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CHI St. Vincent Resumes Limited Elective Procedures While Ensuring Safety of Patients and Staff

CHI St. Vincent has resumed limited elective and non-urgent procedures while taking additional precautions to ensure the ongoing safety of patients and healthcare staff. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the lifting of state restrictions on elective procedures beginning April 27, 2020 and CHI St. Vincent has put necessary precautions in place in coordination with CommonSpirit Health and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) that would allow the resumption of procedures delayed or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That plan includes a careful and detailed approach to determine which procedures can safely be performed, where they can be performed and when they can be performed.

“So many things in our world have changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most hospitals, we stopped performing elective and non-urgent procedures in late March to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients and continue providing patients who required medically necessary procedures with the safest care,” said CHI St. Vincent CEO Chad Aduddell. “We are now safely resuming some elective procedures as part of our healing ministry and compassionate care for the community. “

The resumption of elective procedures will be a gradual process, beginning with lowest risk outpatient procedures and progressing toward more complex surgical procedures. CHI St. Vincent services that began resumption as of Monday, April 27 included breast centers, cardiac rehab programs, and diagnostics that do not have invasive procedures associated with them and do not require prior COVID-19 testing.

CHI St. Vincent resumed outpatient surgical and cardiac procedures on Monday, May 4, 2020. Per an ADH directive, these patients will require PCR testing for COVID-19 within 48 hours of their procedure. The time period required for return to full elective procedures remains unclear, and will be determined by directives from the ADH, hospital capacity, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and other factors.

“As always, we remain dedicated to serving our community while protecting our healthcare providers and preserving limited resources even during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said CHI St. Vincent Chief Medical Officer Douglas Ross. “Serving our communities is our calling and safely resuming these procedures is one of the best ways we can help our communities heal. They are critically important to our patients to help alleviate pain, treat chronic conditions or prevent a condition from worsening.”

CHI St. Vincent continues to take significant steps to make sure it is safe to provide care and be treated at its healthcare facilities. The criteria for resuming elective procedures and other services will be based on guidance from the CDC, US Surgeon General, American Hospital Association, and the leading national associations of nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists. CHI St. Vincent is also working closely with state and local partners while remaining vigilant in identifying, isolating and treating people who may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Existing safety precautions like limiting visitation and universal masking for staff and patients will remain in place at CHI St. Vincent facilities. Additional precautions will include limiting the number of people in offices to allow for social distancing in common areas, revised patient registration processes and the continuation of virtual care visits when feasible to protect vulnerable patients. Patients interested in rescheduling a delayed procedure or who need to see a physician or advanced practice provider to address their healthcare needs are encouraged to contact their provider’s office and not wait until their condition becomes an emergency.