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Ascension Providence implements phased approach to return to surgeries, other healthcare services

Posted at 11:07 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 12:07:27-04

WACO, TX — Ascension Providence is resuming regular surgical procedures with a "phased and cautious approach" starting Monday.

Ascension Providence is anticipating resuming surgical procedures and other vital healthcare services for patients at its sites of care in a phased and cautious approach with a focus on quality and safety, effective April 27.

The hospital says all efforts are in alignment with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order dated April 17, 2020.

Ascension Providence says they will begin scheduled surgeries and procedures, prioritizing those that are more urgent, while simultaneously ensuring continued capability and safety to provide care for COVID-19 patients.

Ascension Providence will continue with many safety measures already in place, including visitor restrictions and temperature checks for any individual entering the hospital, and will also require a negative COVID-19 test for any patient scheduled for surgery.

“We understand that a number of individuals in our local communities have emergent and essential healthcare needs outside of COVID-19, many of which cannot be delayed or deferred without serious health risks,” said Philip Patterson, President of Ascension Providence. “Our return to surgery approach is clinically led, working with our physicians to implement a strategy that will keep our patients, associates and physicians safe, and is fully in compliance with Governor Abbott’s executive order.”

Ascension Providence has provided surgical and procedural care only when it was medically emergent since March 22 in response to the pandemic.

The hospital says they will now begin scheduling additional surgeries, prioritizing urgent procedures which have no non-procedural alternatives that meet community medical standards and are not emergent, but cannot be further delayed due to adverse healthcare risks.

All patients with a scheduled surgery must test for COVID-19 at least 48 hours prior to their planned surgery date and receive a negative test result. Following the test, patients will be asked to self quarantine until their surgery date.

Additionally, Ascension Providence will continue a number of safety measures already in place, including advanced telehealth capabilities for virtual care, universal masking, hospital visitor restrictions, social distancing, and screening of all persons upon entry, including temperature check for 99.5 degrees.

Associates or patients who are symptomatic will be referred for testing.

Ascension Providence will also conduct terminal cleaning at the hospital prior to resuming surgeries, and the hospital will have a dedicated, separate entrance for all surgical patients.

“Our recovery phase focuses on providing continued COVID-19 care and surge readiness while supporting our efforts to safely return to serving the community’s broader medically necessary healthcare needs,” said Dr. Brian Becker, Chief Medical Officer of Ascension Providence. “We know this is a fluid situation, and we are prepared to be flexible and responsive to rapidly evolving conditions in our community and our sites of care.”

Ascension Providence says they will continue COVID-19 readiness and response plans to both eliminate the spread of the virus and to immediately manage any possible surge. COVID-19 testing will continue to be available.

Additionally, Ascension Providence remains committed to COVID-19 planning and support through expanded COVID-19 testing at the drive-thru testing center, and comprehensive supply monitoring, including personal protective equipment (PPE), hospital beds, laboratory testing kits, ventilators and medication. Ascension Providence says they will continue to participate in ongoing community surveillance in collaboration with community leaders and local health authorities.

“Our collective efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are working, but the pandemic is not yet over,” said Patterson. “As we look ahead, we ask not only our staff but our community to remain vigilant in masking, practicing social distancing and continuing to follow local orders to stop the spread of the virus.”