Area hospitals prepared for eclipse impact

TROY — With the solar eclipse coming, hospitals in the region are preparing for every possibility as the day grows closer.

Premier Health/Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy is well prepared for any possibility it might face April 8, said 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 (emergency management agency) and the Premier Health system to ensure that we can deliver care to our patients in the community,” Wackler said.

Wackler added, “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. In addition, being part of the Premier Health system offers us access to higher levels of care as needed.”

That includes Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, 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 it “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. 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.”

Margo O’Leary, spokesman for Wilson Health in Sidney, announced that hospital’s plans.

“As a hospital and health care provider, we never close, so all operations will be running as normal,” she said. “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.

O’Leary said traffic is one concern.

“The biggest challenge we are anticipating is traffic gridlock,” she said. “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.

Jenna Green, public relations and communications manager for Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, noted they’re 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.”

People needing help should be aware of the possibility to high traffic, though.

“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.

Mostly, people need to be patient, 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.”

Kathy Leese is a contributor to AIM Media Midwest.