Warren General thrives despite pandemic | News, Sports, Jobs

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren General Hospital CEO Rick Allen speaks at the hospital’s annual board meeting on Thursday evening.

Warren General Hospital continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and is showing profitability despite it.

But, this profit is not the goal in itself.

“We have turned the corner towards profitability, but it is not about making money”, CEO Rick Allen said Thursday at WGH’s annual board meeting. “It’s about making enough money for you to grow and invest. “

“We are here to provide health care”, Allen said. “Every dollar we earn is directly reinvested in the organization. “

The hospital’s 11.9% profit margin for fiscal year 2020-2021 has enabled millions of dollars in needed improvements to the facility.

“The organization is doing well” he said. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

“Typically, a 100 bed hospital… needs $ 4 million per year in upgrades and investments. “ Allen said. “During the three, four, five years before 2014” the hospital went through a “Capital holidays. We haven’t spent anything.

“We need many years of continuous profitability”, he said. “We have about $ 20 million in needs.”

Over the past year, the facility has seen $ 10 million in construction, renovations and infrastructure improvements.

Among the physical improvements to the plant were: a new cooling tower; new air handling units; repair of coolers; new roof; repair of parking garages; replacement of fire doors; new construction controls; new nurse call system; and plumbing and electrical upgrades.

The Cancer Care Center upgrades included a new CT simulator; new roof; and new linear accelerator and vault.

Linear accelerator “Is a shining star service here in County Warren”, Allen said.

Service improvements included 3D mammography; extension and renovation of pediatric rehabilitation; emergency room renovation; and improvements to Warren Medical Group Pleasant and Sugar Grove offices, and orthopedic and eye care centers.

A number of construction and renovation projects are lining up in the near future including: the eastern generator, more roofing, paving, steam repairs, more electrical and plumbing upgrades, a mass communication system and a snow melting system on the sidewalks.

“At the same time next year, we will have a brand new maternity unit”, he said.

Hope is to have reached “Stroke center certification” at the same time.

With regard to information technology, “We have more than 300 systems here at the hospital”, Allen said. The effort is underway to “Merge these systems”.

Living up to the hospital’s vision – “Warren General Hospital is an independent, community-based hospital providing ‘world class’ medical care and services through the collaborative efforts of physicians, staff and volunteers.” – is part of the guarantee of profitability of the hospital.

“It’s not about making your way to success” he said. “Control of expenses and growth of turnover. “

The tracks of the hospital “leak” – patients who could be treated locally, but who instead go to Erie. Bringing these patients back is all about providing high level service, Allen said. “We want the care that can be provided to Warren… we want to do it very, very well.”

Recruitment has played a major role in providing high quality care.

“We will continue to recruit doctors”, Allen said. “We’re going to focus on bringing more nurses here.


“We are immersed in COVID. “ Allen said. “We are continuing with all precautions.”

Like many aspects of life, COVID took longer to reach Warren County than other places. When he did, he arrived in full measure. “Staff responded expertly” Allen said. “There’s no playbook, but, man, we fought hard.”

“It continues to this day”, he said. “I am very proud of our staff.

“At our peak, we were seeing 18 new COVID positive patients per day”, he said. “On the third floor we have six bedrooms which can be completely isolated and have negative pressure.”

These numbers did not match.

“We had to start to fend for ourselves and understand ‘how can we provide the best care’,” Allen said.

The problem has changed.

The hospital currently has very few COVID-positive patients. “We are full of other patients”, Allen said. “Some days we struggle with the question ‘can we get the patients transferred’? “ because other hospitals are also full.

The hospital continues to offer drive-thru testing. Ideally, patients with symptoms would be seen at Warren General. “The testing clinic (at Warren State Hospital) helps alleviate the load on our walk-in clinic. “

Amid the pandemic, the hospital was ready for its triennial – every three years – survey of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Despite the ongoing challenges, “We were without a quote”, Allen said. “We are proud of it. “

Vaccine mandate

Asked about the possibility of mandatory vaccinations among staff, Allen said he expects a few months but expects to have to meet that mandate around Jan. 1, 2022. “We are 70% vaccinated throughout the organization” he said.

The warrant is transmitted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “We are over 50% Medicare and Medicaid … we must follow” the warrant, he said.

Brian Ferry

Personal editor

Time watcher

205 West Pennsylvania Avenue

Warren, Pennsylvania

(814) 730-6301

(716) 664-5305 (fax)

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