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Written By:Alex Colley

Plan for Resuming Non-Emergency Procedures in Accordance with State, Local Guidelines

Following newly released COVID-19 guidelines announced by state and local health officials, St. Mary’s Medical Center is beginning to resume most of its services this month, including elective surgeries and procedures. Although things will look different at the hospital, all necessary precautions are being put into place to keep patients and staff safe.

In addition, the hospital is urging those community members who have put off seeking medical care for their urgent healthcare needs unrelated to COVID-19 not to ignore their signs or symptoms due to fear and uncertainty about the hospital’s safety.

“Our community members can rest assured knowing we have implemented numerous additional protocols to ensure the health and safety of our patients, visitors and clinical teams,” says Drew Grossman, CEO. “We are here to take care of our community and are well-equipped to handle any health concerns they may have. They can move forward with peace of mind in scheduling appointments or visiting our emergency room.”

Furthermore, its routine rigorous standards for sanitation and prevention earned the hospital an “A” rating in recent Leapfrog scores, for the fifth time in a row. St. Mary’s Medical Center is also following new guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses and the American Hospital Association. A committee of physicians and other clinical leaders at the hospital was formed to ensure safe resumption of essential health care services, including non-emergency surgeries and procedures.

“We are committed to implementing best practices and will do everything we can to keep our patients and community safe,” Grossman says. “The hospital will carefully monitor the coronavirus’s ongoing impact to the community, and maintain our ability to properly respond to it while also serving other patients with the essential care they need.”

The hospital’s enhanced precautions to ensure a safe environment for health care delivery include:

  • All patients and visitors must pass through a hospital screening station where temperatures are taken prior to entering the building.
  • COVID-19 patients are isolated from non-COVID-19 patients. All patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to any elective surgery.
  • Non-COVID-19 patients, as well as those receiving outpatient care, or patients with scheduled procedures, are treated in separate areas and are assigned caregivers who are not concurrently caring for COVID-19 positive patients.
  • Updated visitor policies, including limitations, remain in place. Surgery patients are allowed one visitor to the hospital to accompany them to the waiting area.
  • Universal masking is required throughout the facility which exceeds CDC guidelines. The hospital continues to have adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for patients, visitors, clinicians and caregivers.
  • Heightened infection prevention policies have been instituted, including removal of high-touch items such as magazines have been removed from the facilities.
  • Technology-enabled solutions that minimize patients’ time in facility waiting areas are being advanced.
  • Collaboration with major commercial lab companies to increase testing onsite is ongoing.

“We have been thoughtful and deliberate in carefully preparing for the re-opening of many postponed services,” Grossman adds. “St. Mary’s Medical Center has maintained historically strict standards for infectious diseases while following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we will continue to do so to ensure the safety of all.”

Grossman adds that everyone should continue to follow current CDC guidance regarding social distancing and hand hygiene.

“As we re-open our cities and work to establish a new normal routine, I especially want to thank our community leaders for their guidance during this unprecedented challenge and for standing with St. Mary’s Medical Center in our shared commitment to protecting our health and safety, today and every day.”