The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s governing body is in the middle of talks about reconfiguring some areas of the Commonwealth Health Center to ease patient overcrowding, according to CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña.
For instance, she said, four rooms that are assigned to the chemotherapy program may be converted and added to the rooms reserved for acute care.
“The physicians are already concerned. The [chemotherapy] beds can be reallocated somewhere else, so it could be open for the acute care sides and have four more rooms available,” she said.
Muña said that one possible area for the chemotherapy program is in the old dialysis building. The area still has oxygen plugs available, which will be useful and not cost the hospital a lot of money. At the same time, there are still beds available in the area.
Muña pointed out, though, that the privacy of chemotherapy patients is a concern if they are moved there.
“We just want to make sure that when patients go into those rooms, they are not automatically known, but we are looking at some other areas. As of this time, we don’t know exactly when and where because we know there is a need and we may have to move people around,” she said.
According to sources, the lack of available beds is causing some delays in the treatment of some patients in the emergency room. Some acute care patients are also being redirected to vacant beds in other sections of the hospital such as Obstetrics and Gynecology. The ER area is also overcrowded and the hospital has been noticing that patients tend to come in all at the same time.
Muña said that there are only eight rooms available at ER and its expansion will be a great help. If it can’t be expanded due to unavailability of funds, then areas near the ER will be looked at for renovation.
Muña said she recently met with the Division of Public Health section of CHCC and hospital staff to look for ways to prevent overcrowding and improve the delivery of healthcare services.
“It is in the goals and objectives that we really do take care of the population. We really do see some issues concerning the fact that some patients are not accessing health care and they should be encouraged to see their doctor,” she said.
In other news, CHC will be working with other healthcare providers during a medical outreach being organized by the Empty Vessel Ministry and its founder and director, Rose Smith, this Aug. 28 at the Garapan Street Market.
“I encourage the community to attend this outreach because we really don’t want to see them in the ER or the hospital and to encourage them to take care of their health before it gets worse,” Muña said.
CHC will be providing free health screenings at this Thursday’s outreach.
“People may say that the hospital is collecting revenue by patients coming in, but that is not the case because the hospital is practically the only business that creates expenses more than collecting bills and payments,” Muña said.
“So this outreach can help the patients. Another good thing is that although the talk on salaries are too high for the physicians, they should be commended for volunteering to give back and they want to give back,” she added.