Penn State Health Monday said it is sending a letter of apology to 2,100 patients of the neurology practice at its medical center after an April 17 letter advised them to seek alternate care for their multiple sclerosis due to staffing challenges.
The health system said in its new letter, it is reassuring patients that staff and providers will support their care needs despite the staffing challenges specifically related to MS care. The letter apologies for the previous letter, which cited the departure of four MS neurology providers, two to retirement and two others to positions at organizations outside the region.
“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 department of neurology says in the new letter. “Our staff is committed to working with you and your family to make sure your care needs are met. In our haste to get you this information about the care we provide to you, we neglected our larger role of caring for you. For that, we want to say we are sorry. And we want to tell you what we are doing to make it right.”
Penn State Health mailed the new patient letter Monday.
To address MS patient needs in the short term, the health system said it has organized a team of providers to help patients with needs, such as medication monitoring and management, related lab or imaging tests and urgent appointments. Long-term, the health system aims to rebuild its MS neurology service’s capacity to continue as a primary caregiver for all patients seeking MS care from Penn State Health.
“This will take time, but the department is focused on a priority of future care,” the health system said in a news release.
Penn State Healthy also noted that the provider shortage is only affecting its MS neurology service, and not any other neurological or neurosurgical program.