Plan for Resuming Non-Emergency Procedures Follows State, Local Guidelines
Announced by state and local health officials, St. Joseph Medical Center
plans to resume most of its services by the by the end of May, including
elective surgeries and procedures. Although things will look different
at the hospital, the necessary precautions are being put into place to
keep patients and staff safe. The hospital is also urging those community
members who have put off seeking medical care for their urgent healthcare
needs unrelated to COVID-19 to not ignore their signs or symptoms due
to fear and uncertainty about the hospital’s safety.
“We want to reassure our community members that we have implemented
numerous additional protocols to ensure the health and safety of our patients,
visitors and our clinical teams,” says Jodi Fincher, 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.”
In addition to its routine rigorous standards for sanitation and prevention
that earned the hospital the highest “A” rating in recent
Leapfrog scores, St. Joseph 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 St. Joseph Medical Center was
also formed to ensure safe resumption of essential health care services,
including non-emergency surgeries and procedures.
“We want to pledge to our patients and community that we are implementing
best practices and will do everything we can to keep them safe,”
Fincher says. “The hospital will carefully monitor the coronavirus’s
ongoing impact to the community, and we will maintain our ability to properly
respond to it while also serving other patients with the essential care
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 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
- 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 from the facilities.
- Technology-enabled solutions that minimize patients’ time in waiting
areas are being advanced.
- Collaboration with major commercial lab companies to increase testing onsite
“We have been thoughtful and deliberate in carefully preparing for
the re-opening of many postponed services,” Fincher adds. “St.
Joseph Medical Center has maintained historically strict standards for
infectious diseases while following updated guidance from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to ensure the safety of all.
We continue to monitor the numbers closely in our area to ensure our protocols
follow the data and can quickly respond to any potential resurgence.
Fincher 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. Joseph Medical
Center in our shared commitment to protect our health and safety, today
and every day.”