New DHM Issued For Omaha Hospital That Activated Crisis Care Plan

      Nebraska Gov Pete Ricketts has issued a Directed Health Measure ording Nebraska Medicine not to perform any pre-scheduled, non-emergency surgeries at its Omaha hospital for a month – and it seems to be just fine with the healthcare system.

      Ricketts acted Friday after Nebraska Medicine activated its Crisis Standards of Care plan on Thursday night in response to soaring patient numbers and staff absences, both due to the Omicron varant of COVID-19.

     Under the plan, the ER remains open but surgeries and appointments could be postponed, patient transfers into the hospital denied, medical students deployed in support roles, and temporary patient care areas created.

     Ricketts specifically cited the move in issuing the new DHM, saying that hospitals who decided to operate under such rules should prioritize patients with the most urgent medical needs and not be performing non-emergency surgeries. 

      Nebraska Medicine issued a statement saying its measures were already in line with the governor’s order and patients “should continue to access care as they’ve planned” unless told otherwise by their doctor.”

      The hospital says its medical providers are already making case-by-case determinations on whether a surgery or procedure is needed to preserve a patient’s life or physical health as part of the plan, which was set to run for about 2 weeks.

      Members of Nebraska Medicine’s leadership team said in a Zoom call Thursday that Omicron is responsible for the first-ever activation of the Crisis Standards of Care.  

    Not only are patient numbers way up , there’s been a 10-fold increase in staff absences in recent weeks – some because they have COVID and others because someone in their household is sick