Alva Review-Courier -

Q&A with Kandice Allen, Share Medical Center CEO


March 20, 2020

Kandice Allen, CEO of Share Medical Center.

Despite managing Share Medical Center's ramp up to handle whatever the COVID-19 pandemic may bring to northwest Oklahoma, Share CEO Kandice Allen paused during what must feel like an avalanche of urgent tasks to answer a few questions for Review-Courier readers.

Alva Review-Courier: If someone gets COVID-19 here and develops pneumonia, will they be cared for at Share or sent to a different hospital?

Allen: It will all depend on their age, health history and current health status. We will not keep anyone who will require a ventilator at some point, as we don't have those resources available.

How many ventilators do you have?

One. It is used to assist patients until AirEvac arrives and puts the patient on their portable ventilator.

Can you expand your telemedicine capabilities?

This week we started seeing some patients via this technology.

Can families Skype with patients?

We are using Zoom for our patients to do virtual visits with their loved ones at this time.

Does Share have testing kits? Has anyone been tested here yet?

We have a very limited supply and have tested only a few patients at this point.

Are rural people safer than city people?

Not in particular. A virus is a virus and likes both city and rural hosts!

How many high risk people do you think we have in, say, Alva and Woods County?

I don't know the numbers but, statistically, those that are having a challenge fighting this virus are older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Looking across the entire local health system, do some areas stand out for you as places where problems might occur?

Shortage of available beds and ventilators as well as enough healthy staff are probably the biggest issues we face in the healthcare community.

Does it seem to you that people here understand the dangers and are taking appropriate actions to protect themselves?

I've actually been pleased with the response we've gotten, I think people are taking it seriously, which is important in this phase to make the biggest impact in decreasing the spread of the virus.

If I were a health care worker right now, I'd be pretty scared. How is your staff handling this situation?

Our employees deal with infectious diseases every day. For us it's the uncertainty of potentially not having enough supplies and staff to provide the care our patients need.

Does Share have plenty of n95 masks for staff?

Currently we have plenty. The concern for all hospitals is that the supply will not keep up with the demand in the weeks ahead.

Do you have something set up already that helps staff cope emotionally with things like a lot of death, increasingly high demands and longer work hours, and whatever other kind of fallout will hit them?

We do not currently have anything in place.

What other kinds of fallout will hit them?

Most likely the biggest challenges will be the staff themselves getting sick and they will likely suffer from exhaustion.

Is there something people in the community can do to help Share or health care workers and, by extension, everyone who will eventually need Share's services?

Honestly the best thing everyone can do at this point is to do their part in helping to control the spread of the virus by educating yourself on the Covid-19 virus. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and if you are sick, stay home!

Is there anything else you'd like to say to the community?

We appreciate the community's support during this historic time.


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