Michigan Hospital Temporarily Closes, Transfers Remaining Coronavirus Patients and Lays Off Staffers

Hospital with corridor and bed without persons in landscape format
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Beaumont Wayne Hospital in Wayne, Michigan, has temporarily closed its doors during the coronavirus pandemic, drawing ire from the city’s mayor.

The hospital, which received approval to operate as a coronavirus-only hospital from the state just weeks ago, transferred the “few” remaining coronavirus patients to other hospitals, redeployed “most” staffers as additional help at other Beaumont locations “where they can provide care for more patients,” and temporarily laid off remaining staffers.

According to the hospital’s statement, the facility was standing by for a surge in coronavirus cases but noted that the surge was “more moderated, likely due to aggressive social distancing, the stay at home order and other factors mitigating the spread of the disease.”

However, the hospital is unable to restart elective procedures due to the “several executive orders that severely restrict the extent and type of care” it can provide. Therefore, the hospital will continue in its status as a coronavirus-only hospital and will reopen should a virus surge overwhelm the system.

“Until these executive orders are lifted and the disaster declaration has ended, we are not changing the COVID-19 only status of the Wayne hospital,” the hospital said in a statement.

“This is in preparation for a second surge that could occur after the stay at home restrictions end. The pandemic remains very unpredictable,” it continued.

The statement added:

As the last two weeks have shown, predictive models are estimates and lack the specificity to make accurate decisions, even a month in advance. Non-COVID-19 patient volume has reduced across the system, but the COVID-19 patient volume remains high. Beaumont is committed to reopening Beaumont, Wayne and making sure the services provided there both meet the community’s needs and fit within our system’s overall strategic plan. However, we will only do that when it is safe to do so and when we have more clarity about the pandemic.

Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa has called the closure a “travesty” and is calling for a criminal investigation into the decision.

“This is a travesty, and I cannot believe this is happening in America right now,” Rhaesa said, according to ABC7.

“It makes no sense to take a hospital away. In my opinion that’s criminal and should be investigated in the future, because this is not right,” he continued.

“How do you do this to your heroes? They’re putting their life on the line for us. Yet, they’re just thrown out like garbage,” Rhaesa exclaimed.

“This is wrong! This absolutely just blows my mind that this could happen in a pandemic when we’re in such a crisis,” he added, noting that he is contact with the governor and attorney general.

Hospitals are closing and laying off workers across the country as the coronavirus grips the nation, forcing many medical facilities to forgo elective medical procedures and leaving many staffers in the dust:

McLaren Hospital in Michigan’s Macomb County, for example, is furloughing workers, including nurses.

“As we eliminate nonessential procedures in line with the governor’s order and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, surgical patient volumes have been greatly reduced,” a hospital spokesperson stated.

“In response, we have offered our surgical services nursing team the opportunity to take voluntary temporary furloughs, which allows them to preserve their paid vacation time and apply for unemployment,” the spokesperson added.

Similarly, San Antonio’s Baptist Health System is furloughing hospital workers in order to “protect Baptist’s financial future,” according to San Antonio Express-News.

“Our expectation is that we can return impacted staff to service once we navigate through this unprecedented time and our core business returns to normal,” CEO Matt Stone said in a statement.

“These decisions, although difficult to make, will ultimately conserve resources, personal protective equipment, and ensure the safety of employees who will be sheltered in place during furloughs,” he added.


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