Local hospitals are concerned not just about capacity but also staffing

Local hospital are concerned not just about capacity but also staffing

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is recording its highest one day total of hospitalizations. That follows along with the warnings we heard from the medical community that things are getting worse.

Hospital capacity numbers for Mississippi aren’t easy to find, at least not with complete data. The CDC has some numbers that show Mississippi is utilizing about 60% of its capacity.

But a closer look reveals only about 40% of hospitals are reporting numbers to that. The Mississippi Hospital Association notes that bed counts don’t tell the whole story.

“It doesn’t matter how many beds you have,” explained Richard Roberson, Mississippi Hospital Association General Counsel and Vice President of Policy and State Advocacy. “Beds are great if you’re a hotel. You want beds. In a hospital you want to be able to staff those beds.”

Even before COVID-19, there were warnings of both doctor and nurse shortages in the state.

“So, what the concern is is really being able to adequately staff those beds with the type of care providers that those patients will need,” added Roberson. “And for a COVID patient, what our hospitals across the country are seeing is those COVID patients tend to stay in the hospital longer than your average length of stay for other patients.”

And what we also learned is that a number of the licensed hospital beds also doesn’t give the full picture.

For example, take Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. They have 638 licensed beds but only 491 active beds. That’s the physical bed capacity with their current layout. 336 of those beds are occupied as of Friday, July 10.

They have 76 critical care beds, 32 of which are neonatal ICU beds, 53 ICU beds are occupied including 14 of the neonatal ICU beds.

UMMC doctors were among those sounding the alarm Thursday. We checked in to learn their numbers. On the Jackson campus, they have 400 adult beds. They are all full.

Of 80 ICU beds, all are full. They have also had to place some adults in the children’s hospital because there was no room in the adult hospital.

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