Hospital leaders call on reinstated emergency orders to address 'COVID crisis'

COVID hospital
Posted at 5:06 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 11:48:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have some hospital leaders calling on renewed emergency health orders.

The University of Kansas Health System held a conference call Wednesday morning with hospital leaders in Missouri and Kansas.

"We want to open more testing. We can't get the staff to do it. It's just extremely frustrating when all you want to do is the best for your community and you don't have the resources to do it," said Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, an infectious diseases physician at LMH Health and deputy public health officer for Douglas County.

The pandemic prompted emergency health orders in Kansas and Missouri which have now expired or been revoked.

"I don't know what to do without help from the state in the form of an emergency declaration," Schrimsher said.

Gov. Mike Parson allowed Missouri's state of emergency to expire on December 31st.

In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly rescinded seven pandemic orders in the Summer of 2021.

Currently, some doctors are calling the rising infections and hospitalizations a "COVID crisis."

A spokesperson for Governor Kelly said she and her staff are in communication with health care leaders to determine actions to alleviate issues at Kansas hospitals.

"The Governor is reviewing both short-term measures that can be implemented, as well as longer-term solutions that will require partnership with the legislature," a spokesperson for Governor Kelly said.

A spokesperson for Governor Parson said he had no intention to declare a state of emergency.

“At this time, Governor Parson is not reinstating a new state of emergency," the spokesperson said.

Emergency orders could vary state to state, but could help hospitals in managing the pandemic.

"Really providing some flexibility to make sure we can continue to provide patient care in the best way possible," explained Cindy Samuelson with the Kansas Hospital Association.

Samuelson also said it is important for the association to be flexible in how it uses its staff.

"If you need to do a testing and you need to swab individuals to find out if they have COVID, making sure you have the right individuals doing that job So a medical provider, but not the staff nurse that can be at the bed side," she said.

Samuelson explained the association is working with elected leaders to come up with solutions that work for hospitals in the state.