Questions surrounding Beaumont hospital in Wayne after COVID-19 patients transferred

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 10:33:02-04

WAYNE (WXYZ) — Where did all the patients go? That’s what employees at Beaumont’s hospital in Wayne are asking. They say the hospital system has sent the coronavirus patients away – and they want to know what’s happening with the hospital.

“They were transferring patients in a hurry to get them out of there,” said Jason Bradford, a Beaumont Patient Access Specialist.

Bradford said he’s worked in patient registration at Beaumont’s hospital in Wayne since 2014, up until today. He says his co-workers have been on the coronavirus frontlines ever since the Wayne facility started curbside testing in March.

“It just expanded from there, and before we knew it, we became an exclusive COVID-19 hospital,” said Bradford.

Multiple employees tell the 7 Investigators that about 10 days ago, Beaumont Wayne stopped accepting COVID19 patients from other locations. Then this past weekend, health care workers say Beaumont Wayne started sending their current coronavirus patients away, including patients on ventilators.

“There was a message from one of the medical staff that the EMS was hectic and busy and non-stop just picking up patients and transporting to them other facilities,” said Bradford.

Bradford says he and other employees don’t understand why.

“It’s bad enough they’re not able to have family or friends or loved ones at the bedside. Now they’re being treated like a mad dash,” said Bradford.

A Beaumont spokesman says they will keep the Wayne location as a reserve coronavirus hospital if it’s needed for another surge. They say it’s in “pause” mode, but U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and Rep. Rashida Tlaib are calling Beaumont irresponsible and demanding they re-open it.

The mayor of Wayne says he’s furious that employees received lay-off notices in the middle of a pandemic.

“I want my ER open immediately. My residents deserve to have a hospital during this crisis. This should not be an issue. I expect more from you, Beaumont Hospital,” said Mayor John Rhaesa. “This is not the time to make drastic decisions like this about people's futures, when they have worked so hard saving the lives of our families and our neighbors. Their lives matter too, let's not forget that.”

“How in the world could they possibly think of locking their doors and turning their backs on the community at a time like this especially when we’re expecting another surge,” Bradford said.

The 7 Investigators sent several questions to Beaumont spokesman Mark Geary Tuesday and Wednesday:

Why were COVID-19 patients transferred to other facilities?

Which hospitals were they transferred to?

Why was Beaumont Wayne in such a rush to get the patients out of there during the last 3 days, as alleged by employees?

Is it safe to transfer patients on ventilators and dialysis machines?

Were patients removed from ventilators in order to get them out of the hospital?

Why were employees told their badges would be deactivated by Thursday?

Were all Wayne employees given lay off notices? If it's going to be a "reserve COVID-19 hospital” - why lay off employees?

This is the statement Geary sent 7 Action News:

"Beaumont Hospital, Wayne is important to Beaumont Health and is not permanently closing. Rumors to that effect are false. Yesterday, the few remaining patients at Wayne were safely discharged home or transferred to other hospitals. The hospital is now temporarily paused and not serving any patients. Most staff is being redeployed to other Beaumont sites where they can provide care for more patients. Others will be temporarily laid off and could potentially participate in enhanced state/federal unemployment programs. As the surge was expected to occur just a couple of weeks ago, Beaumont received approval from the state to designate Wayne as a COVID-19 only hospital.

Fortunately, the surge was more moderated, likely due to aggressive social distancing, the stay at home order and other factors mitigating the spread of the disease. However, we are still operating under several executive orders that severely restrict the extent and type of care we can provide to our community. Until these executive orders are lifted and the disaster declaration has ended, we are not changing the COVID-19 only status of the Wayne hospital. This is in preparation for a second surge that could occur after the stay at home restrictions end. The pandemic remains very unpredictable.

Beaumont Health is committed to responding to potential ongoing COVID-19 surges by relying upon our Wayne hospital and other resources. As the last two weeks have shown, predictive models are estimates and lack the specificity to make accurate decisions, even a month in advance. Non-COVID-19 patient volume has reduced across the system, but the COVID-19 patient volume remains high. Beaumont is committed to reopening Beaumont, Wayne and making sure the services provided there both meet the community’s needs and fit within our system’s overall strategic plan. However, we will only do that when it is safe to do so and when we have more clarity about the pandemic."

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