LITTLETON, NH – As many have come to realize over the last several weeks, scheduling an appointment to receive a COVID-19 though the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) is problematic. On a local level, Littleton Fire Rescue and Littleton Regional Healthcare were both affected by recent statewide scheduling errors.
To Littleton Regional Healthcare’s surprise, their internal vaccination clinic designated for their personnel was opened to the public when Phase 1B appointments officially opened in late January. Following this scheduling error, LRH was notified that all of the appointments booked in their closed clinic by mistake would be cancelled and need to be rebooked. LRH was determined to notify as many individuals as possible so they could get into VAMS early and rebook their appointment. Not surprisingly, confusion and frustration at all fronts ensued. Many of those affected were not able to rebook an appointment until a much later date and for some, they couldn’t rebook a new appointment at all.
From left to right: Koren Superchi, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services of Littleton Regional Healthcare; Michael McQuillen, Chief of Department for Littleton Fire Rescue and Emergency Management Director; and Robert Nutter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Littleton Regional Healthcar
When the individuals affected by the cancellations did get into VAMS to rebook, they were faced with another system error yet again. Littleton Fire Department was erroneously listed as a public vaccination site and available to be selected by the public for their appointment. Littleton Fire Rescue was overwhelmed with rescheduled appointments that they were not prepared for. Littleton Fire was established as a vaccination site for area first responders only, so when additional appointments began populating into their clinic, LFR was shocked and confused. As Littleton Fire tried to manage the influx of new appointments, they learned that their colleagues down the road at LRH were facing challenges of their own and trying to accommodate the inundation of new appointments.
LFR and LRH quickly joined forces to brainstorm possible solutions. After a week of arduous meetings and many conference calls with the State of New Hampshire, the hospital and fire department assembled a combined vaccination site on the hospital campus to administer as many vaccines to as many individuals as they could.
Chief of Department for Littleton Fire Rescue and the Emergency Management Director, Michael McQuillen, wishes to recognize LRH for their collaborative efforts along with Littleton Fire Rescue members. “A special thank you to LRH’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Nutter, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, Dr. Edward Duffy, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services, Koren Superchi, Littleton Fire Rescue’s Captain Chad Miller, and Littleton Firefighter William Latulip, who all spent many hours on the phone determining how and when to secure vaccine doses and navigating the logistics of setting up this central vaccination site.”
The appreciation for Littleton Fire Rescue is shared by those at LRH. President and Chief Executive Officer at Littleton Regional Healthcare, Robert Nutter, noted, “Both the hospital and the fire department have one common goal and that is to serve our community. This partnership allows us provide the maximum number of vaccines possible and that’s what matters right now. We are always pleased to get the opportunity to collaborate with our local emergency services to better serve our region.”
As of February 3rd, the vaccination clinics at the Littleton Fire Department have transitioned to Littleton Regional Healthcare. As Littleton Fire works through their remaining scheduled appointments through the month of February, Littleton Fire staff will be on-site at LRH to provide vaccines to those that had originally scheduled to receive their vaccine at the fire department. LRH will then absorb that volume and the Littleton Fire Department will no longer appear as a vaccination site option in VAMS.
For more information, please contact Chief Michael McQuillen, Littleton Fire Rescue.