FRAMINGHAM – MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham notified local first responders to “divert” labor & delivery patients until “further notice” this morning, December 24.
The Tenet-owned hospital said it was having “staffing” issues and that its Labor & Delivery department is on “diversion.”
Those giving birth, who call an ambulance, will be diverted to another hospital – Newton-Wellesley Hospital or Milford Hospital.
If someone drives themselves to MetroWest Medical Center, under this “diversion” an ambulance would be called to take them to another hospital.
SOURCE reached out to MetroWest Medical Center/Tenet for comment. No statement was received.
UPDATE: On Monday, December 26 after 9 a.m., MetroWest Medical Center informed local first responders it would accept labor & delivery patients again.
This is the second time this year, that patients have been diverted at the Framingham-based hospital.
In 2009, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to successfully ban ambulance diversion. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) directive prohibited ambulance diversion except in cases of internal hospital disasters.
The Commonwealth told the hospital, its diversion was not appropriate.
“On Wednesday, April 20, 2022 the Department of Public Health (Department) became aware of a reported IT failure affecting several major computer systems at MetroWest Medical Center (Hospital). The Hospital declared Code Black status at that time. During subsequent days the Hospital has moved
between Code Black status and normal operations as the IT failure has evolved. Currently the Hospital has been unable to provide the Department with an estimated timeline for resolution of the IT issues. The Department is concerned with the Hospital’s use of Code Black status for these IT failures,” wrote the Commonwealth to then MetroWest Medical CEO Ava Collins.
She has since resigned and a new CEO has been hired.
Code Black policy expressly defines when a hospital Emergency Department (ED) is closed due to an internal emergency. These include, but are not limited
to events such as:
• Hazardous material spills or releases;
• Other environmental contamination;
• Power or other utility failures;
• Bomb threats; or
• Violent or hostile actions impacting the Emergency Department
“The Code Black policy does not contemplate IT failure. As noted in the policy, an interruption in service alone or a temporary change in the Emergency Department capabilities is not an allowable reason for a hospital to declare Code Black status. The Hospital’s inappropriate use of Code Black constitutes diversion, which is not allowed in Massachusetts. While the Department understands the technology challenges presented during this current downtime, it expects the hospital to continue managing the care required for its patients while notifying the Region and Central Medical Emergency Direction Center (CMED) of a temporary change in ED capabilities as needed, such as notifying them that stroke and/or cath lab services are offline. Additionally, the Department strongly recommends the hospital continue to communicate with the regional Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition (HMCC) as needed,” wrote Stephen Davis, the Commonweath’s Director of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification on April 22, 2022.