OU Medicine Announces Four-Phase Surge Plan
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
In preparation for an anticipated surge of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, OU Medicine has established a four-phase surge plan to admit and treat hundreds of critically ill patients beyond normal hospital capacity.
The surge plan involves utilizing space across all OU Medicine facilities in Oklahoma City and Edmond, as well as accelerating construction of two floors of the new patient tower. In total, OU Medicine will be able to scale up 421 additional critical care beds when all four phases are implemented.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic that has brought significant risks of severe illness like none of us has seen before,” said Chuck Spicer, FACHE, President and CEO of OU Medicine, Inc. “This accelerated availability of the patient tower represents critical healthcare infrastructure for Oklahoma as we take on COVID-19 as a state. Combined with space that our team has identified across our healthcare enterprise, we are prepared to meet the anticipated surge of patients. The entire team working on this surge plan is part of our team of healthcare heroes – working around the clock to ensure we have the beds we need to care for COVID-19 patients, as well as patients who will require complex care for non-COVID-19 related conditions.”
Floors five and six of the new patient tower, which were originally scheduled for completion in November, will now be ready for use in early June. Those floors will house the new Intensive Care Unit and will provide up to 144 additional beds.
Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, has worked closely with OU Medicine leaders throughout the response to COVID-19, including recent surge planning.
“As our state combats the spread of an unprecedented pandemic, OU Medicine is taking extraordinary steps to care for and protect Oklahomans,” Horn said. “OU Medicine’s timely and aggressive response to COVID-19 is filling a critical need and saving lives. I am proud to partner with OU Medicine to support the health and wellbeing of Oklahomans before, during and after this crisis. I will continue to fight for the necessary resources to support OU Medicine and healthcare providers across the state.”
Governor J. Kevin Stitt commented, “This will be an important project for Oklahoma. I’m pleased that OU Medicine is accelerating completion of key areas of its new tower.”
Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, too, has worked closely with leaders at OU Medicine and the OU Health Sciences Center during surge planning and has provided guidance related to federal funding options.
“One of the greatest dangers of this terrible coronavirus is the risk of it overwhelming our healthcare systems,” Cole said. “In a show of tremendously wise foresight, OU Medicine is speeding ahead to improve its capacity to care for potentially many more hospitalizations of Oklahomans with COVID-19. Not only will these bold actions save more Oklahoma lives, but it should provide some comfort to our communities knowing that OU Medicine is fighting to deliver the best care for critical patients. I will continue to work with leaders at OU Medicine and OU Health Sciences Center to identify potential resources to get this project funded and off the ground. We should all be proud to see our state rise to the challenge to defeat this invisible enemy.”
“As the comprehensive academic medical center, we believe we will be treating many of the most critically ill patients with COVID-19,” said Kris Gose, R.N., MBA, President of OU Medical Center. “Our critical care plan has strategically identified space across our infrastructure where we can accommodate additional patients and provide them with the highest quality of care.”
“As we began describing today, every hospital and provider in Oklahoma has a role to play in our COVID-19 response,” said Secretary of Health and Mental Health, Jerome Loughridge. “These additional ICU beds will ensure that Oklahomans will be able to receive intensive care in a state of the art facility for many years in the future.”
OU Medicine and its academic health partner, the OU Health Sciences Center, have also made plans with our healthcare teams to accommodate a likely surge of patients, said Jason Sanders, M.D., MBA, Senior Vice President and Provost of the OU Health Sciences Center. Patients with COVID-19 require much longer hospital stays, and additional safety measures are necessary to protect health professionals, as well as patients receiving treatment for other conditions. OU Medicine physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers may be deployed to different clinical areas and may utilize newly designed care protocols, in order to meet ongoing patient needs, Sanders said. In addition, an assessment is being conducted of the physician workforce in central Oklahoma, and emergency practice privileges will be expedited, so that additional doctors can quickly come on board if necessary.
“Our physician and nursing professionals are rising to the challenge to fight this pandemic, and we are inspired by their courage and commitment to serve Oklahomans in need,” Sanders said. “OU Medicine has served Oklahomans for over a century, and we have prepared for this COVID-19 surge with the full force of our healthcare teams and capabilities.”