IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Staff Shortage Forces Hospital to Decrease Bed Capacity

Some elective procedures in surgery, cardiology and interventional radiology will be temporarily stopped. Cancer-related procedures, emergency services and ambulatory surgery sites will not be affected.

Summa health.jpg
After two years of construction, Summa Health System’s 20 million addition to Summa Akron City Hospital will open for patients later this month.
Robin Goist/cleveland.com
(TNS) - Akron’s Summa Health System announced plans Monday to decrease its bed capacity by more than 20% at its Akron, (Ohio) and Barberton campuses, due to staffing shortages and increased demand for healthcare services.

Some elective procedures in surgery, cardiology and interventional radiology will be temporarily stopped, Summa said in a memo sent to employees Monday. Cancer-related procedures, emergency services and ambulatory surgery sites will not be affected.

Summa is also implementing changes to make hospital stays shorter, and keep patients out of the emergency room by offering more care in doctor offices, thus freeing hospital beds.

“We’re going to have to change the way we deliver care because we don’t have the staffing to continue the historical models that we used,” said Dr. Mike Hughes, president of Summa’s Barberton campus.

The number of available beds on the Akron Campus will drop from 439 to approximately 350, while available beds on the Barberton Campus will decrease from 112 to approximately 80, Summa said.

The changes are effective immediately. The target date to reach the 20% reduction in available beds is Sunday, Oct. 24.

Staffing shortages affecting U.S. hospitals predate the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to last long after the pandemic is over, said Dr. Dave Custodio, president of Summa’s Akron City and St. Thomas campuses. Burnout has caused many caregivers to leave the field, and not enough new caregivers are entering the field.

The health system realized that it needed to do things differently, to manage this crisis during the current surge and afterwards, Custodio said.

Across the health system — including caregivers and non-caregivers — there is a 10% vacancy rate in staff positions, Custodio said.

Few Summa employees have quit because of the mask mandate that Summa announced in August, Custodio said, although he did not give exact numbers.

Summa sees its response to the staffing shortage as a chance to redesign how the hospital system operates.

“This is an opportunity for us to accelerate change, not just at Summa but across the country, in the way that we take care of patients,” Custodio said.

Related coverage

Clinic reports highest number of COVID-19 patients since last winter, and predicts worst is yet to come

Clinic outlines options for people wanting COVID-19 tests

CDC OKs Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster; allergic reactions to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are rare and mild: Coronavirus update for Sept. 24

MetroHealth, CWRU and other Ohio hospitals in hunt for new COVID-19 treatments

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit cleveland.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Tags:

Response
Special Projects
Sponsored Articles