Staffing, hospital bed shortages among top concerns of doctors due to COVID-19

KU Call
Posted at 8:04 AM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 14:30:33-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — Health professionals in the Kansas City area said Wednesday morning that staffing and hospital bed shortages were among their top concerns caused by COVID-19.

13 chief medical officers and infectious disease doctors from Missouri and Kansas discussed a wide variety of topic, including the current state of COVID-19 in Kansas City, during a news conference from the University of Kansas Health System.

Dr. James Stewart, a doctor in North Kansas City, says his hospital currently has 16 employees out right now because of COVID-19. Stewart also says as of Wednesday morning his hospital had seven patients in the emergency room waiting for beds.

Meanwhile, Kansas VA Medical Center says over the past month it has been running at 94% occupancy for the ICU.

The panel discussed that while the bed capacity has dropped from peak of pandemic last winter, it is still not back down to the previous bedline levels.

Doctors also talked about the potential impact COVID-19 will have in the fall. Many expect to see a surge of COVID-19 due to the cold weather, which could have a massive effect with on the hospitals simultaneously caring for patients with non-COVID-19 issues.

These issues have led to hospitals getting far ahead on winter schedules.

Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, a doctor who works with Lawrence Memorial Hospital, said she anticipates the increase to further exaggerate the staffing struggles.

"There’s a lot of shuffling, people moving to different positions now," Schrimsher said.

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