The Medical Center

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The relentless COVID-19 pandemic has intensified America's nursing shortage. Now, Kentucky nurses who work in schools, long-term care facilities, hospices, and hospitals are being lured away. 

Hospitals and other states are offering up to four times Kentucky's hourly wage for nurses. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with the CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association, Delanor Manson, about burnout from dealing with dying COVID patients, verbal attacks for asking people to wear a mask or get vaccinated, and possible solutions to the nursing shortage in the Bluegrass State. 

Manson: States like California, Texas and New York have an exponential nursing shortage. And they have retained travel nurse agencies to go out and find nurses to come to their states. Because Kentucky does not have the exponential nursing shortage that a lot of other states have, we are prime candidates for these travel nurse agencies. So, they are coming to Kentucky to poach our nurses to send them to other states. And they're poaching our nurses with high dollars for hourly pay, as well as large bonuses. 


baptisthealth.com

The spike in COVID-19 cases that’s creating renewed stress on health care systems across the nation is causing dangerous staffing shortages in hospitals across Kentucky.

In his press briefing Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear said there are at least 21 hospitals in Kentucky with a significant shortage of staff. 

One of the hospitals that took part in the briefing was Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown.

“We are no different than any other facility in the state of Kentucky. We are facing staffing challenges amidst rising patient volumes," said Sharon Wright, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist Health Hardin. "Many of our staff are quarantined from COVID exposure. Some have retired. Some have resigned and left health care entirely.”

Lisa Autry

A health expert from The Medical Center in Bowling Green says the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won’t be crippling to Kentucky’s vaccination efforts. 

Kentucky has received few shipments of the one-doses vaccine, but the commonwealth is joining all other states and temporarily suspending use of the vaccine to investigate potentially dangerous blood clots. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been distributed mostly to Kentucky’s independent pharmacies and the correctional system.  Dr. Melinda Joyce, VP for Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health, says the mass vaccination clinic run by the Medical Center has received none of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and doesn’t plan to in the future.

"What I am concerned about though is whether this will increase the vaccine hesitancy we’ve seen," Dr. Joyce told WKU Public Radio.

Lisa Autry

A new partnership will give some Western Kentucky University students a direct path to medical school without having to leave Warren County. 

Ground was broken Tuesday next to the Bowling Green-based Medical Center for a four-year regional medical school through the University of Kentucky. 

Dr. Don Brown will be the Assistant Dean of the UK College of Medicine at the Bowling Green campus.  He says the hope is to alleviate a physician shortage in Kentucky.

"There's studies that show if you do a residency in a state, you're more likely to stay in that state," Brown told WKU Public Radio.  "We believe if you do undergraduate here, then medical school, and a residency, the chances are very good that you'll stay in the state."

UK

The Medical Center at Bowling Green became the 16th affiliate to join the statewide network under the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center.

President and CEO of Commonwealth Health Corporation and The Medical Center Connie Smith said patients in south-central Kentucky will now "have access to the latest clinical trials, educational opportunities for physicians and staff and additional outreach and education resources for the community."

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, according to a written release from the Medical Center. The Medical Center is the regional referral center for cancer care in the region with almost 1,000 cancer cases diagnosed at the hospital annually, according to the release.

Executive vice president for Commonwealth Health Corporation Sarah Moore told WKU Public Radio the Medical Center can now provide patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and advanced technology while allowing them to stay close to home for their treatment. The Medical Center has been an accredited cancer program for 12 years.

Other health providers in the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network include Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Methodist Hospital in Henderson and TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow.

Caverna Memorial

A Hart County hospital is being acquired by The Medical Center of Bowling Green.

At an announcement in Horse Cave Monday morning, the leadership of Caverna Memorial Hospital said it had agreed to the deal, which will be complete by the end of the year. Under the plan, Caverna Memorial will be known as The Medical Center at Caverna.

Caverna Memorial has been independently operated since 1967, and is a 25-bed, non-profit critical access hospital.

The Medical Center executive vice-president Wade Stone says the increasingly complex and expensive nature of health care is making it tough for rural hospitals to remain independently-operated.

“It’s making sense for hospitals like Caverna—small rural hospitals—to start looking for options in terms of partnering, or being part of an acquisition, to make sure they have the resources they need to survive long-term.”

Longtime Healthcare Executive in Bowling Green Dies

Aug 14, 2012

A former president and chief executive officer of The Medical Center in Bowling Green has died. John Desmarais passed away Tueday at his home in Logan County.