BayCare to Pause Some Non-Urgent Surgeries in Pasco County
Plan Will Increase Bed Capacity for COVID-19 Patients
CLEARWATER, Fla. (July 10, 2020) – In the interest of public health, BayCare Health System announced today it will begin reducing the number of non-urgent surgeries performed in Morton Plant North Bay, its Pasco County hospital, to ensure there is capacity for a growing number of severely-ill COVID-19 patients.
The temporary change at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital will be effective Monday, July 13, and is in line with changes in Pinellas County that take effect today. BayCare’s Pinellas County hospitals include St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor and Mease Dunedin Hospital in Dunedin.
This does not apply to BayCare’s hospitals in Hillsborough and Polk counties, but would be adopted if those communities also face a dearth of available hospital beds to care for COVID-19 patients.
“These are never easy decisions to make, as so many people see their lives improve after a non-urgent procedure,” said Tommy Inzina, CEO of BayCare Health System. “But this is about making sure our community has the maximum resources at its disposal to address the second peak of this pandemic. We exist to serve our community, particularly during a health crisis.”
Under the plan, all surgeries for life-threatening situations will continue to be performed. And unlike the state-mandated ban on elective surgeries earlier this year, BayCare’s effort will still allow many non-urgent surgeries and procedures to continue. Generally, surgeries that could be deferred are those that are not medically urgent and require overnight recovery in the hospital.
BayCare’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers, which specialize in outpatient surgery and were closed under the earlier government ban on electives, will continue to operate.
“This policy will impact far fewer people’s health care than the previous ban this year on all non-urgent surgeries,” Inzina said. “This is really about one key resource that we need to be sure we have available and that is hospital beds for those battling COVID-19.”
Pasco and Pinellas counties have seen available hospital bed capacity decline significantly in the past month due to rising COVID-19 cases. BayCare continues to work with a wide-range of local officials to support the community during this pandemic.
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit www.BayCare.org.