Due to a significant increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Luminis Health is declaring contingency protocol at both its hospitals – Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center and Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center.
Since December 1, the healthcare system has seen a 325% increase in treating admitted patients with COVID-19, with 128 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals. This rise in hospitalizations, combined with ongoing staffing shortage, has made it imperative for the health system to take these measures to protect the safety of its workforce and patients.
“Under our Emergency Operations Plan, we made the decision to shift to Contingency Standards of Care after careful consideration and discussion,” said Tori Bayless, CEO of Luminis Health. “While we remain committed to providing the best care at our hospitals, it is becoming increasingly challenging. We continue to work with other health systems, government leaders, and community partners to review our standards of care and strategize next steps, which may include declaring crisis-level standards of care. We need the community’s support now more than ever – please get vaccinated and boosted, and we encourage people to continue masking when outside their homes.”
Contingency Standards of Care protocols are used in times of emergency, when the demand for healthcare is reaching a critical point of exceeding the ability of the health system to provide it without instituting special measures. Today’s measures may include adapting documentation requirements, adjusting and prioritizing surgical schedules, delaying non-life-threatening surgeries, and altering care delivery models to ensure our ability to care for patients. These standards of care are based on best practices and guided by ethical principles.
“This is a response to another critical surge in COVID-19 cases, combined with the national staffing shortage that impacts our healthcare workers, who have been battling this pandemic tirelessly for almost two years,” said Dr. Sherry Perkins, president for Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center. “With Omicron spreading rapidly across the country and in our own communities, the vaccine and booster provide protection and will minimize COVID-19 symptoms, as well as the severity of the disease if infected. This minimizing of severity has an important impact on reducing hospitalizations and emergency room overcrowding.”
The majority of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 remain unvaccinated, which is putting a significant strain on the health system. This includes increased wait times in emergency rooms.
“Our emergency rooms are approaching critical levels,” said Deneen Richmond, president at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. “Please avoid the ER for non-life threatening issues. For COVID testing and all non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, patients should visit urgent care centers or seek care with their primary care provider. With that said, do not avoid getting care for more serious illness or injuries at the ER.”
To find and schedule an appointment with a Luminis Health primary care provider, visit our website http://lhprimarycare.com
With regard to surgical operations, effective Monday, January 3rd, all non-urgent surgeries that require an inpatient overnight stay will be postponed to a later date. Urgent and emergent surgeries, as well as ambulatory surgery (outpatient/same day surgery) will continue without impact.
There are a number of ways the community can help sustain the strength of our hospitals and end this pandemic, including:
- In addition to getting vaccinated and boosted, practice the 3W’s to stop the spread. Wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.
- Avoid the emergency room for non-life threatening issues and for COVID testing.
- If you have COVID-19 and are experiencing minor symptoms, please stay at home and contact your primary care physician if you have questions.
- Avoid crowds and large gatherings. If this is impossible, wear a mask and maintain your distance.
- Luminis Health has administered 117,000 COVID-19 vaccines. Whether through mobile clinics or walk-in options, we are continuing to provide COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to all who need them now and in the future.