Prowers Medical Center Board Updated on Covid Response/Supplies



Area residents have until the end of November to offer their comments on health care issues in the region, using the Community Health Needs Assessment questionnaire on the Prowers Medical Website. The survey takes only a few minutes, according to hospital Chief Executive Officer, Karen Bryant, who told the PMC board, the survey will be open until November 30th and to date, about 80 persons have responded. She explained the more persons who respond with their viewpoints on the medical needs of the community will aid in determining the hospital’s focus for the community in 2021.

A good portion of the meeting dealt with the hospital’s current and future response to COVID-19 outbreaks in light of the number of residents who were recently diagnosed with the virus, especially those residents of the Lamar Estates nursing home.

A representative for the hospital’s advisory group, QHR noted that the organization began stockpiling PPE supplies this past spring as the pandemic started to grow in the country. “We’re continuing to maintain supplies well into the first quarter of 2021 and are conducting an assessment of what materials are requested most often. We are receiving and delivering the PPEs on a daily basis,” he explained.

More supplies from other areas are also being brought into this corner of the state. Bryant noted that a branch of the Colorado Hospital Association recently delivered 2,000 cloth face masks to the hospital and the CHA is pro-active in rural areas for supplies, including a shipment to the Springfield hospital on an ‘Angel Flight’ airplane for wish list items such as gloves and medical procedural masks. She added that the delivery was free of charge to PMC.

The hospital staff was able to assist the nursing home with a gift of special boxes used for the disposal of medical waste, which, due to the Covid outbreak at Lamar Estates, had run low. “We have some of the boxes that were supplied to us during the Ebola outbreak several years ago. We confirmed they could be used in this instance and made them available to the nursing home staff,” she said, adding that the PMC staff also put together a gift basket for the nursing home staff as a measure of support with a mixture of well-wishes and some assorted gifts.

The board discussed how well prepared the hospital is regarding the number of beds allocated for pandemic patients. Bryant explained there are two beds for isolation, four swing beds and six acute care beds. She said if there is a Covid patient admitted, they are placed in a negative air pressure room in isolation to keep the virus from spreading throughout the hospital. Plans were made this spring to convert one side of the med-surge wing into negative air pressure rooms. The hospital improved on this practice using Covid Relief Funding to equip the operating room and the emergency department into permanent negative air areas. She said the hospital can handle four covid patients.

Dr. Ray added that there are now two covid patients at Prowers Medical Center, and staffing plays a role in how many patients can be admitted. He explained that after two, the hospital would look at transferring those patients into another facility. Dr. Ray also explained that the CDC provides guidelines on how many days a covid patient would have to remain in isolation and later be transferred to acute care, freeing beds for future covid patients.

Because of a holiday conflict with next month’s meeting date, the board decided to hold the next meeting in early December at a date to be announced later.

By Russ Baldwin


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