Officials from HCA Midwest Health, which includes Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence among seven metro area hospitals, say their facilities have seen an influx of patients with COVID-19 symptoms, but they still have some surge capacity and have necessary supplies and equipment “at this point.”


Emergency planning efforts started months ago and have picked up as coronavirus activity increased in the Kansas City region, HCA said in a statement. The company said it couldn’t provide “real-time” numbers on patient volume, and available beds and ventilators, given the fluidity in such figures, but said it has made staffing contingencies “to ensure we are prepared for an influx of patients” and has the ability to add bed capacity in certain areas of hospitals if needed. HCA Midwest has also reviewed practices from other HCA hospitals around the country that had already experienced a COVID-19 patient surge.


An HCA Midwest spokesperson said the eighth floor of Counterpoint, built as part of the 2018 expansion but left open and shelled off for future expanded use, is not part of the emergency surge plan. All told, the hospital has 285 beds after that expansion, which included 12 additional intensive care unit beds.


“We have part of the first floor dedicated to our surge plan if that occurs,” spokesperson Christine Hamele said.


The hope everywhere, of course, is to avoid that surge need. To that end, Kimberly Megow, HCA Midwest’s chief medical officer, said in a release, it will take a “collective effort for our community, patients and families” to take all precautions to limit risk of exposure to others – including washing hands, covering coughs, wiping down high-traffic surface areas, avoiding touching one’s face and seriously honoring stay-at-home orders.


Right now, HCA Midwest said, “We have the supplies and equipment we need and are doing everything possible to secure additional products,” while also recognizing the current worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment like masks, face shields and gowns. The medical group has also canceled all non-essential surgeries during the pandemic.


Lee’s Summit Medical Center in southern Lee’s Summit, the next-closest HCA Midwest hospital, has 80 beds total, according to the hospital website. Other hospitals in the system are located in Belton, Lexington, Overland Park, Kansas (Overland Park Regional and Menorah) and Research in Kansas City.