BayCare to Pause Some Elective Surgeries in All Pinellas County Hospitals
Today St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg announced that starting Tuesday, Aug. 10, it will pause elective surgical procedures that require an overnight stay in order to reserve resources for the urgent and emergent needs of severely ill patients. Now all BayCare hospitals in Pinellas County have made this adjustment to accommodate the recent surge in COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization.
“With 14 acute care hospitals in four counties across West Central Florida, each facility has made operational adjustments when needed to best serve that specific community,” said BayCare Chief Operating Officer Glenn Waters. “We will determine at a later date when we can reschedule these appointments and deeply regret the impact this has on people who are directly impacted by the delay.”
Elective procedures are those that can be delayed without danger to the patient. By limiting surgeries that can be scheduled, hospitals gain staff and resources to care for those with urgent health care needs that require immediate attention. BayCare 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.
“We know patients plan carefully for any surgery and we have carefully considered each decision to pause any service,” Waters said. “The changes we make are necessary to ensure a safe environment for our patients, physicians and staff.”
BayCare has seen a record number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients this week, surpassing all previous peaks. The vast majority of these patients are not vaccinated.
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 have paused 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.
On Monday, Aug. 9, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey will pause elective procedures that require an overnight stay. The same is true for Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Mease Countryside Hospital and Mease Dunedin Hospital – all located in Pinellas County.
On Tuesday, Aug. 10, St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Peterburg will pause elective procedures that require an overnight stay.
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.
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.