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Hospital CEOS talk about PPE supplies

Published: Dec. 27, 2020 at 3:45 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Cases of COVID-19 in the state continue to rise, putting a strain on supplies. Our Kelly O’Mara now continues her discussion with the four hospital CEOs to see how their supplies are holding up.

“PPE supplies. Um, um, we’ve been at this a long time now we’re closing in on 10 months. And, um, and what we’ve found at least in Holton is, um, we’ve been able to maintain, we’ve gotten, um, a supply level that we’re, um, only. Modestly comfortable with, to be quite honest. Uh, but it’s a lot better than it was in March, April and may. When we were struggling to get a consistent supply of PPE through the doors, um, that’s improved a lot. And, um, what we have is a hotspot that’ll move, uh, from. From item to item, it may be gowns, um, for a period of time followed by gloves, fought, you know, um, in 95 masks have been historically difficult to get starting to see us, uh, a stream of N 95 masks now coming in. Um, so it’s, it’s moving from supply item to supply item, but, um, All in all, I think, uh, testing supplies and, uh, with the exception of, um, the PCR testing, um, those, those are in short supply, um, pretty much across the board, but, um, PPE, uh, we’re, we’re doing better. And, uh, the stream is sufficient to keep up with the demand at this point for us.” Shawn Anderson, CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital, said.

“The same with us. Um, I agree with Shawn that, you know, we’ve seen significant improvements in receiving PPE. Um, but it’s never enough if it’s not protecting our staff who are doing this every day. So we want to make sure that we have well stocked supply for a number of months to go cause we will be wearing, uh, protective equipment for some time. The one item though that, uh, has been a challenge and we continue working with a vendor is the testing supplies for our PCR machines.” Kris Doody, CEO of Cary Medical Center, said.

Okay. And, um, with the recent surge in cases and the backlog on testing, I know, um, People have to be tested if they plan to come to the hospital for specific, um, reasons, allergy testing or surgery or that kind of thing. And, um, with the recent surge in cases and the backlog on testing, I know, um, People have to be tested if they plan to come to the hospital for specific, um, reasons, allergy testing or surgery or that kind of thing. Are you considering at this time, cutting back on some of the non-essential surgeries again, um, to cut down on some of the tests required or at this point, are you thinking you’re all set for now?

“So we talk about that on a regular basis. Um, is there something that we have to do differently? Is there going to be a surge? Are there going to be more inpatient? So it’s always, uh, an, an item on, on our agenda. Um, we talk about make sure making sure our employees are protected. We just recently changed the attire for, um, a number of, of our staff. That they’re wearing a full PPE in certain circumstances, there were an N 95 in certain circumstances to make sure that our staff are protected, even though the, you know, our patients are tested prior to these procedures, we want to make sure that the staff are protected. In fact, at Pines, we just, we just implemented our staff who are seeing, um, taking care of patients doing direct patient care. We’re in N95s to make sure they’re protected. So that’s, uh, that’s ongoing conversation. We have not slowed down, uh, this week because it is Christmas. And usually the volume drops off a bit. And as well as next week, our volume is down, but it is on the agenda and we have conversation about it frequently.” Kris said.

“Yeah, we, um, here at Northern Maine, our, our surgeons are real troopers and our staff to protecting everybody. But one of the things that’s different than it was back in may is that we can test out. So a lot of us are testing prior to surgery. We were, uh, we’re doing a lot better, um, tracing of anybody, right? A close contact. We’re doing a lot more investigation prior to surgery. There’s things that we were doing that we couldn’t do back in, uh, in, uh, March, April, may. So we had to stop electives now.

And we learned from that a lot of people should not have had their elective surgeries, postponed, uh, and either got sicker or, uh, really needed something more invasive later. But now I believe, um, based on our surgeons and how we are dealing with it, we’re making people a lot safer, um, by testing and keeping up on PPE. We didn’t have a PPE back then. Uh, so we had to slow down a lot of, um, of, uh, procedures just because we didn’t have enough to. Make sure that everybody was shaved, but we’re in a different place now. " Peter Sirois, President and CEO of Northern Maine Medical Center, said.

“No, we have no plans to, uh, to reduce services things. We’ve learned a lot coming out of the, the, uh, um, Our recovery taught us a great deal as we started to open our ORs up again. And, uh, we did a lot, we’ve done a lot of facility changes to the ORs to get room exchange, time shorter and so forth. So yeah, between the lessons we learned in that process and also the availability of PPE, I think we can continue to do, uh, provide the services. Tele health is a big help as well.” Greg LaFrancois, President of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, said.

“Yeah, much the same in Houlton. Um, it, this is really these decisions are decisions that are made between, uh, the physician or, or an allied health professional and their patient. Uh, they, the two together know best how best to move forward with necessary things, uh, for, for patients. So, uh, procedures are moving forward, um, cautiously, um, and it will continue to do that where we’re open for business and ready to take care of all patients.” Shawn said.

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