6 Steps for rural hospitals to rise to the coronavirus challenge

BY CHRISTOPHER CHENEY     MAY 06, 2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, an Indiana-based rural hospital succeeded in boosting staff, increasing bed space, and securing essential equipment such as ventilators.

Rural hospitals are facing multiple challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, including limited ICU beds, shortages of key specialists such as infectious disease experts, and narrow patient surge capacity. Unlike well-resourced medical centers in urban areas, admission of COVID-19 patients can quickly overwhelm a rural hospital.

Batesville, Indiana–based Margaret Mary Health, which features a 25-bed critical access hospital (CAH) and two health centers, started planning for the pandemic in early March and admitted its first COVID-19 patient on March 13. At the peak of the rural hospital's COVID-19 surge, nearly 20 coronavirus patients were admitted.        

"The big question was: What do we need to have? That is when we figured out how to rent hospital beds, find ventilators, and what we were likely to run out of," says Tim Putnam, president and CEO of Margaret Mary.

There were six primary steps that enabled Margaret Mary to cope with its COVID-19 patient surge, he says.

Find out what the six steps were in the full article here: https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/6-steps-rural-hospitals-rise-coronavirus-challenge