Fulton County Hospital continues to serve through pandemic

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Fulton County Hospital CEO Curren Everett recently reviewed some statistical information with Areawide Media and how the hospital has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Luckily, very minimal changes have been made in the staffing of FCH. However, Everett said overall, the pandemic has hurt the hospital. “Our year ended, the end of June. In the ER, we are about 450 less this year than there were last year. Outpatients, we have about 147 less this year; observation we are about 119 less and then we have the clinic here on campus, that nurse practitioner Renee Crowl takes care of and that has really suffered with 533 less patients than last year. Every Tuesday, we have wound care and it is down 80 patients. It has all been in the last five months,” explained Everett. He also mentioned the county sales tax funds received. “We get sales tax money off our one percent sales tax we get from the county and it is down $23,000 from last year.”

One positive aspect is during the slower months, it gave hospital officials time to evaluate what is needed or what areas could be improved. “We have some plans. We need to turn some of our patient rooms into negative pressure rooms. We have applied for some grant money to do that. Our entrance, we want to fix it so when people come in to the hospital or outpatient service, they won’t be exposed to anyone else,” Everett said.

FCH currently has two two negative pressure rooms in the ER and would like to have one or two more in place. Negative pressure rooms are ideal for hospitals when dealing with infectious illnesses. Non-contaminated filtered air will flow into the negative pressure rooms, which are designed to clean and release the air. “What we want here, is that fresh air coming in so if we’ve got a patient in here who has tested positive for COVID-19, we can put them in that room and the negative pressure room will filter the air outside,” Everett explained.

As of Friday, July 17, he said FCH is still limiting visitation at this time, due to a patient being tested for COVID-19. No results had been received, but once the patient has produced two negative test results, the hospital will wait a few days and then allow visitation to resume. “We are still limiting it to one family member per patient. We have some family members who come here, wait outside and we bring the patient out to them and they can visit underneath the awning. That is working good. We are definitely requiring masks for the patient and visitor.”

The slower months have given officials to take note of what is needed and put plans into place to make those changes. He also feels that many hospitals around the world have had to make decisions as well. “We know for sure it’s going to be here another six months to a year before we have a vaccine, so we need to be able to deal with it. Those are what our plans are,” said Everett.

In the two years Everett has been at the hospital, July and August have proven to be the slowest months of the year. As of July 17, the hospital was averaging 17 patients per day in the hospital. “It is mind-boggling to us, we have never seen this. What we are going to do is keep on going like we’re going because the thing about it, our outpatient was down but our inpatient is good,” he stated.

Everett also bragged on the staff of Fulton County Hospital, especially Amy Abney. “Amy Abney is our infectious disease director. Everyone in the hospital has done a great job, but Abney has done a tremendous job. She has been in the position for years, but never had to use it. Now that we are having to use it, she has stepped up to the plate and done a great job,” said Everett.

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