UPMC Somerset is closing inpatient care at In Touch Hospice. Here's what to know.
Inpatient care at In Touch Hospice House in Somerset is set to end in early August.
UPMC Somerset spokeswoman Sarah Deist confirmed in an email that the care will end Aug. 1.
"We are always evaluating how to best design and deliver care to ensure we consistently maintain the high quality expected of UPMC," Deist wrote.
"When Somerset Hospital merged with UPMC in 2019, part of the agreement was that the home health and hospice agencies eventually would be consolidated into the UPMC network. In recent years, we have seen changes in the Somerset home health care and hospice patient volumes and have decided to redesign the structure of these services to maintain quality, more efficiently serve the community, and protect sustainability. With many more patients receiving care in their homes, we will continue to enhance our services to meet this need."
She said the In Touch building will be used for administrative offices for hospice and home health services.
"Hospice services will continue in the home and inpatient care will be in the hospital," she wrote. "We are looking at other opportunities to utilize space in the building for services that will continue to benefit the community. UPMC is working with employees during this transition to make sure they are put in the best new positions to succeed."
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She said hospital staff will work with current patients to find a new option for care.
"We are working with each individual patient and their family members to develop a transition plan to ensure that there is no interruption to patient care," she wrote. "The care of our patients is our top priority and we will continue to deliver the high quality care our patients know."
Dusti Betker, an In Touch employee, said she and other workers were caught off guard with news of the facility closing.
Betker, a nurse aide who's worked at In Touch since 2012, said that when UPMC took over, employees knew changes were coming.
But she said closing the inpatient center wasn't expected.
"They never gave an inkling that they were going to close the inpatient facility," she said, adding management was also unaware. "I feel that UPMC is doing a great disservice to Somerset County."
Betker said that although she supports home care, her passion is for the hospice house and taking care of families there.
"We have wonderful community support for the hospice house. We have tons of support for families," she said. "I just think it is such a sad day for Somerset County that they are going to close such an important part of the community."
Follow Eric Kieta on Twitter @EricKietaDA.