Ballad to Resume Certain Elective Procedures as COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decline | Covid19

A month after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the Appalachian Highlands prompted Ballad Health to postpone all elective and elective surgeries, the healthcare system is now preparing to resume some procedures.

Eric Deaton, director of operations for Ballad Health and incident commander for its corporate emergency operations center, announced the change at a press conference Wednesday morning.

From Wednesday, Ballad hospitals again began offering elective surgeries that do not require overnight stays. Patients are currently contacted by their provider’s offices to plan procedures, and the capacity of each facility is determined by the staffing and space availability of each hospital.

All establishments which have not resumed certain elective procedures on Wednesday will resume these procedures on Monday.

“This summer we had to prepare for a high volume of COVID-19 patients and plan for the worst-case scenario, which unfortunately forced us to cut some services. Given the limitations of available staff, it was necessary to take these steps to ensure the safest possible environment for our patients and team members, ”said Deaton. “We are grateful for the continued cooperation and contribution of everyone – from the medical staff who provided advice, expertise and support, to the team members who continue to rise to the challenge and meet the needs of our patients. patients, wherever they are.

Ballad Health did not put any team members on leave during the deferral period, but many affected team members have been asked to provide support in various areas at the facilities in which they work. This change allowed Ballad Health to prioritize the most critical and urgent patients and tackle the worst COVID-19 outbreak it has seen to date, with a record 413 COVID-hospitalized patients. 19 September 7 and an all-time high. number of 112 COVID-19 patients in its intensive care units on September 13.

Measures taken by Ballad Health to limit elective elective surgeries that are not urgent have helped mitigate the impact on Ballad Health’s capacity as volumes shifted from surgery to COVID-19 and other urgent medical admissions. Deaton and other Ballad Health executives, however, warn the system is still seeing a high number of COVID-19 patients, who need additional support for frontline team members.

Ballad was caring for 324 COVID-19 patients at its facilities on Wednesday, up from 371 the week before. Ninety-seven of those hospitalized on Wednesday were in intensive care and 73 on ventilators.

“We have to face the new reality of the pandemic, in which we must care for hundreds of COVID-19 hospital patients while providing the health services our community needs and deserves,” said Deaton. “We will do all we can to support our team members in these areas with the help they need, and we will continue to advocate for our communities to get vaccinated, wear masks and follow preventive measures to bring these cases to a heel. “

Of the 324 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Ballad establishments, 94% are not vaccinated. Ninety-eight percent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units are not vaccinated and 99% of COVID-19 patients on ventilators are not vaccinated.

Currently, the only elective or elective surgeries scheduled at Ballad Health hospitals are those that do not require an overnight stay, and the capacity of each facility is determined by hospital staff and space. Ballad Health executives, however, are hopeful that the service can be extended in the coming weeks.

To determine which procedures are classified as elective, Ballad Health will continue to follow the Elective Surgery Acuity Scale, which was developed by the University of St. Louis and is recommended by the American College of Surgeons as hospitals and health systems respond to challenges posed by COVID-19[FEMININE[FEMININE

As examples, postponed procedures included low-acuity surgeries for healthy and unhealthy patients, such as hernia repair, cholecystectomy, cardiac and interventional radiology procedures, cosmetic surgeries. and plastics, podiatric procedures, vasectomies, bariatrics, arthroplasties, screening endoscopies and essential spine surgery.

In coordination with the respective presidents of medical staff and those responsible for surgery and anesthesiology, Ballad Health will continuously assess its ability to return to full services, taking into account the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the projected volumes. , the demand of patients in urgent care and emergency services requiring medical or surgical admission and the staff available.

“We will continue to monitor the numbers of our COVID-19 patients. If we continue to see a decrease in hospitalizations, we will bring back more and more elective surgeries in the future,” Deaton said.

Heather Smith, a woman whose father, Leeroy Garland, died of COVID-19 a few weeks ago, spoke at Ballad’s press conference on Wednesday.

Smith said his father was not vaccinated after buying false information about COVID-19, specifically the false equivalence between the flu and the flu vaccine, and COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Her father, who once had a severe reaction to a flu shot decades ago while in the military, never thought of having a conversation with his doctor about the differences between the flu shot. flu and the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think very strongly that if my dad had been vaccinated he would still be with us today. It’s a horrible, horrible death to see someone you love die of COVID-19,” Smith said. “My father, on his literal deathbed, reached out and grabbed my brother by the collar and said, ‘Pull me over.'”

Smith said his 61-year-old father was in good health. He was not overweight and had no comorbidities.

Deaton continued to urge locals to get vaccinated to help prevent further deaths.

“This is all preventable. We know that,” Deaton said. “Please do the right thing and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

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