Sharon Hospital FAQs
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to SharonHospital@NuvanceHealth.org
What is happening at Sharon Hospital?
In fall 2021, Sharon Hospital announced a growth-based plan to adapt to a changing healthcare landscape, which is putting rural and community hospitals across the country at risk. This plan includes:
- Maintaining Sharon Hospital’s Emergency department, which is open 24/7/365, providing the same services it always has.
- Expanding our region’s access to primary, behavioral health, and specialty care.
- Consolidating the essential care currently offered in our ICU into new Progressive Care Unit, where we will continue serving nearly all the critically ill patients we serve today, pending approval from Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS).
- Phasing out Labor & Delivery services, pending approval from OHS. While this is a difficult decision, we cannot maintain an underused Labor & Delivery while also ensuring Sharon Hospital’s long-term strength in serving the community.
Will there be changes to Sharon Hospital’s Emergency Department?There will be no changes to our Emergency Department (ED). Our ED will continue providing the same services it always has, operating 24/7/365.
What is the plan for Sharon Hospital’s current Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the proposed PCU?As part of Sharon Hospital’s growth-based transformation plan to continue meeting the needs of our community into the future, the hospital is proposing to centralize the essential care currently offered in our ICU into a new Progressive Care Unit.
This plan is currently pending approval from Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS). If approved, we will continue offering critical care services with the same staff, in a centralized location within the hospital alongside medical-surgical services.
What care will be offered in the new PCU?The proposed Progressive Care Unit will allow Sharon Hospital to continue delivering the same level of care we provide today, including oxygen, telemetry, and ventilator capabilities.
Why are you planning to phase out Labor & Delivery?Over the past ten years, Sharon Hospital has performed fewer than one delivery per day on average, and at times has gone multiple days without a single birth in a fully staffed unit. If Sharon Hospital is going to remain sustainable and continue to serve our patients into the future, we know we cannot maintain an underused Labor & Delivery unit.
This was an incredibly difficult decision. We understand how meaningful these services have been to our community over the years. However, closing this unit will allow us to invest in other services that will help Sharon Hospital remain strong and continue serving our community.
Where will women in our area give birth in the future?Deciding where to deliver is a choice each woman should make with the help and guidance of her physician, care team, family, and anyone else she chooses to consult.
The Nuvance Health system and our region have several exceptional facilities where delivering mothers will receive compassionate, high-quality care. In fact, Danbury Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center are all Nuvance Health facilities. This means that as Nuvance Health continues its work to improve coordination in women’s healthcare system-wide, Sharon Hospital patients will see continuity in their primary, specialty, and pre- and post-natal care without transferring their records to an external system.
What will happen to pregnant women in our community who may go into labor and are unable to make it to other facilities on time?Based on data reviewed from similar Labor & Delivery closures in rural communities, we do not expect that we will need to perform deliveries in our Emergency Department.
Nevertheless, we will ensure our teams, in partnership with local EMS personnel, are prepared for any emergency, particularly those affecting pregnant women in our community.
Why did you announce your plans to close Labor & Delivery and consolidate critical care services prior to approval from Office of Health Strategy (OHS)?
After our thorough strategic planning process, it was clear that Sharon Hospital would have to transform to remain a vibrant part of the community. Where possible, we included staff members in the decision-making process – the determination to move forward with the proposed PCU was made by a collaborative workgroup of clinicians from all levels.
Sharon Hospital leadership is dedicated to being fully transparent with our staff and community, and ultimately, we made the decision to let our community members know our potential plans as a recognition of this commitment – always with the reminder that both decisions are pending state approval.
We are fully cooperating with Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS) in filing our Certificate of Need (CON) applications. The first step of the CON process requires hospitals to submit a public notice in the local paper. Once that notice has been published for three consecutive days, the hospital has 90 days to submit its CON application, and the application review process can take approximately one year. We therefore sought to notify staff and the community directly sufficiently in advance, to enable safe transition planning for providers and families in the community.
How has your financial data been vetted or audited for accuracy?Our financial data is closely reviewed by one of the leading financial firms in the United States. It then undergoes a rigorous review process from the state of Connecticut. Nuvance Health uses this financial data for its reports internally and to the community.
What is the benefit of investing in primary and ambulatory care, and what does this mean for our community?Enhancing our primary care and ambulatory services will allow us to detect, monitor, and treat health issues earlier, thus better serving our patients and community. This enhancement will improve patient outcomes by reducing the need for more complex, inpatient care or visits to the emergency department.
Data shows a need for additional primary care providers in Sharon and the surrounding area. We also know there is a need for outpatient services to identify and treat chronic diseases—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—which are responsible for 70 percent of deaths in the US and can often be effectively managed through early detection and intervention.
By investing in additional primary care providers and increasing access to ambulatory services, Sharon Hospital can improve the overall health of our population, while reserving the inpatient setting for more severe patient concerns.
What is the benefit of being part of the Nuvance Health system?
As part of Nuvance Health, Sharon Hospital clinicians can easily refer patients in need of services not offered at our hospital to high-quality specialists within the system. This makes it simple to access specialty and tertiary services not offered in most community settings. Once treated, those same community members are returned to their community to receive services in Sharon.
We saw an example of this during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when critically ill patients were stabilized at Sharon Hospital and transferred to tertiary care at another Nuvance Health facility. In this case, being part of Nuvance Health allowed Sharon Hospital to maximize the care it could offer while keeping patients close to home.
There are also financial advantages to being part of the Nuvance Health system. Over the past three years, Nuvance Health has invested $14.5 million in Sharon Hospital. This has included technology advancements such as a new MRI machine and telehealth systems, as well as facility upgrades and renovations. The system will continue investing in Sharon Hospital’s vibrant future.
What data was considered in the decision-making process?
This transformation plan was the result of a thoughtful and deliberate planning process, during which we considered a wide variety of data. The information reviewed includes but is not limited to:
- An internal analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the future
- National and regional trends for community and rural hospitals
- Regional demographic trends
- An independent analysis from Stroudwater Associates—a leading consultant group for rural and community health systems nationwide—commissioned in partnership with the Foundation for Community Health
- Qualitative feedback, including conversations from past community forums and planning discussions with trusted representatives of our staff and community
You can review the Stroudwater Report Executive Summary here.