Edited from Submitted Material
The Wyoming County Commissioners expressed their shock at the announcement that Commonwealth Tyler Memorial Hospital was closing all operations except for Urgent Care and limited laboratory and X-Ray capabilities. According to a media release from the commissioners office, each of them received personal calls from hospital administrator AnnMarie Stevens to let them know that the announcement would be made within the hour.
“We are saddened and concerned for the community that will now be without emergency treatment, necessitating much longer trips to hospitals in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. If a serious incident occurs and an extra half hour or more trip is necessary, we are very concerned that patients may not make it because there is no emergency room available to treat and stabilize them in close proximity.
The operation of a well-staffed emergency room is essential to the residents and businesses in this area. The lack of such a facility will hinder efforts to bring economic development and may force existing businesses to move out of the area to insure the safety of their employees if a serious accident should occur. We are working hard to attract new businesses to the area, and this is certainly a setback to those efforts. The lack of a hospital within a half hour or more of Wyoming County also makes us a less desirable location to raise families, and this decision may cause a loss of residents and force less to move in.
We have a major problem manning our local ambulances with volunteers, and the extra time required for each call may make the situation worse as volunteers just don’t have the time to add an hour or more to every ambulance call.
We are also very concerned for the 110 employees who will lose their jobs. In a release from Barry Hosier, Human Resources Manager, he states that the closure will be permanent. Hopefully employment will be offered in other Commonwealth facilities, but there is no guarantee that this will happen.
The commissioners will be working with Tyler and Commonwealth Health System management, local businesses and emergency care providers to come up with an alternate solution. Although not the best situation, the reopening of a stand-alone emergency room would be a much better situation than an urgent care setting that does not offer 24/7 staffing and will be only available for non-emergency situations.
We have a call set up on Thursday with the Wyoming County Task force that includes Rep. Karen Boback, Sen. Lisa Baker, the three commissioners, Human Services and EMA directors from the county, superintendents from Tunkhannock and Lackawanna Trail, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and AnnMarie Stevens, administrator of Tyler Memorial Hospital. The closure of most services and what alternatives we have will be the main and probably only topic of discussion at this meeting.
Please be assured that your commissioners will do whatever is necessary to keep emergency services open in Wyoming County to serve our residents and businesses.”
Wyoming County Commissioners Rick Wilbur, Tom Henry, and Ernie King