UPMC moves surgeries to ASCs, drops OR availability to handle staff vacancies

Moving surgeries to ASCs and decreasing operating room availability by 15 percent helped the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center handle a 30 percent staff shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study presented at an American Society of Anesthesiologists event.

The hospital implemented a five-phase approach to continue providing surgical care when its surgical technologist and operating room nurse vacancy rate hit 30 percent, News Medical reported Jan. 30.

The measures included moving surgeries to ASCs and other hospitals within the UPMC system, progressively dropping availability for surgeons, dropping overall operating room availability by 15 percent and reducing available time for operating room services by 10 percent. 

The phased approach received minimal pushback from surgeons thanks to clear communication, said Kimberly Cantees, MD, UPMC clinical director of anesthesiology, according to the report.

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