Letter to the editor: Little Colorado Medical Center responds to article stating center had reached max capacity, was underfunded
Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to an article published April 28 “Former ASU basketball player helps fight COVID-19 at Little Colorado Medical Center.”
On behalf of Little Colorado Medical Center (“LCMC”), we offer the following in comment up-on the article which ran on April 28, 2020.
Although LCMC appreciates the advocacy and concern of many regarding the impact of COVID19 on northern Arizona hospitals, the article included a number of serious inaccuracies which we’d like to rectify.
LCMC provides our patients comprehensive obstetrics and delivery care. LCMC physicians, in collaboration with staff physicians from Winslow Indian Healthcare Center (“WIHCC”) provide at LCMC modern, comprehensive OB care, including caesarian deliveries, comprehensive anesthsia support, etc. LCMC has modern labor and delivery beds and does not perform deliveries on “stretchers.”
At no point in the outbreak has LCMC “reached its maximum capacity” or had to engage in “a case by case decision of whom to let in.” Throughout the COVID19 pandemic, LCMC has continued to provide daily care in its Emergency Department, Medical Surgical floor, and the LCMC Physicians’ Office.
LCMC is not subject to the “most limited resources” relative to other regional rural hospitals. Although LCMC is experiencing the financial impact from COVID like all hospitals across America, it has not initiated furloughs, layoffs, or other equivalent cost cutting measures like so many hospitals have been forced to do. Through the good work of the LCMC care teams, admin-istrative team and Board of Directors, LCMC is financially stable. Additionally, LCMC has already taken and continues to take measures to ensure its continued stability, including receiving assistance from the federal CARES Act designed to offset financial losses for hospitals from the COVID pandemic. LCMC will continue our financial vigilance to ensure we can continue to serve our communities.
LCMC is very well served by a regional group of Emergency Department physicians and caregivers. Like many rural hospitals of comparable size and volumes, LCMC’s ED is always staffed with a qualified caregiver. During busy times, the ED physician is supported with a qualified midlevel provider.
LCMC has fabricated no “creative…makeshift surgical masks” or face shields out of folders or other material. Throughout the pandemic, LCMC has had a reasonable inventory of face shields, goggles, N95 masks and is closely monitoring its surgical mask inventory. LCMC’s surgical mask inventory is sufficient to allow it to request approval from the Arizona Department of Health Services to resume elective surgeries. LCMC has received and appreciates donations of cloth masks from local community groups, which have been distributed to limited groups. Those cloth masks are not used by any caregiver in any patient care setting. Also, LCMC appreciates the donations of surgical masks it has received from regional healthcare organizations. Those and other sources have allowed LCMC to maintain a safe level of supplies and personal protective equip-ment throughout the pandemic.
LCMC has modified its care units and acquired equipment to ensure proper and safe negative-pressure ventilation. LCMC has had ample funds to ensure all units are safe and properly ventilated. Additionally, LCMC is not experiencing a shortage of ventilators.
LCMC partners with several community and regional ground and air medical transport services. Like many hospitals, it neither owns an ambulance nor has plans to acquire one.
It is true that Navajo and Coconino counties have been seriously stricken by COVID 19. All hospitals across Northern Arizona have borne a serious and difficult burden; each would welcome their communities’ support and appreciation. LCMC continues, however, to deliver safe and high-quality care due to the remarkable expertise and devotion of its physicians, nurses, caregivers and support teams, as it has since its opening in 1954. LCMC will endure through these difficult days and continue to fulfill its mission of delivering quality medical care to the people we serve.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide an accurate picture of current healthcare delivery in Winslow.
Thomas Greenwood, M.D
LCMC Chief of Staff;
Frank Armao, M.D.;
WIHCC Chief Medical Officer
John J. Dempsey