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CHI CEO updates on capacity, surgeries and visitors

Posted at 12:01 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 18:51:40-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Tuesday, Dr. Cliff Robertson, MD, CEO, CHI Health, hosted a zoom meeting to discuss hospital capacity, non-urgent surgery cutbacks visit restrictions and more.

Yesterday, CHI and other hospitals in the area made the announcement that some procedures would be postponed or canceled to maintain bed capacity for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

Robertson said the hospital has and will continue to make decisions on which surgeries are subject to rescheduling on a case-by-case basis.

Patients undergoing surgery that may cause them to need extended hospital care or a possible stay in the ICU, may get their procedures postponed. Critical surgeries are not being postponed.

Dr. Robertson added that it’s unlikely that all of the beds will fill with patients, saying CHI has the ability to scale back procedures if needed to increase space. He said CHI has the physical capacity to hold more patients.

"We believe that we could go from about 1100 beds to almost 1000 more, up to 2000 just in CHI Health alone. That's how much physical capacity we have," Robertson said.

He said the issue would be staffing.

Some traveling nurses arrived in the last half of October and more are expected to arrive over the next few weeks. The health system also has the ability to move physicians, nurses, etc. between communities and hospitals if needed.

Not only do they need more health care workers, he worries they're experiencing burn out.

"Just the general public is is maybe tired of the impact this virus has had on our life, I know our, our caregivers are absolutely tired," Robertson said.

When it comes to visitors, CHI will be implementing additional restrictions starting Wednesday.

Patients hospitalized at CHI Health facilities will only be allowed visits from one healthy adult support person per day. CHI Health classifies an "adult support person" as someone designated by the patient to be there to help with their care needs.

Social visiting will not be allowed.

Support persons must wear a mask throughout their visit, including time spent in patient rooms.

See more restrictions from CHI Health below:

  • Visiting hours for support persons will be limited to 7:30 am to 9 pm for all hospitalized patients except maternity, pediatrics, end-of-life and certain other special circumstances identified by the staff.
  • Emergency Departments, surgery/procedure areas, outpatient diagnostics and clinic/ambulatory settings will continue to allow one health adult support person during regular business hours.
  • If a surgery or other procedure is scheduled to begin before 7:30 am, one healthy adult support person will be allowed early entrance to accompany the patient.

When talking about the visitor policy change, Robertson pointed to recent test results performed by CHI which he said neared a 30 percent positivity rate.

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