Carle Hospital partners with CUMTD

By Emily Sokolik

A “memorandum of understanding” – a kind of formal agreement – was established between the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and Carle Hospital at the MTD board meeting Wednesday, said Tom Costello, assistant managing director for the MTD.

In the event of a large-scale local disaster, some patients can now be transported to the MTD’s main bus warehouse and garage in Urbana for temporary care. Costello said the MTD facilties will serve as a “treatment and triage area” to ensure that a large number of patients are accomodated.

“Let’s say, for example, that Bromley Hall collapses,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of problems. Carle Hospital couldn’t deal with all of that.”

Patients who are transported to the MTD facility will be treated there until they can either be discharged or moved to Carle or another hospital in the state, said Allison McLaughlin, public relations specialist for Carle.

“You’re basically setting up a hospital in a different location,” she said. “You never know where (a disaster is) going to hit.”

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Carle partnered with the University in 2005 and began using Memorial Stadium to run drills and as a potential treatment space. But the current stadium construction project has led the hospital to search for additional triage locations.

“The (MTD) facility is a wonderful space because it’s very large and can hold hundreds of patients,” said Anita Guffey, disaster planner for Carle. “There’s also a back-up generator and fuel.”

Guffey said Carle has received more than $1.5 million in federal grants over the past few years to cover the cost of resources like cots and medication for patients treated at the facility. All medical equipment is stored in a nearby warehouse.

She added that the new space can be transformed into a self-contained hospital within two hours and can accomodate up to 500 patients at one time.