MHA Issues Statement on Hospital Capacity

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.    

MHA CEO Brian PetersAll Michigan hospitals have emergency response plans that include surge capacity procedures to address an influx of patients. To prepare for a surge, the MHA has advised Michigan hospitals to focus on three core areas: patient care, facilities and staff.

Revising patient care procedures can increase capacity in several areas. Reviewing and rescheduling elective procedures, while maintaining the safety and health of patients as a top priority, and utilizing virtual visits, when appropriate, for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related cases can increase capacity. Ensuring that patients are discharged on time and are prescribed any necessary medication at the time of discharge can also make an impact.

Capacity can also be increased by incorporating facility changes. Hospitals are reviewing triage practices with ambulatory services and testing protocols with public health departments and laboratories, to make sure only individuals requiring hospitalization are entering a facility. The MHA has released recommended guidelines for hospitals to implement visitor restrictions to help protect the safety of healthcare workers and patients. Hospitals are communicating across health systems and through medical partnerships to ensure sharing of supplies, if need be. Emergency plans also allow hospitals to convert portions of their hospital to infectious disease treatment and to utilize outdoor setups. Such setups limit exposure for both staff and patients, while allowing patients who may not require critical care to be treated.

Hospital staff also play a crucial role in expanding hospital capacity. Providing support infrastructure for hospital staff is vital, as due to school closures, many hospital staff must find appropriate childcare. While some facilities offer their own childcare to employees, regulatory efforts are being taken to accommodate healthcare providers who anticipate a large need for their staff. Other examples to implement include staff shifts to minimize staff that are potentially exposed to COVID-19 patients, extending shift lengths and appropriately compensating overtime and sick pay.

The efforts implemented across Michigan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 should be applauded. Moving forward, Michigan’s healthcare industry needs public help to continue to practice appropriate hygiene precautions as we work together to slow the anticipated spread of this disease.