Lee Health works to prevent another bed shortage

Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 23:29:25-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla-- Gulf Coast Medical Center had 44 admitted patients without beds on Friday. The bed shortage was so bad they had a press conference to tell the public. 

Lee Health Chief Acute Care Officer Scott Kashman said officials have since had discussions on better ways to prepare for this. 

"What we would have probably done is looked a couple days prior if we had that crystal ball and we would have said how do we open up some additional beds even earlier," said Kashman. 

So that's what Lee Health is now doing. They've opened 15 extra beds at Cape Coral Hospital, a new Skilled Nursing Unit at Lee Memorial to take patients that previously took up space in other units and daily meetings to monitor overcrowding at all Lee Health facilities. 

"What we do actually across all our campuses, we collaborate and talk every day including with EMS to see where are we in a position on each campus, where they are seeing increase volumes and where do we need to help level it across campuses to keep it safe for patients," said Kashman. 

Lee Health said one way you can help is by looking at all available options before rushing to an ER. 

"20 plus percent of the patients that are going into the emergency departments can be seen in their physician office or Urgent Care centers," said Kashman. 

An internal disaster plan is also in place to direct EMS to other locations if a hospital is overcrowded.