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May 01, 2018

Pennsylvania hospital apologizes for telling patients to get care somewhere else

Hospitals Multiple Sclerosis
Stock_Carroll - Hospital ER Gurney Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A gurney in a hospital's Emergency Department.

Penn State Health is saying sorry to patients who were told earlier this month to go elsewhere to get the care they need.

The hospital system said Monday it's sending apology letters to 2,100 neurology patients at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, promising that they can attend to their needs despite staffing challenges specifically related to multiple sclerosis care.

The apology letters are a response to letters sent to those same patients on April 17 suggesting they seek care for their multiple sclerosis at different hospitals.

According to Penn State Health, the initial letter cited the retirement of two physicians and the loss of two others who left the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for new positions outside the region.

In the apology, Penn State Health blamed the initial letters on "haste," stating that because they wanted to get the information to the patients quickly they "neglected our larger role of caring for you."

Penn State Health said the staffing challenges still remain, but they have put together a team of physicians to care for MS patients in the short term and are looking to "rebuild" the ability to treat MS patients in the long term.

"We should have assured you that despite these staffing challenges, our practice remains open to you — whether you are an MS patient or are being seen for some other neurological concern," the apology letter reads. "Our staff is committed to working with you and your family to make sure your care needs are met."