Summa Health cuts inpatient hospital beds by more than 20% and temporarily stops some elective surgeries as Akron-based healthcare system tries to adjust to nationwide staff shortage exacerbated by pandemic of COVID-19.

In a note distributed to staff at 9 a.m. this morning, hospital officials said Summa would make multiple adjustments to help patient care, as Summa and country health staff are in some cases exhausted and leaves the field of health care.

“We are no longer able to maintain the current level of capacity in our hospitals and we need to make adjustments to align with the current level of clinical staff,” Summa executives said.

Following:More than one in four Akron Children’s PICU patients have COVID-19

Following:Cleveland Clinic Akron General Scheduling Fewer Non-Essential Surgeries

Summa said “while there is no doubt that COVID is impacting our volumes, the reality is that it is not the only driver of the current staffing issues we face.”

The hospital said it must make these changes, which will take effect immediately, “to ensure that we can provide safe and comprehensive health services in all settings – inpatient and outpatient – for our community and we must support and fund our employees and teams appropriately to do this. “

The following measures will take effect immediately:

Reduce hospital capacity by 20%

Summa said she would adjust the combined inpatient bed capacity at Akron City and Barberton hospitals from 551 to about 430 by October 24, a reduction of about 22%.

The number of inpatient beds available will increase from 439 to around 350 at Akron City Hospital and from 112 to 80 at Barberton Hospital.

There will be no changes at St. Thomas Hospital, which treats Summa’s behavioral health patients.

Improve the flow of emergency services

Summa said he would start integrating specialists, primary care physicians and / or hospitalists into the emergency department on the Akron and Barberton campuses to initiate care more effectively.

The health system:

  • Optimize monoclonal antibody treatments to improve efficacy and potentially eliminate or reduce hospital stays.
  • Work with qualified nursing facilities to improve patient navigation.

Reduce procedures

Summa will be making several changes, including:

  • Temporarily stop certain elective procedures in the fields of surgery, cardiology and interventional radiology. This decision does not affect cancer-related procedures or any of our emergency services across the organization, including procedures aimed at preserving life and physical integrity. Ambulatory surgery sites will remain open.
  • Schedule surgeries seven days a week to help moderate daily case volumes.
  • Develop a patient waiting program to manage elective surgery cases.
  • Develop a home monitoring solution to enable patients to recover with home care when needed.

“We recognize that there is no quick fix to the current situation and that it will take considerable time to regain our full capacity. We are convinced, however, that the steps outlined above are necessary now and in the future. the best interests of our staff and community, ”Summa executives said in the memo.

“We know that taking the steps outlined above will not change the number of people who come to us for treatment. We will treat as many patients as possible, however there will be times when we will need to divert or transfer patients. to other facilities where beds are available. In the event that the community does not have available beds, we will do our best to minimize the time needed to get patients into the emergency department while waiting for them. We also plan to work closely with the Department for Surge Planning and with our community partners to help manage patient volumes, all in the best interest of protecting our employees and patients.

“There will be disruption over the next three to four weeks as we work towards this plan. We know that we have asked a lot of you over the past few months and we appreciate your continued support during this time. All in all, we are confident that these changes are the right thing to do and that they will significantly benefit our employees and the people we serve. ”

This is a developing story.

Beacon Journal reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected] Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or To see her most recent stories and reviews, visit