Schreiber Center will need ‘significant community support’ to stay open

Ioannis Pashakis//March 17, 2020

Schreiber Center will need ‘significant community support’ to stay open

Ioannis Pashakis//March 17, 2020

Zach Groff works on climbing and balance during a session with Jesse Krueger, an occupational therapist at Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development in Lancaster. – SUBMITTED

Relying on Medicaid reimbursements and fundraising to keep the lights on, Lancaster County-based Schreiber Center for Pediatrics has a difficult path ahead of it, depending on when it can reopen to patients.

The East Hempfield Township pediatric physical therapy clinic closed on Tuesday following orders from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for the state’s non-essential stores to close for two weeks.

While Schreiber could be considered essential, the clinic decided to follow through with the state’s orders during the temporary window, said James DeBord, president of Schreiber.

“Because we serve so many medically fragile children and because of general concern and those of us seeking compliance with CDC guidelines, even if we had remained open we were seeing cancelation rates upwards of 60-70%,” he said. “The model can’t work with only 3 out of every 10 children showing up.”

Schreiber provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services to kids with disabilities, developmental delays and injuries.

This year, the nonprofit had an operating budget of $5.1 million—$2 million raised from community funding and $3 million from program revenue, primarily from Medicaid reimbursements.

The reimbursements are already some of the lowest in the health care industry with Schreiber losing $65 on average for every hour of service, but without that revenue, DeBord said the clinic will be looking at “cataclysmic” losses.

The clinic also expects to take a hit on its fundraising efforts after it was forced to postpone its annual Schreiber Gala, Schreiber’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

Depending on the time it takes to reopen, the financial losses from the closure could be impossible to recover from, said Dan Fink, director of marketing and public relations for Schreiber.

“Our next steps will be an all-out effort to raise money – not just to balance our budget, but to remain in existence,” Fink said. “This isn’t about covering the dollars we lost from the Gala or covering a shortfall. We will need significant community support to stay open.”

On the patient end, Schreiber sees approximately 500 children a week on average, many of which go on to receive multiple services at the clinic. DeBord said that because of the closure, many kids who were on the verge of a breakthrough with their therapists could regress because they can’t come into therapy.

Schreiber could alleviate the problem by connecting patients with its 60 therapists through telehealth conferencing, but DeBord said that the state would need to pass legislature to allow private insurers and Medicaid to cover telehealth for therapy services.

The clinic previously announced last December that it would be expanding its East Hempfield Township facility by 20,000 square feet, but will be postponing the expansion until further notice.