BayCare to Pause Some Elective Procedures in Pinellas County
To ensure that its hospitals can continue caring for those in our community with urgent health care needs, BayCare is pausing elective surgical procedures that require an overnight stay at most of its hospitals in Pinellas in Pasco counties. These changes take effect Monday, August 9 at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Mease Dunedin Hospital, and Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey.
“As part of BayCare’s commitment to our community, we continue to adjust our operations to do all we can to see our community through this time,” said BayCare Chief Operating Officer Glenn Waters. “Fortunately, with 14 acute care hospitals we are able shift resources to areas of greatest need. As we continue our focus on providing a safe environment for our patients, physicians and staff, citizens can support our efforts by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which has proven to minimize serious infection and hospitalization.”
As of Aug. 4, 2021, about 85% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in BayCare facilities were unvaccinated.
Elective procedures are those that can be delayed without danger to the patient. Urgent and emergent procedures will continue.
BayCare will determine at a later date when to start rescheduling appointments.
Recap of Recent Service Changes
Earlier this week, BayCare paused all elective procedures at its six hospitals in Hillsborough County: St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa; St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz; St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview; and South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City.
The health system’s Polk County hospitals are continuing to pause elective procedures that require an overnight stay in an inpatient bed at Winter Haven Hospital, Winter Haven Women’s Hospitals and Bartow Regional Medical Center.
Recap of Recent Hospital Visitation Changes
As of Aug. 3, 2021, patients are allowed one adult visitor per day during the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. All visitors must wear masks, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, and are to limit their movements in the hospitals to travel to and from the patient’s room. Previously, temporary visitation rules had allowed patients to have multiple adult visitors a day, but only one at a time.
Some areas of our hospitals, such as labor and delivery, moms and newborns, pediatrics and NICU, continue to have extended guidelines.
Visitation remains closed for COVID-19 positive, COVID-19 rule-out and Behavioral Health patients.
Emergency room patients may have one visitor wait with them, as socially-distancing capacity allows. But if emergency waiting rooms become too crowded, visitors will be asked to wait in their vehicle until their patient is placed in a treatment room.
Exceptions to the Visitation Policy may also be made to provide reasonable accommodation to patients with disabilities or special needs and to comply with applicable laws. For details, contact the hospital’s Security or the AOD (Administrator on Duty) and describe the special circumstances.
BayCare hospital and surgery centers began notifying providers of the change on Monday. The health care system has 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.
Supporting our Community
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BayCare has continuously adapted its operations to serve the community during this challenging time, including shifting resources and assets to respond to the spread of the virus – while also making sure facilities are safe and available to serve other health care needs.
In the past month, BayCare hospitals have seen a rapid increase in their patient count, including in COVID-19 patients, due to the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant. BayCare is now caring for more COVID-19 patients than it did during the last peak during July 2020. BayCare urges everyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, as it is the best line of defense against serious complications from a COVID infection.
More details and resources about COVID-19 can be found at BayCare.org/Coronavirus.