Case Study

How WellSpan Health Converted their Rehab Hospital into a<br>Med-Surg Unit

    How WellSpan Health Converted their Rehab Hospital into a Med-Surg Unit


    The challenge

    As Covid-19 puts unprecedented pressure on health systems nationwide, hospitals are grappling with how to expand capacity to manage a surge in volumes. Some organizations have turned to non-clinical buildings to stand-up additional med-surg units, but these sites require significant time and resources to build.

    The organization

    WellSpan is an eight-hospital health system based in York, Pennsylvania. In addition to their acute care hospitals, they own and operate a combined inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) and surgery center, the WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital (WSRH), as well as a home health agency.

    The approach

    WellSpan converted their IRF, WSRH, into a med-surg unit to serve overflow acute care patients. The additional resources that were needed to treat these patients were brought in from closed ambulatory surgery centers within the WellSpan system. Admission criteria were determined in accordance with the federal blanket waivers and the clinical capabilities of WSRH, and staff were upskilled to treat these patient types over the course of two weeks. To provide additional clinical support, WellSpan set up telehealth to connect WSRH patients with WellSpan York Hospital physicians and created a rapid response team to care for escalating patients.

    The result

    WSRH set up and staffed their facility to manage up to 116 med-surg patients from area hospitals. Because social distancing measures have so far been effective in the area, WellSpan has not yet had to use the IRF as overflow med-surg space. However, the steps they have taken allow them to serve in this capacity as needed, and have spurred new innovations in the hospital that they expect to carry over well after the surge passes.

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