U of U Hospital is accepting 500 surgeries. Now it is bringing in the army to help.

The Navy medical team will help University Hospital ease its backlog of delayed surgeries during the pandemic.

(Erin Alberty | The Salt Lake Tribune) A US Navy medical team enters the University of Utah Hospital on March 2, 2022. The team will help hospital staff clear a backlog of approximately 500 surgeries that have been canceled delay during the coronavirus pandemic.

With a backlog of about 500 surgeries that have been delayed during the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Utah Hospital is dispatching a US Navy medical team to help catch up.

“We will be able to open hospital beds that have been closed due to staffing,” said Dr Michael Good, hospital CEO. “We are definitely not going back to normal, but we are trying to change that and move in that direction. Our colleagues from the Navy help us accelerate that pivot, that transition. ”

The Navy has deployed about 20 medical personnel, including doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and administrators, Good said.

The U. has delayed ongoing surgeries during the pandemic to care for a large number of COVID-19 patients with a shrinking staff. Sarah Sherer, head of human resources, said University Health, with about 14,000 employees, has more than a thousand vacancies. That’s about double the number of vacancies the health system typically listed before the pandemic.

And in the rise of the highly contagious omicron variant in January, Hundreds of employees can’t work because they themselves were sick.

That’s when hospitals delay most pending surgeries, Good said. He noted that time-sensitive procedures are still in progress. So, for example, doctors would perform an operation to remove the cancer, but subsequent reconstructive surgery would be delayed. Doctors also delay procedures like back surgery and surgery to improve circulation, says Good.

“Those are the things that when the hospital had too many COVID patients and due to lack of staff, we had to delay.

The Navy medical team will stay for about 30 days — which may not be enough time to completely clear the backlog, Good said, but “I think we’re off to a good start.”

Although hospital management has said throughout the pandemic that staff are overwhelmed – and in some cases quit without notice – staff shortages become especially severe during the omicron growth period.

“Actually, it’s been two months since we really thought we needed help,” says Good.

As health care providers across the state struggle to reinstate employees who have left during the pandemic, state agencies are looking at efforts in other states to increase training. military medical care – similar to the short-term certified nursing training that Utah National Guard members received prior to deployment to St. George to support hospital and nursing home staff a few weeks ago.

That could help providers recover in the short term, “and also have a deeper base for future needs,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/03/02/u-u-hospital-is-catching/ U of U Hospital is accepting 500 surgeries. Now it is bringing in the army to help.

Joel McCord

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