Memorial Health System, in accordance with guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, on May 11 will begin resuming many surgeries and other medical procedures and visits that had been postponed during the initial stages of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As always, the safety of our patients and caregivers is our first priority, and we are confident these new guidelines will protect everyone involved,” said Dr. Raj Govindaiah, chief medical officer for Memorial Health System.
All patients will be required to wear masks upon arriving at any Memorial Health System facility, and will undergo a health screening, including a temperature check, before entering.
Patients who are having surgery must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to the procedure. The COVID-19 test will be scheduled by Memorial Health System as part of preoperative procedures. After being tested, the patient should self-quarantine, stay at home and practice social distancing until his or her procedure.
The state guidelines also require that patients have only one support person, who may not wait at the hospital during the procedure. The support person will be provided information on how to receive updates, and will be provided discharge and post-procedure care information when picking up the patient. If the patient must stay overnight, the support person must leave the hospital after speaking with the surgeon.
Govindaiah noted that surgeries and procedures that were not medically postponable have been performed throughout the COVID-19 crisis. “We continue to urge all central Illinois residents to consult with their health-care providers on any medical issues to develop an appropriate plan of care,” he said.
In addition, Memorial Physician Services and DMH Medical Group will begin broadening access to visits with its health-care providers beyond what has been available during the COVID-19 emergency. To maintain social distancing, patients will register by phone and notify the office when they arrive for their appointment. Patients will be escorted directly to the clinical area, bypassing the waiting room whenever possible.
In addition to traditional in-person visits, Memorial providers will use telephonic, telehealth and virtual technology to enhance the availability and safety of care for patients who are appropriate. Drive-up laboratory testing also will be offered at several locations and hospitals.
“Improving the health of the people and communities we serve is why we exist as an organization,” said Jay Roszhart, president of MHS’ ambulatory group. “This array of options will allow us to continue to treat and care for our community while maintaining a safe environment for our patients and colleagues.”
Health-care providers are continuing to contact patients to reschedule procedures and visits that had been postponed. Patients with questions, or anyone experiencing a health issue, should contact their provider’s office for guidance.