by Guy Page
In response to staffing and other challenges, the UVM Medical Center (UVMMC) is “limiting surgical procedures to those with the most urgent clinical need,” President and CEO Dr. John Brumstead said in a letter yesterday to UVMMC employees.
UVMMC and Central Vermont Medical Center also will increase ICU and Covid-19 bed capacity, Brumstead said. He cites the following reasons for these “temporary measures”:
- Increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations
- High patient census with high acuity – i.e. more and sicker patients than usual
- Limited bed capacity
- Staffing challenges
- Unknown impact of Omicron variant of Covid-19
A press release covering the same topic was published yesterday. The letter was forwarded to Vermont Daily Chronicle by a UVMMC employee. With minor excerpts, it appears below.
“We are increasing intensive-care and COVID-19 bed capacity at UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center; we are limiting surgical procedures to those with the most urgent clinical need at UVMMC; and we are evaluating the impact of new elective-procedure guidance in New York State on our facilities there.
“These are difficult decisions to make and to hear, as there will be impacts for our patients and for our providers and staff, some of whom will be redeployed to support new bed capacity. But these temporary measures are necessary to maintain access to emergency and acute care for our communities in Vermont and Northern New York, and to be ready if conditions change further. In addition to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we continue to see high patient census with high acuity; limited bed capacity; and staffing challenges. Additionally, the impact of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 is unclear at this point. We are not alone: Hospitals across the country are dealing with these same issues, and having to take similar measures.
“This may feel similar to the steps we took early in the pandemic, but it’s important to remember that this is not the same situation. We know a lot more about COVID-19, in terms of testing, treatment and slowing the spread. Widespread vaccination also has blunted the impact of this illness. These continue to be difficult and intensely challenging times, but we have the knowledge and the resources to respond swiftly and effectively.
“I know there will be a lot of questions based on today’s announcements, and we don’t have all the answers at this moment. Those who are impacted will be hearing more from your leadership in the coming days and weeks. Thank you for everything you do: By working together, both within our health system and with partners outside our organization, we’ll get through this – together.”
John R. Brumsted, MD
President and CEO, The University of Vermont Health Network