Elective and Non-Urgent Surgeries and Procedures to Resume

May 1, 2020

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (May 1, 2020) – Providence Health announced today that it is taking the appropriate steps to safely resume some elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures that were previously rescheduled out of an abundance of caution amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision to reschedule procedures when clinically appropriate was made in accordance with federal and state guidance and aimed to help preserve critical resources in the event of a surge of COVID-19 patients in the community. Today, current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources.

“Resuming these important services is an essential component of meeting our community’s health needs and advancing our mission of Making Communities Healthier by Extending Christ’s Healing Ministry,” said Terry Gunn, Chief Executive Officer of Providence Health. “As this work gradually gets underway in our hospitals again, we remain committed to conserving critical supplies, being vigilant in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that our facilities are safe places for all patients, providers and employees.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Health has continued to carefully follow guidance from federal, state and local officials, monitor the prevalence of the virus in the community, and evaluate supplies and resources – including personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves and goggles.

The decisions about which procedures can safely move forward will be made only after assessing a comprehensive pre-operative checklist and evaluating potential risks. The hospitals will initially focus on scheduling patients with more time-sensitive health needs, and those decisions will be made in partnership with the attending physician/surgeon/proceduralist. Patients who are scheduled and approved for procedures must meet specific requirements, including passing standard COVID-19 screenings. Surgical patients also will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven days prior to their procedure to minimize potential exposure; check their temperature twice a day during this 7-day period and report temperatures over 100°F to their provider; and undergo testing for COVID-19.

Patients awaiting information about their previously postponed procedure can expect to hear from their provider or provider’s office to discuss rescheduling at the appropriate time.

Providence Health will continue to screen everyone who enters the facilities and mask everyone in patient care areas and maintain a zero-visitor protocol for the foreseeable future. These important measures have had a positive impact on ensuring a safe environment, and they also are aligned with the federal government’s guidelines. Additionally, our facilities have implemented new processes and procedures to further protect the health of patients, providers and employees. Visit YourProvidenceHealth.com to learn more.

As a reminder, if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, tell the dispatch agent if your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.