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CRMC At “Licensed Capacity” Dealing With Higher Patient Volume

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
CRMC At “Licensed Capacity” Dealing With Higher Patient Volume

Cookeville Regional Medical Center reached licensed capacity as of Tuesday morning.

Chief Nursing Officer Scott Lethi said that the hospital had to get creative with its overflow patients by maximizing resources.

“You know we need staff to come in and work extra to take care of higher volumes,” Lethi said. “Our census is higher than it was a year ago. But as Dr. Buchanan mentioned those that we’re seeing that are coming are sicker and with the delay in care from COVID, even the non-COVID patients are seeing a higher acuity.”

Dr. Ernest Buchanan said that in his experience, vaccinated patients who have COVID now compared to the first surge are much milder than non-vaccinated COVID patients. CEO Paul Korth said that the hospital has been admitting very few patients who have received a vaccine.

In addition to lack of space, Korth said that the hospital is currently experiencing a shortage of ventilators. He said it will be renting more as it prepares to experience this crisis again.

Earlier this week Korth was one of ten leaders of middle Tennessee hospitals who united in a collaborative letter encouraging their communities to receive the vaccine.

“So that was done through the Tennessee Hospital Association which had researched and developed and put together this letter that several of us in middle Tennesse have elected to send out,” Korth said. “It’s just to continue to encourage individuals in the community to get vaccinated. I did a radio spot yesterday that will be coming on the radio here shortly encouraging individuals basically to get vaccinated. If they have questions please contact their primary care providers and talk to the primary care providers about these questions. As you probably know yesterday the Pfizer vaccine got final approval from the (FDA) so that’s out there and available now with a lot of research.”

Lethi said that currently, the hospital doing its best to maintain full services for what it can do. He said from a census standpoint they are bumping up licensure for total volume, and have had to open some more adjunct areas to take care of patients with higher acuity.


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