14:43 PM

For Pittsburgh native, transformation of NYC specialty hospital to treat Covid-19 patients just part of the job

Pittsburgh Business Times interviews HSS president and CEO, Louis A. Shapiro, who discusses the COVID-19 response efforts, including the transformation of the hospital to care for patients with the disease.

Mr. Shapiro explained that helping the community was not only in line with the mission of HSS, but an inspiration to witness the staff save lives in a time of national emergency. “It was a crisis of epic proportion. The staff uniformly rose to the occasion,” he cited. “It was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of.”

By the middle of March, HSS reduced patient volume by 92 percent and transformed from specialty orthopedic and rheumatology care to a comprehensive-care facility. Initial plans involved taking non-COVID-19 emergency medical care to relieve the stress on hospitals that were overloaded, freeing the other hospitals to provide only COVID-19 care. As COVID-19 cases rose, HSS made the decision to provide comprehensive COVID-19 care. Operating rooms were rebuilt to become an ICU for COVID-19 patients and their specialized needs, and patient rooms for orthopedic patients became medical/telemetry rooms for critical care, while also treating the most critical orthopedic patients safely. “I don’t think we went above and beyond. We did what we felt we needed to do,” noted Mr. Shapiro. “We didn’t feel it was socially, morally or ethically correct to sit here and (solely) take care of emergent orthopedic patients while this was going on.”

May 4 was the first day of what is a new normal, the gradual reopening of HSS. “I believe that we’ll proceed through phases in an orderly way. I believe that June will be different than May, September will be different than July, and I think in 2021, we’re looking forward to it being not only the beginning of the new year, but also a point in time when the new normal will be normal. It won’t be the old normal, but it’ll be a new normal,” concluded Mr. Shapiro.

Read the full article at Bizjournals.com/pittsburgh. This article also appeared in print on May 14, 2020.