This article is one in a series of how hospitals accredited by DNV GL Healthcare are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Patrick Horine
New York is two states and hundreds of miles away from my office in the Cincinnati suburbs, but as the hardest-hit part of the country by the COVID-19 pandemic, it occupies huge spaces in both my heart and mind.
Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York and the one in the state closest to Cincinnati. And while it has not been ravaged by the Coronavirus to the extent New York City has, the numbers are still grim.
As of April 28 in Erie County, there have been 245 confirmed deaths related to the Coronavirus, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz. That includes 12 deaths alone on April 28. The number of new cases reported that day climbed by 115, to more than 3,200.
Such numbers have put a significant strain on Kaleida Health, the largest hospital system in the greater Buffalo area. It operates five hospitals, including Buffalo General Medical Center, the largest in the region. Kaleida Health was one of the first hospital systems to be accredited by DNV GL Healthcare to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It has also been certified as a participant in the ISO 9001 quality program since 2014, which is a requirement to receive our accreditation services.
Being ISO compliant means not only focusing on continuous quality improvement, but being engaged in proactive risk management and planning. And after speaking with Timothy Kornacki, Kaleida Health’s director of corporate emergency management, it is obvious that Kaleida has engaged in the COVID-19 crisis at the highest level of preparedness.
Among Kaleida’s undertakings in response to the outbreak:
Believe me when I say I am leaving some things out. As the Coronavirus outbreak very slowly recedes, Kaleida Health will have more challenges to come. Its hospitals normally operate at around 90% of capacity; Tim Kornacki, tells me that has dropped to around 50%. However, given Kaleida has prepared so meticulously to respond to an unexpected event so quickly, I am certain it will continue to respond as swiftly to the events that lie ahead.