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Meritus put on red and yellow alert Tuesday

December 14, 2010|DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Build it and they will come — to the Emergency Department at Meritus Medical Center.

In just the few days since the new hospital outside Hagerstown opened its doors to patients, the medical center has been running above it projections for the flow of patients to the emergency room, spokeswoman Nicole Jovel said.

She said there were about 220 patients on Sunday in a department that budgeted for a patient flow of about 195 a day.

The hospital was on yellow alert, meaning all of its Emergency Department beds were full, starting at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jovel said. Meritus has 53 Emergency Department beds, she said.

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It was put on red alert, meaning all of its telemetry-monitored beds were full at about the same time, she said.

“Typically, when we’re on red and yellow alert, emergency medical services personnel are diverted to the next closest hospital,” Jovel said.

There also have been a few minor glitches during the transistion, including a software program for the center’s Meditech medical information technology system that was down for about an hour Tuesday afternoon, Jovel said.

“The issue was quickly isolated and resolved,” she said.

The red and yellow alerts were unrelated to the computer issue, Jovel said.

“We’re just seeing a high volume of individuals,” Jovel said, adding that the beginning of cold and flu season could be contributing to the influx.

— Staff Writer Heather Keels contributed to this story.

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