The two largest hospitals in New Mexico announced on Thursday that they will focus on patients most in need of care, which means that procedures that are not medically necessary may have to be postponed.
Although most patients did not deal with the coronavirus infection, officials at the Presbyterian Medical Services Center and the University of New Mexico at Hilter said that due to the pandemic, the capacity growth established last year is now limited by space and the availability of medical staff.
The two hospitals announced that they are launching crisis care standards, noting that this is not a real change in policy, but a continuation of the way they manage a large number of patients since last winter.
Dr. Jason Mitchell, Chief Medical Officer of the Presbyterian Church, said: “It’s really important to recognize that we did not cancel the care assignment. This is not part of it. We did not classify and reject care.” “At this point. , We are working hard to ensure that every patient in our state and neighboring states can get care in bed.”
He explained that the decision was not to let patients leave the ventilator, but to find other hospitals in New Mexico or neighboring states that could accept patients or transfer patients with less serious problems to emergency care clinics or other providers.
Even before the pandemic, hospital capacity in New Mexico was close to the bottom compared with other states. In the past year, this capability has been expanded by finding new spaces for hospital beds and adding staff. At the University of New Mexico Health Center, more than 500 nurses were added, enabling providers to open up 100 additional beds.
Dr. Michael Richards, senior vice president of clinical affairs at UNM Health, said: “Our operating capacity is approximately 140% of normal operating capacity, and sometimes even close to 150%. This is truly unsustainable.” The system.
In October, New Mexico cleared the way for hospitals to provide quantitative care in accordance with public health orders when necessary. HHS Minister Dr. David Scrase said at the time that hospitals had been using fewer resources to deal with patients since the pandemic began, and the orders he signed established “fair procedures” for making difficult decisions.
In northwestern New Mexico, due to a surge in coronavirus cases, only a few intensive care beds are left, and hospitals have been assigning care. On Wednesday, 90 of the 169 patients at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington were COVID-19 patients, and 15 of them were kept alive on ventilators.
In Albuquerque, coronavirus patients account for about one-fifth of Presbyterian and UNM Health patients.
Officials said on Thursday that the more a patient’s past condition, the more likely that person will be hospitalized because of the coronavirus. Nonetheless, they admitted that they saw younger, healthier people eventually hospitalized and in some cases died.
Both Mitchell and Richards emphasized the importance of basic habits such as washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing, because the spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico is still high.
State data show that approximately 73% of adults are fully vaccinated, and as immunity declines, officials urge people to get booster vaccinations. Of the confirmed cases in the past 4 weeks, more than 28% were vaccinated, and nearly a quarter of hospitalized patients were vaccinated.
The data also shows that unvaccinated people accounted for 95% of the deaths recorded last month.