115 Kansas hospitals used Motient program during COVID surge
By SHERMAN SMITH
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has extended an agreement with Motient for use of a patient transfer system used by 115 hospitals statewide.
Known as Mission Control, the program helps overwhelmed hospitals find available bed space for acute care patients. The software also provides a real-time view of surging cases of COVID-19 that require hospitalization.
Motient announced that KDHE would continue to pay for the service. The agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for the cost and length of the deal.
Under the agreement, hospitals and correctional facilities in Kansas can use the software for free, the company said.
“Motient’s assistance has been invaluable during the pandemic, and its 24/7 communications team has helped our communities weather the hospital capacity crisis,” said Ashley Goss, deputy KDHE secretary, in a statement released by Motient. “We’re excited to continue to provide free patient movement services not only for our state’s hospitals but also for our correctional facilities, which face unique challenges. Aggregated statewide metrics will continue to play an important role in supporting the health of Kansans through the pandemic and beyond.”
KDHE previously awarded a one-year, $1.3 million grant to the company in November 2020. Hospitals in Kansas used Mission Control to transfer more than 5,000 patients in 12 months.
Mission Control provides information on available bed space, patient conditions, and available transportation among medical care providers, including those beyond state lines. The program is designed to take less than a minute for someone to enter all of the information needed to move a patient from one hospital to another.
Rural hospitals with little acute care resources and hospitals with nursing shortages relied on the software during surges of COVID-19 cases last winter and when the delta variant stressed networks in August and September.
“We started using the platform to find beds, and now we use it for more than 90% of our transfer patients,” said Alana Longwell, chief medical officer at the 25-bed Newman Regional Hospital in Emporia, in a statement provided by Motient. “The platform lets us slice and dice our data around time-critical diagnoses to help us increase efficiency and improve our transport processes.”
As of Monday, KDHE had reported 6,743 deaths since the start of the pandemic, including 57 deaths added to the total from Dec. 1-6.
The agency also has reported more than 12,000 new cases since the start of the month, for a seven-day average of 1,785 cases per day — the highest mark since Jan. 17. During the delta surge, new cases peaked at an average of 1,654 in early September.
KDHE is expected to update numbers of cases, deaths, hospitalizations and outbreak locations by Wednesday afternoon.