CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 19, 2020)
– To serve the public’s health amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, BayCare Health System is postponing elective surgical procedures starting Friday (March 20) through April 30 at its hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. BayCare hospitals will continue to do urgent and emergent procedures as needed for any patient.
“With the virus still spreading, this is the prudent and responsible thing to do for our community,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, Chief Medical Officer for BayCare Health System. “We do not want to put patients, team members or physicians unnecessarily in harm’s way. We are 100 percent committed to continuing to take care of patients who need urgent or emergent procedures at this time.”
The change applies to procedures that can be delayed without danger to the patient. Examples of procedures impacted are elective surgeries, screening colonoscopies, catheterization laboratory procedures, interventional radiology studies and sleep lab studies.
BayCare will determine at a later date when to start rescheduling appointments.
BayCare hospital and surgery centers began notifying providers of the change late Wednesday. The health care system is also establishing a clinical review process to consider requests by patients or doctors who receive a cancellation notice but believe the procedure is medically necessary and should proceed.
“We take our mission of serving our community’s health needs very seriously,” Dr. Anand said. “At this moment in time, this is in our community’s best interest.”
For weeks, BayCare has been adapting its operations to respond to the novel coronavirus, including extensive work detailing how and when to shift resources and assets to respond to the spread of the virus. Health care providers have two challenges: How to care for the increasing number of COVID-19 patients while simultaneously protecting team members, physicians, patients and the broader community from the virus’ spread.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Surgeon General encouraged hospitals to consider stopping elective surgical procedures to conserve personal protection equipment and free up other resources.
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.