Labor and Delivery services impacted at Kemmerer hospital
The Board of Trustees for South Lincoln Hospital District (SLHD) have made the decision to discontinue on-call emergency services in it’s operating room due to staffing shortages at South Lincoln Medical Center in Kemmerer. The change goes into effect June 1, 2022.
“For the past two years our organization has been dealing with the pandemic. The last five to six months have been, as you know, very critical with the latest variants that we’ve dealt with,” stated CEO David Ryerse during a recorded message on YouTube. “Along with these challenges we’ve had it’s been concerning to see the staff impacts we’ve had to deal with during these times. In the last five months, in our OR especially, we’ve had challenges maintaining appropriate staffing levels in the area.”
Ryerse explained that the board decision means the operating room will no longer be on-call. Impacts to local services at South Lincoln Medical Center include OB and newborn delivery.
Dr. Christopher Krell, Chief Medical Office for SLHD, stated that certain emergencies will now require transfers rather than treatments provided in Kemmerer. “The one thing we just can’t do is we can’t be delivering babies if we don’t have 24/7 immediate capability to do a C-section,” Krell explained. “It’s kind of sad after having done that for a very long time here. We’ve delivered babies in Kemmerer for well over 80 years but at this point we’re going to have to suspend that.”
Michelle Pollard, President of the SLHD Board of Trustees, reiterated how difficult this decision was for the board. “The board did not take this decision lightly,” said Pollard. “We’ve met at least three times on this particular topic. We believe we’ve done our due diligence in trying to mitigate all of the factors that have come to us with OB, OR and really our staffing. We’re in a critical staffing shortage right now and that really is driving a lot of our business decisions. We’re trying to make the best decisions for the community.”
On SLHD’s website, it clarifies that the decision does not mean the operating room will be closing altogether. Same-day surgical services will still be available Monday-Friday. No other services other than obstetrics (labor and delivery) are expected to be impacted. After June 1, residents of south Lincoln County who are pregnant are encouraged to contact their primary care provider for help navigating the appropriate care. If a maternity emergency occurs after June 1, a transfer of care to another medical facility may take place.
For additional information, tune into the Weekday Wakeup on SVI Radio (Swift 98 and The Spur) Wednesday morning when CEO David Ryerse will discuss this decision and give further details. Additional information can also be found at SouthLincolnMedical.com.