CLEARFIELD – If you had asked local residents and even employees of Penn Highlands Clearfield just five years ago, you would have heard them express concern that their local hospital may not be around for the next generation.
Those concerns have been significantly muted by a series of positive improvements at the hospital since its affiliation with Penn Highlands Healthcare a little less than 10 years ago.
Financial stability, revenue enhancement, facility/infrastructure investment and talent acquisition have been keys to the significant turnaround in the operations of the local hospital.
According to Rhonda Halstead, president of Penn Highlands Clearfield, “It took several years of implementing laser-focused business plans to reduce the $45 million in losses the hospital has experienced in the past 10 years.”
“I am happy to report that the hospital showed a black bottom line this past year, which was the first in many years.”
What has changed? First, an aggressive provider recruitment strategy. Hospitals need providers to care for their patients, thus reducing the number of healthcare visits patients need to seek outside of their local communities.
Several dozen new providers (doctors and mid-level providers) have been recruited to PH Clearfield over the past 10 years. This has allowed current services to be enhanced and new services to be added.
Second, Penn Highlands Healthcare has invested over $22 million in PH Clearfield to modernize facilities, purchase new equipment and expand into new markets. Some examples include:
- The construction of the Moshannon Valley Community Medical Building in Philipsburg. Expanding into the Greater Phillipsburg market has added significant new revenue streams for PH Clearfield.
- The construction of the Clearfield Community Medical Building. This building has provided convenient walk-in primary care, lab and imaging services for local residents.
- The build-out of the second floor of the Dr. Nathaniel D. Yingling Medical Building. For years medical oncology services were the only services available on the first floor of this modern building on the campus of PH Clearfield. Until recently, the second floor remained empty for years. That has changed with this year’s completion of a new Physical Therapy Center, Orthopedic Suite and Pain Management Suite on the second floor.
Earlier this fall, PH Clearfield also announced the purchase of the new Mako robotics system that will assist the orthopedic surgeons at PH Clearfield in performing state-of-the-art knee and hip surgeries close to home in Clearfield. This eliminates the need for many patients to travel out of town for robotic-assisted orthopedic surgery.
The investments won’t stop there. By the end of the current calendar year, Penn Highlands Healthcare will begin investing more than $6 million in a new Emergency Department that will be conveniently located on the first floor of the main hospital building. Renovations and modernization will also take place inside the main entrance, further enhancing the patient experience with a new registration area, cafeteria, gift shop and better access to key ancillary services.
A new drop-off/pick-up lane will be created just outside the renovated main entrance to provide better access for patients and visitors who utilize PH Clearfield.
“A hospital’s emergency department is its front door,” Halstead noted. “The new Emergency department at PH Clearfield will be easy to access, inviting and very customer friendly.”
Residents of Clearfield will no longer need to worry about the hospital’s future. This investment ensures PH Clearfield’s long-term viability as one of the six hospitals that are currently part of the Penn Highlands Healthcare system.
And finally, in early 2021, Penn Highlands Healthcare will further stabilize PH Clearfield’s financial position by having it deemed as a hospital campus of PH DuBois.
Patients and visitors who utilize PH Clearfield after this designation takes place will see no changes in the services provided at the local hospital.
This will come as a benefit to patients as in the long-term, the campus designation will enhance the reimbursement opportunities available at both the State and Federal level.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, PH Clearfield will join 45 other hospitals across the commonwealth that currently take advantage of this designation.
As each Penn Highlands hospital pursues initiatives like campus designation for PH Clearfield or critical access status for PH Elk, the Penn Highlands Healthcare system strengthens, thus allowing for reinvestment in local healthcare services.