NM hospitals detail how they are responding to health emergency | KOB 4
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NM hospitals detail how they are responding to health emergency

Patrick Hayes
Updated: March 25, 2020 05:19 PM
Created: March 25, 2020 03:19 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Hospitals in New Mexico are looking for ways to increase their capacity as the coronavirus spreads.

"The University of New Mexico Hospital – the state’s only Level I trauma center - is operating under its pandemic influenza plan and is prepared. As part of this plan, we are discussing different triage areas that can be set up in the event of a patient surge. We also have established a walk-up, 24/7 Respiratory Care Center located at the main UNM Hospital near the Emergency Department for COVID-19 testing," UNM Hospital spokesperson Mark Rudi said in a statement.

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Presbyterian, which has 453 beds, according to their website, wouldn't say how many beds are currently full. Instead, they provided KOB 4 with the following statement:

“Presbyterian has prepared extensively to handle a potential surge of patients due to COVID-19. Our commitment to the community is to use every resource possible to meet the care needs of our friends, families and neighbors. In the Albuquerque metro area, Presbyterian can double ICU capacity by cancelling elective surgical cases and flexing some clinical positions, such as anesthesiologists, to expand our critical care workforce. In addition, we could repurpose procedure recovery areas and operating suites and expand the telehealth options already widely used throughout our system. We can also make similar capacity increases in our general medical units. Beyond those measures, in an even more emergent situation, we can work with other health systems to further expand ICU capacity through shared staffing and resources.” Jason Mitchell, M.D., chief medical officer at Pres.

A spokesperson for Lovelace said they have the ability to expand their ICU.

“We are collaborating with local hospitals, state officials and the New Mexico Department of Health to create a city-wide triage plan to appropriately place patients in facilities to best accommodate their needed level of care. Lovelace Health System hospitals have a combined disaster plan, which allows the expansion of critical care beds as needed. The Lovelace Medical Center campus has a 50 bed intensive care unit. If needed, we can expand to 90 critical care beds by repurposing other hospital units as needed. We would also repurpose staff from other areas to help cover critical care patients, as well as ask physicians with similar skill sets (such as anesthesiologists) to cover these critically ill patients. We have an alternative triage area and emergency room set aside for respiratory patients in order to avoid contact with other patients. For rural New Mexico hospitals, they can contact our 24/7 One Call services, where we help coordinate higher level of care transports into our hospitals in Albuquerque.” Whitney Marquez, communications manager for Lovelace Health System


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