Rural hospitals face same challenges but with fewer resources than urban facilities

Staffing issues, low COVID-19 vaccination rates causing more stress for smaller medical centers
(Source: Gray TV photo illustration)
(Source: Gray TV photo illustration)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 3:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) — Smaller medical centers, with fewer resources, face the same limitations as facilities in larger cities during this fourth COVID-19 surge.

KSLA News 12′s Kenley Hargett has found that staffing issues and low COVID-19 vaccination rates are causing more stress for rural hospitals.

“What we’ve begun to see now is we’re seeing a backlog in our ER,” said Kirk Soileau, CEO of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, the largest rural hospital in Louisiana.

“It’s been challenging lately.”

Challenges like having no ICU beds available.

Natchitoches Regional sometimes takes on patients from other hospitals that are overcrowded. And it may also transfer patients to larger hospitals like those in Alexandra and Shreveport that normally would have more room.

And like hospital systems nationwide, NRMC’s medical personnel are tired and working long hours to care for their patients.

Leaders of other rural hospitals in the ArkLaTex told KSLA News 12 that their hospitals also are full of COVID-19 patients and that they encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

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