By Clay Coleman
VANDALIA—Hospitals throughout the state are starting to reschedule elective surgical procedures, suspended because of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout the country.
“As we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our communities closely,” said Mike Baumgartner, regional president of SSM Health in Mid-Missouri, “we feel it is safe to begin scheduling these procedures. Our primary focus will be on patients who have delayed non-urgent but essential treatment.”
SSM St. Mary’s Hospital in Mexico, and Boone Hospital Center located in Columbia, began scheduling elective and no-emergent surgeries like mammographies, GI procedures, imaging services, and cardiac catheterizations on May 4.
“This will be a gradual process,” said Robin Blount, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of Boone Hospital Center. “We will closely monitor the schedules to ensure waiting rooms don’t become crowded, and we will continue to monitor our resources and the development of COVID-19 in mid-Missouri so that we can adjust as necessary.”
Before seeing patients for elective procedures, area hospitals will continue to enforce social distancing, patient and staff screenings, utilizing alternate entrances, and providing personal protective equipment.
“We are making sure that all of our patients, staff, and providers are safe,” said Blount. “We will continue to screen everyone who enters the hospital, strictly enforce hand hygiene and social distancing, and provide all necessary personal protective equipment.”