Strap in, it’s gonna get bumpy

There is a flow of admissions to the hospital. In, get better, or not, and leave.

Hospitals in winter are usually full. And less so in the summer.

Same with the operating room schedule. Here in North Carolina, most people have an insurance deductible to meet before insurance really kicks in. Once the deductible and out of pocket max has been reached, in theory the rest of hospitalizations, and surgeries, are not on the insured’s bill, but the insurer’s bill. In theory.

This means that many, many people have reached or will reach their out of pocket max toward the end of the year. And can suddenly afford their surgery. This stresses the surgery schedule.

Happens every year. Like a tide.

Of course, the tide doesn’t drop until March. I have a theory for that too. Getting the out of pocket max over with in the first of the year means that the rest of the year will be paid for. This is what I would do.

Some, but not all, admitted patients are surgery patients.

Even the non-surgical patients typically follow a pattern of admission. Up in winter due to flu season and colds. Down in the last spring and summer due to kids being out of school and away from passing the cold around amongst themselves.

In years past, summer admissions decline.

But not during covid times.

My hospital has not had a lighter census (admitted patients) since 2020.

At all!

Hell, we’ve been full 99 times out of 100 all year long. And when the hospital is full the emergency room has to hold patients who otherwise would have a bed on one of the floors. Recently, the ED in my hospital had a hold number of 17, more than half of their total beds. Even with a new unit on the floor, the number of hospital beds available cannot keep up with the demand of patients.

This means that the staff in the ED and on the floors have had no time to rest, relax, or rejuvenate for nearly 3 years now.

I fear for the state of the hospital during the winter months with the certain increase of bed needs due to flu.

Compounding this is even if there was a place and a bed to place them in, there may not be people available to care for them. This I put the blame squarely on the continued covid pandemic. Because it’s not over, not even close.

No matter what you want to believe.

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