COVID-19 System Updates

Premier Pulse     December 2020

Atrium Medical Center

1134192644By Andre Harris, MD, chief medical officer, Atrium Medical Center

The pandemic uncovered that Atrium Medical Center possesses a group of consummate professionals that strive to put safety and quality at the forefront. We have expanded our capacity for high-risk respiratory patients to 71 rooms. The leadership of Thomas Yunger, MD, Anuj Goyal, MD, and our Critical Care Team has been the foundation of our care of these critically ill patients. Credit also goes to our APRNs who allow us to provide care 24/365. In conjunction with administration, the Surgical Governance Board has moved surgeries with an overnight stay so that they align with daily bed needs. Our Cardiology team has moved toward same-day discharges of PCI patients, revamped pacemaker protocols, and rearranged cath lab scheduling to facilitate more efficient patient throughput. The orthopedic team has done their part with a same-day discharge of hip replacements. Atrium’s leadership and the dedication of our nursing staff have allowed us to weather the storm of bed shortages. Also, nursing has welcomed back LPNs to assist in providing extraordinary care for our patients. Employees have picked up multiple open shifts and contributed to the overall stability of AMC through Helping Hands. The emergency department staff has risen to the daily challenge of being the front-line providers with potential COVID-19 positive patients. Medics have been added to the ED team to broaden the depth of our care team. This has been accomplished while transitioning to the leadership of Miami Valley Emergency Services. Our team has shown that given a once-in-a-generation problem, we work together to provide a solution.

Miami Valley Hospital Campuses

1780674952By Roberto Colón, MD, system vice president of quality and safety, Premier Health; associate chief medical officer, Miami Valley Hospital

This year may be finally nearing an end but sadly, the pandemic is still ravaging countries across the globe. We are all presently going through the toughest part of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Fortunately, recent weeks have brought, at least to our region, a plateau in the number of COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization. No, this does not mean that we are seeing a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases, but rather, the rate of increase is slowing somewhat. Predictive models continue to show an expected further rise in cases peaking between late December and mid-January. Therefore, we continue to prepare for a further rise in cases seeking care within our hospitals. These preparations have included setting up certain areas to accommodate select patients in “B-beds” within rooms, refining of our labor pool resources, and establishing protocols for how various scheduled procedures can be rebalanced to ensure we can continue caring for patients that require care within the hospitals.

Now, less than a year since this disease first appeared in the United States, we have new reason for optimism as vaccines now begin to be deployed across the country. Additionally, new treatments have also become available. At several Premier Health locations, we now have the ability to treat high-risk patients with COVID-19 symptoms using monoclonal antibody therapies before they require hospital care, potentially altering the course of the disease for many of them.

We are not through this battle with COVID-19, but finally we have additional tools at our disposal that will hopefully help us all make a bigger impact in flattening the curve for good. To ensure we can succeed, we ALL must still adhere to the principles we have pushed this year: Mask at all times, maintain social distancing, and avoid social gatherings! Keep yourself and each other safe this holiday season so we can celebrate for years to come!

Upper Valley Medical Center

Kanagy_HS_350x350By Scott Kanagy, DO, MBA, chief medical officer, Upper Valley Medical Center

This pandemic has challenged all of us. In true Premier Health fashion, we have delivered on our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve and continue to be the health care system people choose in Southwest Ohio. Since our first surge in March, Upper Valley Medical Center has adapted in many ways and, in collaboration with the larger Premier Health system, continues to ensure we are providing the best care for our patients. UVMC has developed a surge plan that enables the entire second floor to have the capability to be a High-Risk Respiratory Unit, as well as continuing to have the ability to care for COVID patients in PCU and ICU. Additional telemetry capabilities are now in place on B Pod to help keep separate non-COVID patients needing telemetry.

In the event UVMC needs to further expand capacity due to a surge, additional hospital areas have been identified and plans have been made to staff these areas. Increased nursing plans include the use of additional agency nurses, hiring of temporary nursing staff/PCTs, and use of Helping Hands from UVMC and Premier System Support staff. Helping Hands staff are employees willing to be redeployed to help inpatient nurses. Additionally, nurses are being retrained to care for inpatients in areas they do not normally work. To expand staffing for providers, a list of external providers who can assist in a surge has been established and local providers who can expand their inpatient care have been contacted. Continuous ongoing evaluation of additional equipment needs including vents, IV pumps, and PPE occurs weekly. There has also been deployment of new PAPRs on Dec. 2.

Finally, there is ongoing assessment of our staff’s level of burnout and fatigue. We are working with the system to identify and communicate resources available for staff who need assistance in these areas. I appreciate and thank everyone for your compassion, flexibility, and partnership during this pandemic as we continue to care for our patients.

Premier Physician Network

1952516544By Joseph Allen, MD, primary care medical director, Premier Physician Network

Premier Physician Network is supporting our community throughout this COVID-19 pandemic on two equally critical fronts. In our hospitals, many of our PPN specialist providers remain on the front lines helping care for patients. Joining them now are numerous primary care providers and staff from our offices to help provide support through the Helping Hands program. They are covering many extra hospital shifts, in addition to keeping our PPN practices open full-time.

It is essential that PPN practices stay fully operational during this pandemic because providing timely follow-up care for discharged patients, along with necessary specialty and primary care for all patients, is the other critical response PPN is taking to help decompress pressures on our hospitals.

Back to the December 2020 issue of Premier Pulse

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