20 Mar Preparation Positions Olympic Medical Center Well to Respond to COVID-19
PORT ANGELES (March 20, 2020) – Every morning at Olympic Medical Center, a core team of administrators, clinicians, nursing leaders, operations staff, infection prevention personnel and other support personnel gather to plan, implement and respond to the issue of the day: COVID-19.
Since March 2, Olympic Medical Center has been operating under an External Triage – allowing the organization to focus on COVID-19 response and to be nimble in a public health emergency that is changing on a daily basis.
“Olympic Medical’s emergency preparedness team has been working with hospital and clinic personnel for years to plan for the unexpected and to allow us to act swiftly in the face of an unknown crisis,” says Eric Lewis, chief executive officer. “We are doing the right things and are fully engaged in the coronavirus response in Clallam County.”
Olympic Medical Center operates 67 beds, with 10 intensive care unit (ICU) beds set up. “Standard bed configuration is only part of the story: hospital beds can be configured differently based on need. ICU beds, as an example, can be expanded relatively quickly to other areas of the hospital,” says Lewis. The hospital is also readily equipped with ventilators, with nine traditional bedside ventilators and at least 35 emergency ventilators.
Olympic Medical Center has a long-standing emergency preparedness team. Supply chain, pharmaceutical availability, staffing needs, partnerships with community officials, communications, environmental services, plant operations, and more are all collaborate with clinical teams to understand the needs of a particular emergency – even those emergencies you can’t predict, such as COVID-19.
“We are the most valuable health care asset in our community right now and the weight of this is not lost on our staff,” says Lewis. “But we are poised to deliver safe, quality health care to all our patients – COVID-19 positive, heart attack victims, or people with broken bones. We don’t know how much the coronavirus will hit our community, but whatever happens our staff will handle it with professionalism and clinical excellence. I am very confident of that fact.”
Lewis adds that Olympic Medical Center has excellent staff capabilities, is financially strong, and thanks to emergency preparedness planning, has personal protective equipment, respirators and other supplies ready to go. “Olympic Medical Center is ready to do its part to be a place of healing,” says Lewis. “We need the federal and state governments to keep doing their parts by getting Clallam County the supplies it needs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, provide emergency funding and regulatory relief, and for community members to follow evidence-based guidelines to keep themselves safe.”
Olympic Medical Center collaborates fully with Clallam County Health and Human Services and Washington State Department of Health guidelines and directives. “Each day our incident command team meets to tackle new objectives related to COVID-19 and we will continue to rapidly institute practices that keep patients, staff and community members safe and well,” adds Lewis.