MCH opened its Incident Command process on Feb 26th and has been planning for weeks in areas such as Logistics, Supplies, Safety, Resource Planning, and Surge Capacity.
The purpose of the surge plan is to prepare MCH employees for an influx of patients with COVID-19. Furthermore, this plan will establish triggers for different phases of the plan that will include staffing and supply requirements for each phase. Postponing non-essential surgeries and procedures, limiting visitors and access to the facility, setting up specific respiratory clinics for adults and pediatrics were all part of the initial phase of the Surge Plan. These actions have freed up capacity at the hospital. MCH is normally a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital and the surge plan has increased total beds to 40. COVID-19 patients who are admitted to MCH will be cared for in a dedicated area equipped with ventilators when needed. Ultimately the plan includes post discharge care for patients including providing telemedicine support, coordinating with Home Health Care, and connecting patients with other community resources. The phases of the plan roll out depending on the number of patients who are in the facility and those who are presenting for care.
“MCH has repurposed sections of the hospital to add beds and care for patients with COVID-19 or other illnesses. Managing infectious disease is part of everyday business for a hospital. COVID-19 may present us with a volume of patients that we don’t normally see, but our hospital is ready. We are working with the Department of Public Health and the other hospitals in the state to best coordinate our resources.” Cyndee McGuire, President and CEO
In conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services and with assistance from the National Guard, an Alternative Care Site is being planned to further support potential surge at Keene State College. The kind of care most likely to be provided at this site will be care to patients who do not have to be hospitalized in an acute setting, or care of those who are post discharge from an acute care setting. MCH is working with Cheshire Medical Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene along with other community organizations to staff and support the alternate care site.