susquehanna board of directors chairwoman, said. “Not only did you deal with COVID-19 in a great manor, but also got patients from another institution, then you had a fire. Once again, everyone at Lock Haven pulled together.”

In addition, the hospital helped with the Williamsport Brandon Avenue COVID-19 collection site and greatly enhanced its telehealth program.

Janet Herman, a Haven Place resident, also took time to talk about the amazing efforts of the staff.

“Residents were concerned about when they would be able to see their families,” she said.

She continued by saying that the staff increased phone calls, helped with Facetime visits and made a Facebook page.

“In May and June, they had Mother’s and Father’s day drive-through parades,” she said.

In the summer, they also allowed for socially distant and masked outdoor patio visits.

“It means a lot to us to be able to see our loved ones face to face,” she said.

Additionally, the staff on the call also thanked UPMC employees in their community as well as one from Pittsburgh and one from Harrisburg who drove hours to help in the fire scene.

“You all are MVPs,” Reynolds said.

One of the staff members that was congratulated stated “there was no hesitation to be there for family.”

Some of the more local heroes included Matt Peters and Chauntel Long.

Darla Hardy, director of nursing at UPMC Lock Haven, also told listeners that the local First Quality also donated $50,000 to help fight COVID-19 in the rural area.

“Together we are stronger and together we are creating a healthier community,” said Patti Jackson, UPMC vice president of strategic planning and business development in the Susquehanna region.

In closing, Steve Johnson, president of UPMC in the Susquehanna region, wanted to acknowledge and urge the community to continue to be cautious about this virus.

“I want to acknowledge that our nation, and state and region are experiencing some of the highest COVID rates we have seen since the pandemic began,” he said. “We have to continue to take this very seriously. Please don’t give up on wearing your masks, washing your hands and social distancing.”

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