One of Nebraska's Largest Hospitals Instills Crisis Care Plan, First in its History

Jan. 13, 2022, 4 p.m. ·

Cory Shaw, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, speaks on a Zoom call with a wall and door behind him.
Cory Shaw is the executive vice president and chief operations officer at Nebraska Medicine. He said the hospital anticipates an already difficult hospital situation to potentially get worse in the next few weeks. (Photo from Zoom)

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One of Nebraska’s largest hospitals has enacted a crisis standard of care plan.

The surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant and demand for other healthcare services has prompted Nebraska Medicine in Omaha to alter its usual protocols, according to Executive Vice President Cory Shaw.

“We’ve seen about a 10-fold increase in the number of our employees who are absent, dealing with COVID in their household or them personally,” Shaw said. “The combination of that increase in activity and the decreased availability of staff has really put us in this situation we’re in right now. Then we anticipate that to potentially get worse over the coming weeks.”

Nebraska Medicine patients are going to experience changes during the hospital’s crisis standard of care alert. Harris Frankel is chief medical officer at Nebraska Medicine. He said, among other measures, appointments and surgeries will be delayed.

“You may also see medical students or other learners along with other support staff used as support personnel that might not otherwise commonly be involved in activities of this type,” Frankel said.

Patient transfers into the hospital will be more limited, clinical trials could be postponed, and the hospital could use conference rooms for non-emergency care. The hospital said it hasn’t taken such drastic measures in the organization's history.

Nebraska Medicine said people should wear masks in public places to protect themselves and the community during the crisis.