Jefferson Health Sciences has seen its patient volumes double over the last year, according to an internal memo sent to employees this week.
The medical unit is struggling to recruit and retain new physicians, according the memo, and the company is struggling with an aging workforce.
The memo noted that the unit has also experienced “significant staffing shortages” and is seeking to hire new physicians.
Jefferson Health says it is “aware of a significant increase in physician-related hospitalizations in Jefferson and has been working with our physician network to address this issue.”
The memo said that the department “has seen a significant rise in hospitalizations related to COVID-19,” including a 30 per cent increase over the previous two years.
In 2016, the department had about 11,000 full-time and part-time physicians.
That number has more than doubled to 14,000 in 2017.
The internal memo also noted that Jefferson Health has seen a “significant increase in non-residential hospitalizations due to COV-19.”
It added that the number of hospitalizations at the Jefferson Health Medical Center “has grown over the past two years, increasing from 6,500 in 2016 to 10,000 [in 2017].”
The memo also said that Jefferson has “increasingly experienced issues with recruitment and retention” of physicians, as well as with the ability to keep the hospital open.
The hospital has about 30 physicians, and it is seeking additional physicians to fill vacancies.
It has hired about 2,500 full- and part, new physicians this year, the memo said.
Jefferson has struggled to fill the vacancy at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in downtown Ottawa, where the coronavirus outbreak has affected about 1,500 residents.
That hospital is not yet equipped to handle the influx of patients.
In Ottawa, there were about 1.7 million cases of coronaviruses last year.
There have been more than 8,000 deaths, according a health official.
The city said there were more than 5,000 cases of COVID and at least 9,000 fatalities.
The Ontario government has pledged to provide $2 million to Jefferson to help it meet the health needs of the population.
It is also paying for health care services at other hospitals in Ottawa, including the hospital at the corner of St. Clair Ave.
W. and Lansdowne Rd. and the hospital in St. Andrews, where a new pediatric hospital is set to open next year.
The health ministry has also offered to pay for the costs of operating a new outpatient unit at the new Lansdownes hospital.
The province has also provided the unit with a special levy of $500,000.
As part of the government’s efforts to keep its hospitals open, Ottawa has increased its COVID vaccine prices by $5 a dose.