Yale University and Yale New Haven Health partner to expand access to field hospital
The multi-hospital Yale New Haven Health system will assume operation of Yale University’s Lanman Center field hospital in a collaboration that increases the system’s patient capacity and enables expanded access to medical care for the people of greater New Haven during the fight against COVID-19.
Yale Health — the primary health care provider for Yale University students, faculty, staff, and their families — opened the field hospital in March. Yale Health’s state license restricts it to treating members of the university community. Transferring operational control to the hospital broadens access to the general public, a university priority.
“Working in collaboration with Yale University, Yale Medicine, and the City of New Haven, we have been able to activate more than 100 beds at the Lanman Center to give us additional capacity in the event of a massive influx of patients with COVID-19,” said health system CEO Marna P. Borgstrom. “In moments like these, the true essence of partnership emerges as we work to enhance the heroic efforts of our healthcare providers.”
It remains to be determined what level of care the field hospital will provide — it has no patients yet — but the health system is projecting a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the coming weeks.
“We’ve seen a pretty significant and fluid motion of COVID-19 cases from our most southwestern hospital in Greenwich, near the New York border, up the I-95 corridor,” said Vin Petrini, the health system’s senior vice president for public affairs. “You can track the cases as they come farther north through the state. We’re starting to see an influx of cases at Bridgeport Hospital and in New Haven, as well.”
As of April 9, the Yale New Haven Health system was caring for 641 COVID-19 patients. Of those, 352 patients were being cared for at Yale New Haven Hospital.
The health system, which normally has a patient capacity of 1,541, has expanded its capacity to 1,909 because of efforts to make beds available at the Lanman Center, Southern Connecticut State University, and the Yale New Haven Shoreline Medical Center.
“We want Yale’s Lanman Center field hospital to be utilized in a way that maximizes its benefits for New Haven and surrounding communities,” said President Peter Salovey. “Now that the Yale New Haven Health system will take over its daily operations, our field hospital will be able to help those who need it the most. It will serve patients in our region and reduce the burden on hospitals in our area. I am immensely grateful to everyone who made this possible.”
The university’s initial conversion of the Lanman Center into a field hospital required months of planning and construction. Part of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the center is normally used for athletics, including basketball, volleyball, badminton, and indoor jogging.
In addition to bringing in beds and supplies, workers installed hand washing stations around the gym and built metal-framed rooms to house decontamination areas.
Yale Health Director Dr. Paul Genecin said Yale Health is supporting the transition in every way possible, such as sharing detailed guidelines, standard operating procedures, and safety policies developed specifically for the Lanman Center.
“Everyone is concerned about hospital capacity,” he said. “If we can assist the hospital in this way, it will help everyone in the Yale community, in the New Haven community and beyond.”