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MVHS submits its COVID-19 surge plan, suspends some services

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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UTICA, N.Y. — Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) has submitted its required surge plan for expanded hospital capacity to the state, while suspending some services in response to the coronavirus emergency.

Darlene Stromstad, president and CEO of MVHS, and Dr. Kent Hall, chief physician executive, on Wednesday provided an update on the coronavirus plans at MVHS.

Surge plan

MVHS is “actively preparing for a surge in patient volumes” and has developed a surge plan, as required by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

This plan, submitted to the NYSDOH Tuesday, outlines how MVHS will surge St. Luke’s to 100 percent of its current census and St. Elizabeth to 75 percent of its current census.

This plan will add a total of 314 additional beds to the system. It also outlines the use of each clinical unit in the health system in various stages of surge (green, yellow, red and black) and the staffing plan associated with those units.

In conjunction with the surge plan, MVHS is developing a staff-training plan, which will outline the reallocation of staff from areas whose services “are being suspended at this time.”

Part of the surge plan is the recruitment of physicians, nurses, and other health-care specialists, such as respiratory therapists who have either retired in the past few years or moved to other facilities in the community. Anyone in these areas looking to have their name added to the MVHS list of staffing resources, can call (315) 624-5607.

Suspending services

MVHS has “temporarily suspended” services in areas that include its sleep center, cardiac rehabilitation, and audiology.

The decision is in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to stop all elective procedures as the state deals with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.

At the same time, medical imaging, surgical services, and pulmonary function testing remain available but “services are limited,” MVHS noted.

St. Elizabeth, St. Luke’s, and Faxton campus draw stations are closed to public until further notice but the laboratory for processing samples is still open.

In addition, the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Laboratory Patient Service Center is also shuttered.

In another effort to combat the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, the MVHS Medical Group is consolidating offices and will begin providing over-the-phone consultations and video consultations.

Patients looking for appointments should still call their primary care provider’s office and they will be directed to the appropriate person to schedule an appointment.

The MVHS Medical Group says it will do its best to connect patients with their primary-care provider, but “this may not be possible all the time.”

Patients will be scheduled for an over-the-phone consultation, a video consultation, or a face-to-face visit depending on the needs of the patient.

The video consultations begin the week of March 30, MVHS noted.

Nonessential staff

MVHS had previously announced that it responded to Cuomo’s mandate that all nonessential staff not come to work by implementing a 30-day workforce plan to provide employees with authorized personnel leave. The goal of this plan is to keep people whole financially by letting them use paid time off and extended sick leave banks as well as keeping their health insurance.

“This was done while also protecting the resources of MVHS,” the organization said.

PPE needed

MVHS says it is in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. The health system is asking those who are willing to help to make cloth masks that can be used by those not providing direct patient care.

Sewing instructions can be found at this website: mvhealthsystem.org/coronavirus.

Those looking to make a PPE donation should call (315) 624-5574 for more information.

 

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