Luminis Health hospitals, Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and Doctors Community Hospital (DCH), have started a phased approach to resume non-emergent surgeries, starting with urgent, medically necessary procedures beginning this week. The decision was made following careful consideration of guidelines by the Maryland Department of Health, as outlined in Governor Hogan’s “Roadmap to Recovery” plan for the state.
In phase one, AAMC and DCH are pre-screening cases for medical necessity — defined as non-life threatening issues but those that are likely to cause harm if they are delayed any further. The hospitals started with their backlog of cases since limiting surgeries and procedures to emergencies or urgent cases only on March 18 after the governor’s statewide order. Doctors’ offices began contacting patients last week so they could be scheduled for evaluations prior to surgery.
“Now more than ever it’s important to stay on top of your health, which may require you to come in for a doctor’s appointment or procedure,” said Adrian Park, MD, chair of Surgery for Luminis Health. “An ‘I’ll wait it out’ attitude due to fear of COVID-19 could put your health at risk and cause long-term damage. Know that we are taking the precautions necessary for the safety of our patients and our providers.”
The health system’s safety protocols include:
- Masking of all patients and employees
- Extensive cleaning of exam rooms before every appointment
- Frequent disinfection of common areas, including waiting rooms, elevators and bathrooms
- Daily screening of all staff, following CDC and state guidelines
- Daily screening of patients before coming to the office
- Protected check-in and check-out procedures
- “No Waiting Room” procedures to reduce exposure to other patients
As an additional safety precaution, and as recommended by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, patients are asked to self-isolate seven days prior to their scheduled procedure and complete a COVID-19 test two or three days prior to their surgery.
As the health system plans for next phases beyond urgent, medically necessary procedures, information for resuming all other procedures, including elective, will be announced at a later date.
“We will continue to monitor our supply chain, service needs and status of the pandemic to guide our decision making — all while keeping the safety of our patients at the forefront of our planning,” said Park.
Some Luminis Health services have remained opened and available to the community, including behavioral health inpatient and outpatient services. The J. Kent McNew Family Medical Center and Pathways treatment center also implemented the health system’s measures to keep patients safe.