After months of planning, a tabletop exercise, and countless walkthroughs of both the old facility and the new facility, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital will open its Incident Command Center at 5 a.m., November 11, 2017 to begin the process of moving from the old to the new.
Planning for the move was one of the biggest undertakings ever for VCU Health CMH, according to Scott Burnette, CEO of the hospital.
“We have been planning this really since the decision to build a new hospital was made,” he said. “We have an Excel spread sheet that we are using to make sure no item was left out or forgotten. That document is nearly 25 pages long, and that just covers the main items, each line item has multiple components.”
“We have had a team of employees working on this very hard,” Burnette added. “Pretty much everyone at CMH has a part to play in the move.”
A committee co-chaired by Christy Reese, Director of Materials Management and Rick Clary, Pharmacy Director assumed responsibility for overall planning for the move including all furnishings, equipment and patients. Moving the patients requires a significant amount of detailed planning. A sub-committee of clinical personnel chaired by Janet Kaiser, RN, MSN, CEN, and Nurse Director of the Emergency Department at VCU Health CMH assumed responsibility for developing a plan designed to ensure a well-coordinated move that places patient safety and comfort at the forefront of the effort.
For a very short time on November 11th, VCU Health CMH will have two operational hospitals. Beginning at 7 a.m., people will be directed to go to the new hospital’s emergency department. Both hospitals will be staffed with nurses, doctors and ancillary staff until the last patient is moved to the new hospital. According to Kaiser, all area rescue squads understand the timing of the hospital. Also at 7 a.m., patients in the old CMH will began being moved to the new hospital.
“We have seven rescue squads: South Side Rescue Squad, Boydton Life Saving Crew, Chase City Rescue, Alberta Fire, Victoria Rescue, Kenbridge Rescue and Greenville County Rescue; who will be providing 10 ambulances and crew necessary to transport patients the two miles to the new hospital,” according to Roger Warden, Emergency Management Specialist at VCU Health CMH, who coordinated that component of the move. “We have made South Hill Police, Mecklenburg County Sheriff and the State Police aware of what we are doing and they will help us make the move easy on our patients.”
With an expected 35 patients to move, the hope is that all patients will be at the new VCU Health CMH by early afternoon on November 11th.
“Our goal is to move between 8-10 patients an hour. We have an excellent plan with the advanced nursing preparations for meeting patient needs prior to transfer and rescue squads skilled in moving patients to very effectively manage this transfer. The plan takes in consideration the priority of patient safety, the departing and arriving of the patients to the new units in a manner that brings no unnecessary stress to the patient or staff handling the transfer. The Hospital Command Center will be fully staffed to monitor all facets of the move and will insure the smooth transition.” Warden said.
Burnette expressed his appreciation to the staff at VCU Health CMH, but also for the help from VCU Health (out of Richmond). “Our staff has worked very hard to make sure we are prepared to make the move. So many hours of planning have been invested. We have tried to ask the hard questions to see if our plans are not complete. We feel very prepared for this move.”
Visitors will be restricted at both hospitals during the move, according to Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development at VCU Health CMH.
“We are asking anyone who plans to visit patients to wait until at least 4 p.m. on the 11th,” he said. “We not only are moving patients, but equipment and supplies from the old hospital are being moved to the new hospital that day. There is going to be an enormous amount of activity at both locations. Our hope is to have the patients moved by early afternoon and then we can open the new hospital up for visitors.”
Kurz added that VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is hoping the general public keeps their distance for the move.
“We need to protect patient confidentiality, but more important, the safety of all those involved should take precedence. We will have rescue squads, moving vehicles, just a bevy of activity at both locations. We are hoping people understand and plan to stay clear,” he said.