Southeastern counties ask governor to create centralized system to share hospital resources

Jim Melwert
April 06, 2020 - 6:41 pm

EAGLEVILLE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Leaders of five southeastern Pennsylvania counties have sent Gov. Tom Wolf a letter asking his administration to develop a centralized system to help balance the load for hospitals across the state.

Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said data continues to show a possible peak in the coming weeks. So, she, along with the chairs from Chester, Bucks and Delaware counties, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, all signed the letter asking for a centralized system to track open beds and available equipment, like ventilators, in other hospitals.

“In the scenario in which we were at capacity or over capacity here in the southeast, there would be willingness from other hospitals to take a small number of patients to help balance the load,” said Arkoosh.

Arkoosh said this request is intertwined with the stay-at-home orders and an impending surge capacity site, which Montco hopes to announce later this week.

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“The first step in this is staying at home. That is the most important thing anyone can do,” she added.

The second part of the puzzle: The surge capacity site will offer about 50 hospital beds, and though it will be in Montgomery County, it will serve the region.

Then, she said, the load-balancing would centralize a system to see what hospitals have beds or ventilators, and what hospitals need them.

“So that if we do sadly get overwhelmed here in southeastern Pennsylvania, that hospitals near us would be willing to take a few patients,” she explained.

However, Arkoosh pointed out that the plan only works if people continue to stay home and practice social distancing.

“All the planning in the world won’t overcome people who are out and about and not practicing social distancing,” she continued. “And when you are out and about, you must keep 6 feet apart.”