Area hospitals are prepared for eclipse impact


By Kathy Leese

For Miami Valley Today

TROY — With the solar eclipse now less that two weeks away, hospitals in the area are preparing for every possibility as the day grows closer.

Among the hospitals busy making plans are Premier Health/Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) in Troy, which are well prepared for any possibility they face that day, according to Trish Wackler, UVMC chief operating officer and chief nursing officer.

“We have emergency operations plans in place to manage all types of situations and will use those to guide us in determining needs for the eclipse. We are also partnering with our local EMA (Emergency Management Agency) and the Premier Health system to ensure that we can deliver care to our patients in the community,” Wackler said.

“We are prepared to handle patients presenting to our emergency room with all types of conditions through our trauma Level III and primary stroke certification,” Wackler explained. “In addition, being part of the Premier Health system offers us access to higher levels of care as needed.”

That includes Miami Valley Hospital, which is part of the Premier system.

Kettering Health Troy is also prepared. Christine Reedy, senior PR specialist in marketing and communications for Kettering Health said they have “developed a staffing plan incorporating back-up staffing for all patient care areas and a transportation plan for staff and providers highlighting alternative routes and emphasizing early travel when possible.”

“Our emergency department is staffed with a full complement of physicians and specialists for injuries, ready to provide the care our community and visitors need,” Reedy said. “All of that is in addition to our comprehensive emergency operations plan (EOP). We practice and test the EOP for all aspects of our services and campuses. Our EOP covers regional, seasonal and special events as well as emergencies.”

“We encourage you to plan early and know what you are going to do to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event. Be prepared with proper protection to view the eclipse, a safe location to watch it and a travel plan to get back home. It is crucial you remember not to look directly at the sun without the appropriate eye protection,” Reedy said.

Margo O’Leary, spokesman for Wilson Health, announced their plans.

“As a hospital and health care provider, we never close, so all operations will be running as normal. Measures have been taken to ensure our hospital is prepared. We’ve stocked up on critical supplies to offset any unexpected shipping delays and adjusted staffing needs in our Emergency Department,” she said.

“As a hospital and emergency department, we need to ensure both our staff and patients can get to our facility. We have designed a staffing plan to make sure our employees who are scheduled to work can get here,” O’Leary said.

“We have been working closely with community partners and our local EMS providers to ensure fast and safe transportation for our patients to the hospital in the event of an emergency. We are prepared to care for our community 24/7 like we always do. The biggest challenge we are anticipating is traffic gridlock. We are working closely with our local government, police, fire and safety and EMS providers and have a plan in place in the event we experience emergency situations due to the solar eclipse event,” O’Leary explained.

“As far as safety precautions, one of the most important preparations is to have safe solar filter eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewing cards to prevent damage to your eyes from potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared radiation (IR) light, according to the American Astronomical Society (AAS),” O’Leary said.

Jenna Green, PR and communications manager for Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center, noted that like the other hospitals, they are prepared for the eclipse. Green explained they are “always here to serve our patients and community and this day will be no different. We have our incident action plan in place to ensure that our operations remain as normal as possible throughout the region. Our hospital and medical group practices will be open to the public.”

“As our community prepares for an influx of visitors, we have been working closely with the city and other organizations to ensure that we have plans in place to continue serving our patients. With that, traffic seems to be the biggest concern in the region and we do have contingencies in place to ensure emergency vehicles can get where they need to go. If there is a serious emergency, please continue to call 911. However, we also urge people to avoid calling for non-emergent issues to keep phone lines open as best as possible,” Green said.

Mercy Health St. Rita’s is making some requests of patients that day.

“If you know you are unable to make your appointment on the day of the eclipse or would prefer to change your appointment to a virtual visit when appropriate, please call ahead,” Green said.

“If you plan to keep your scheduled appointments, please allow extra time for travel and to find parking. While we will be patrolling our parking lots to ensure spaces remain available for patients, it could take longer to find parking,” Green said.

“As with all unknowns, we ask for your patience,” Green emphasized. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so it’s hard to predict how everything may unfold. Please know that St. Rita’s Medical Center will be here, doing all we can to care for the communities we serve.”

The writer is a contributor to Aim Media Midwest.

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