The good news: University Hospital is seeing a steady increase in patient volume, both in admissions and outpatient treatment. Ditto for clinic visits and Emergency Department traffic.
The challenge: Health-care workers, both clinical and nonclinical, must use available manpower, space and resources to continue providing quality care to patients as University Hospital stays at or near capacity.
"For July through December, we've seen steadily increasing volume in the Emergency Department, inpatient admissions, and other visits," said Dr. Alan Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.
In fact, through December 2014, the University of Mississippi Medical Center had recorded a 9 percent hike in inpatient admissions during the previous year, said Kevin Cook, CEO of University Hospitals and Health System.
"I firmly believe that the community votes with its feet," Cook said. "When more people come in your door, I see that as a vote of confidence.
"It's a nice problem to have."
In a January memo to the UMMC family, Dr. LouAnn Woodward said the Medical Center is analyzing the full spectrum of hospital capacity.
In recent months, "we have seen increased patient volumes in nearly every patient care setting, exceeding volume levels previously experienced," said Woodward, who succeeded Dr. James Keeton as vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the medical school on March 1. "For a variety of reasons, however, the increased volumes have created capacity issues.
"We have experienced capacity and flow challenges in all areas of the hospital, including ICUs, inpatient units, operating rooms and the Emergency Department."
Those increases in volume are straining the system, Jones and Woodward said.