FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Hospitals are still stretched thin across the state with COVID-19 patients. Many are also dealing with nurse shortages at the same time.
In an interim legislative committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers were given a grim picture by medical professionals of how COVID-19 is impacting Kentucky hospitals and the health care industry.
There’s more disease, fewer people to care for the sick, and lawmakers were told it’s frustrating because doctors and health care leaders say they think most of this was and is completely preventable.
Dr. Irfan Budhani shared the story of a 38-year-old man who did not get the vaccine then required a specialized blood treatment that was difficult to get. Dr. Budhani told lawmakers more than 90% of the patients he’s seeing did not get vaccinated.
“That’s the degree of desperation we face with critically ill young patients trying to save,” Dr. Budhani said. “Your resources are getting stretched thin.”
Not enough beds or staff to treat them.
Some lawmakers say help could come Kentucky’s way if they could approve Rescue Plan money for hospitals.
“So, I would ask you, Governor, please call us in, allow us as the General Assembly to use ARPA funds to fix this problem,” said Sen. Ralph Alvarador, R-Winchester.
“And for people to run loose in this state, and not do what they are supposed to be doing to protect the public and protect ourselves, they run loose not wearing their masks and not getting inoculated,” said Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville.
Kentucky was already dealing with a medical staff shortage before COVID-19 hit, but a Medical Association official says COVID-19 has only pushed them off the cliff. He says one of the big problems is Kentucky’s lack of good residency programs for graduates in medical education.
Hospital Association officials say there have been staff members fired for not taking the vaccine, but the overwhelming majority of staff chose to get the vaccine on their own.