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Inpatient surgery cut at Kennedy's Heritage Valley

By Elizabeth Perry

Heritage Valley Kennedy will no longer offer inpatient surgery at the Kennedy Township hospital.

President and CEO Norman Mitry said in-patient surgery would be moving to the Sewickley location.

“Because of the needed specialists It's financially impossible for us to put them (in Kennedy,)” Mitry said.

The necessary intensivists – which is a term that means a board-certified physician who provides specialized care to the critically ill – and hospitalists – a doctor who cares for inpatients in the hospital – are too expensive to keep at both locations.

Currently, there is a staffing shortage at the Kennedy hospital, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitry said.

“There is a 15% vacancy factor on nurses alone,” Mitry said, which translates to 112 nurses not on the job.

Positions are being filled through nursing agencies, which are more expensive than hiring nurses outright.

Mitry said he’s weathered shortages in nursing staffing before and is confident in the nursing school’s recruiting efforts.

“Heritage Valley Kennedy has our own school of nursing,” Mitry said.

For 2022 there were 19 graduates, and they expect 17 more in 2023, said Admissions Coordinator Sharon Gyory. She said they are expecting 40 nurses to enroll in the upcoming year.

In 2021, the Behavioral Health Center was diverted to Kennedy. Ohio Valley Hospital joined Heritage Valley Health Systems in 2018 and was renamed. The organization invested $8 million in the hospital.

“We're pleased with the Kennedy Campus,” Mitry said, and emphasized there were no plans to shutter the hospital.

The Kennedy Campus will still have an Emergency Department, diagnostics, laboratory services, outpatient rehabilitation, cardiology and support services, observation beds, outpatient surgical services, inpatient rehabilitation and the Behavioral Health Center, including a sleep lab, hospital management said via statement.

An ambulance will be on-site to transport acute care patients to the Sewickley location or Heritage Valley Beaver.

“We're trying to get the right things to the right places,” Mitry said.


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