Summa Health reducing hospital beds by 20% after nationwide staffing shortage

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Summa Health is reducing its inpatient hospital beds by more than 20 percent.

They announced the change in a memo Monday, saying it is meant to help them provide the highest quality care for their community while managing the nationwide staffing shortage. 

“It reached the point, you know, between that stress capacity, our staffing issues and concerns and then you add on on top of that now fourth wave of COVID that is filling up the hospital. We reached the point where we had to intervene,” said Dr. David Custodio, President, of Summa Akron City and St. Thomas Hospitals.

The decrease in bed capacity from 551 to about 430 by October 24 is a combined adjustment between the Akron and Barberton campuses. 

“We have been seeing unprecedented volumes even when our COVID numbers were much lower over the summer we continued to operate at high capacities,” said Custodio.

But that is just one strategy. The hospital system plans to control and improve throughout in the emergency departments. 

“We are looking at new models by bringing specialists into the emergency department to help care for their patients who might be boarded there but also to help care for patients as they come through.”

Some elective procedures will also temporarily be stopped and a remote monitoring home care solution is being developed to allow patients to recover at home if appropriate. 

“By reducing that length of stay safely and appropriately, then we create capacity.”

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