St. Michael president provides update on hospital challenges

At the Dec. 6 Kitsap Public Health District board meeting, St. Michael Medical Center president Chad Melton provided an update on the continued challenges and improvements between the local fire departments and hospital staff.

Melton said the hospital has 280 total patients staying there, which far exceeds its total bed capacity. He also mentioned other Virginia Mason Franciscan Health hospitals in the area are going through similar challenges.

Continuing trends at St Michael include: ED volumes are increasing, and surges aren’t always predictable; staffing plans tied to appropriate ED visit levels; callouts and shortages of ED staff can impact some shifts; high acuity patients are always seen promptly; patient care and outcomes are excellent.

Since November, Melton said hospital staff and the local fire departments meet regularly to ensure better communication and to provide updates on essential information. He also said ED now has new leadership and recruitment of new ED staff is underway, with more coming in January.

Emergency Medical Services task force actions consist of: exploring how mission control can support pre-hospital services; increase data sharing and understanding; crisis and float pool nurses; primary care recruitment; and urgent care optimization.

Regarding support from the community, Melton said the hospital is seeking a partnership in reducing low-acuity patients using ED, and also advocated for allied health training/education. He also said staff needs appreciation from the community as they are working tirelessly to mitigate some of these issues.

“The team at St. Michael is completely working their butts off to take care of this community each and every day,” Melton said.