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Frederick Health Hospital Implements Crisis Standards of Care Effective January 3, 2022

Frederick Health Hospital Implements Crisis Standards of Care Effective January 3, 2022

Frederick, MD (January 3, 2022) – Frederick Health is experiencing unprecedented patient volumes and staffing shortages due to the latest surge of COVID-19 cases. On December 28, 2021, Frederick Health Hospital saw a dramatic increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and inpatient volumes continue to surpass volumes seen during previous COVID-19 surges. Effective January 3, 2022, Frederick Health Hospital is implementing crisis standards of care, allowing the hospital and health system to extend vital resources and minimize the impact on the healthcare team and the community we serve.

Crisis standards of care are used only in times of emergency when the demand for healthcare exceeds the ability of the health system to provide it. These standards provide a framework allowing healthcare professionals flexibility to care for patients with the highest need. Crisis standards of care are based on best practices and guided by ethical principles.

“The safety of our staff, patients, visitors, and community remains the primary concern of Frederick Health. By implementing these new protocols throughout our system, Frederick Health will have the added flexibility to increase care for those in our community that need it the most,” said Tom Kleinhanzl, President & CEO of Frederick Health. “Most importantly, we will continue to deliver the best possible care to our community.”

This action will enable Frederick Health to care for the rapidly increasing number of patients most safely and effectively during this crisis. Under crisis standards of care, changes to protocols may include:

• Modifying surgical schedules consistent with the Governor's recent orders
• Expediting hospital discharges, when safe and appropriate
• Transitioning to telehealth care options when applicable
• Simplifying documentation
• Redeploying clinical and non-clinical staff to areas of greatest need

These changes allow for the flexibility to increase access to safe, quality care for those with COVID-19 and other medical needs and enables the hospital to care for as many patients as possible with the staffing and resources available.

“This shift in protocols is significant and allows the best support for our healthcare workers and all other team members,” said Cheryl Cioffi, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “This is a crisis, and we are doing everything within our power to bring the right resources to the table. Making sure that Frederick Health is here for our community is paramount.”

Several other Maryland hospitals are already operating under crisis standards of care. The concept of crisis standards of care was developed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), following Hurricane Katrina, to provide a standard of care framework that would apply during disaster situations. In alignment with other hospital systems across the state, Frederick Health utilizes this standard.

Implementing crisis standards of care also allows Frederick Health to manage expectations within the community about the reality of what our hospital is facing and how this may impact care.

“These are unprecedented times and Frederick Health is not alone in making these changes. Healthcare systems across the state and nation are taking similar steps,” said Dr. Kathy Weishaar, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for Frederick Health. “However, by shifting to the crisis standards of care protocols, we are able to maintain and deliver quality levels of care.”

Individuals can take precautions to reduce the burden on our hospital. Call your doctor or use urgent care for non-life-threatening issues if you are not feeling well. Protect yourself and others against COVID-19, and reduce the demand on our healthcare system, by getting vaccinated, getting boosted, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.

Anyone presenting to Frederick Health Hospital’s Emergency Department will be triaged by a clinician for the most appropriate site of care and may be redirected to an outpatient facility if not experiencing a true emergency.

“We will get through this crisis, as we have so many before. We’re asking everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and lending our health care team a helping hand,” added Kleinhanzl. “I want to sincerely thank our team, community, partners, and volunteers that continue to serve our community.”

Crisis standards of care are in effect at Frederick Health Hospital starting January 3, 2022. Leadership and clinical teams will monitor patient volumes and staffing levels daily. Crisis level protocols will be re-evaluated accordingly. Frederick Health leadership remains in contact with federal, state, and community partners and the Maryland Hospital Association to ensure consistency and alignment across the healthcare delivery system.

About Frederick Health

Frederick Health Hospital is a comprehensive, acute care and diagnostic treatment center, and a critical component of Frederick Health, a regional healthcare system providing comprehensive healthcare services to residents of Frederick County.
The system also includes Frederick Health Medical Group, Frederick Health Hospice, Frederick Health Home Care, and Frederick Health Employer Solutions. As well as several ambulatory care locations, a freestanding cancer institute, two urgent care locations, and Frederick Health Village.

With over 3,300 employees, Frederick Health provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness services to support its mission to positively impact the well-being of every individual in our community.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Frederick Health has moved quickly to stand up testing for COVID-19, provide care to COVID-positive patients, maintain healthcare delivery in the outpatient setting, provide education and reassurance to the community, and adapt to the many challenges presented by COVID-19. To date, Frederick Health has administered over 225,000 COVID-19 tests, has successfully treated and discharged over 2,100 COVID-19 positive patients from Frederick Health Hospital, and has administered over 86,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations.