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Becker's Hospital Review: Children's hospitals 'should not be a silent bystander' during pandemic, CEO says

Children's hospitals 'should not be a silent bystander' during pandemic

By Kelly Gooch

Like other U.S. hospitals and health systems, Children's Mercy Kansas City (Mo.) is treating COVID-19 patients while grappling with supply chain challenges and trying to protect the safety of employees, visitors and patients' families. However, the organization, which has 367 beds between two hospitals, is not experiencing the same patient volume as many adult hospitals. As of April 20, the children's hospital had treated four COVID-19 patients.

"Children's hospitals are experiencing COVID-19 differently. The volume of children confirmed with COVID-19 is dramatically lower [than infected adult patients]. Typically — not exclusively — kids who are confirmed also have experienced minor symptoms," Paul Kempinski, president and CEO of Children's Mercy Kansas City, said in an interview with Becker's Hospital Review.

The first step in that plan is a Tier One response, which would involve transferring children being cared for in adult hospitals to Children's Mercy Kansas City, where overall inpatient volume is down by 30 percent and the surgical and clinical business is down by nearly 75 percent due to effects of the pandemic. 

The second step in the response plan is raising the age threshold for patients at Children's Mercy Kansas City from 21 to 26. 

Lastly, Children's Mercy Kansas City has suspended surgical care at Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas in Overland Park, Kan., and offered it as surge facility for adult hospitals, if needed.

Overall, when it comes to adult hospitals working with children's hospitals on triage issues, Mr. Kempinski said children's hospitals "should not be a silent bystander."


Read the full story via Becker's Hospital Review

Learn more about COVID-19 at Children's Mercy