NEWS RELEASE: As the statewide ban on non-essential procedures and operations lifts, Carilion is implementing plans to gradually resume non-essential surgical and procedural services.
“Ramping up services is a complex process,” said Michael Nussbaum, M.D., senior vice president and chair of the Department of Surgery. “While we look forward to welcoming patients back and rescheduling procedures that were postponed, we know this is a long-term process that must be done in a safe and smart way.”
While non-essential procedures were paused, Carilion’s operating rooms system-wide were running at 25 to 30 percent of normal capacity. Carilion plans to gradually increase operating room volumes to 50 percent in the coming weeks and, in the coming months, return to full capacity.
“COVID-19 will continue to exist in our community for some time to come,” said Nussbaum, who is also leading the team responsible for restoring services. “Because of that, we’re working through the processes required to keep our patients, staff and community safe while still making sure they have access to their needed surgical care.”
Carilion is now resuming operations and procedures because personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing is more widely available. Physician and administrative leaders have established a daily meeting to assess the status of the pandemic in the region and determine to what degree the health system’s approach, processes and policies need to be adjusted.
As operations resume, strict precautions introduced during the pandemic will remain. Screenings, visitor restrictions, social distancing and masking for visitors and patients will continue to be in place for the foreseeable future.
Every patient who is scheduled for an operation or procedure will be carefully evaluated using objective criteria that assess their risk and readiness. Once scheduled, patients will be asked to isolate for five days prior to being tested for COVID-19. Upon receiving a negative test, patients will undergo their procedure.
Providers are currently working to evaluate patients whose elective procedures were postponed and will contact patients to reschedule them. Patients do not need to contact providers to reschedule cancelled appointments.