About 20 highly trained military medical personnel arrived in Utah from the U.S. Navy last week to support University of Utah Hospital’s staff and patients. The 30-day deployment will allow the hospital to open beds and reschedule surgical procedures that were put on hold during the latest COVID-19 surge.
As part of the Department of Defense’s support to FEMA and the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in collaboration with state leaders, the deployment is an initial recovery response to help bolster staffing at University of Utah Hospital.
“While we are seeing declining numbers in COVID cases, 52 beds remain out of service because of staffing shortages,” said Dr. Michael Good, CEO of University of Utah Health. “During the Omicron wave, University of Utah Hospital has deferred hundreds of surgeries and made challenging decisions around accepting transfers from outlying hospitals. Thanks to FEMA and with the help of colleagues from the Department of Defense, which will focus on treating COVID-positive patients, we can begin to address these challenges and provide needed care to all patients in Utah and throughout the Mountain West,” Good added.
The clinical team includes:
- 3-4 physicians
- 10-14 nurses
- 2 respiratory therapists
- 2-3 administrators who will assist with scheduling and logistics
The team will work in acute care areas of the hospital alongside University of Utah Health clinical staff, focusing on direct patient care needs.
Deploying the military medical team from the U.S. Navy is part of a multi-modal approach to addressing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated staffing shortages at University of Utah Hospital. As a referral center, U of U Health cares for the most complex patients across the Mountain West and is often the best and only option for many patients with complicated illness. “Having assistance from the Department of Defense will provide the capacity for us to serve our patients with greater timeliness. We’re grateful for this support from the FEMA and the Department of Defense and the ongoing collaboration with our state leaders to help restore our operations.” said Good.