CEO of medical facility acts as EMT to help hospital battle influx of patients due to COVID-19

Local News

HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Hospital staff in rural areas are having to do double the work with the influx of patients coming in COVID-19 positive.

“We have challenges with staffing with hiring nurses, with hiring paramedics and EMT’s and so what that means in a rural area is you typically do more then you know my normal CEO job for example,” Jeff Barnhart, CEO, of Hereford Regional Medical Center, explained.

Barnhart, said he is not just running a hospital but jumping into a former role he is familiar with.

His history as a paramedic and his current registration as an EMT allows him to assist when needed,
especially with more people out.

“We also have the issue of staff starting to get sick now and having to fill open holes and with that you know we have to do jobs that we don’t normally do,” Barnhart stated.

Staff said transporting patients in need is something not seen as a burden although, according to Hereford Regional Medical Center, the drives can take a toll on the hospital.

“It definitely takes two crew members out of service for at least five hours if we do a Lubbock transfer and if we do an Amarillo transfer we’re looking at an Amarillo transfer we’re looking at about three hours out of service,” Terry Hazlett, Director of Hereford EMS, said.

To those on the frontlines including Barnhart, the number one priority is getting the patient to the hospital in a safe manor.

“The majority of our patients right now are covid positive. This is not the flu and this is something not to be taken lightly,” Barnhart said

The hospital said if the community wants to lend a hand they can do so by wearing their masks.

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