April 27, 2020
Based on guidance from state leaders and clinical experts, Tulane Health System has today begun performing some surgical and other procedures that had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As always, the health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities is our top priority," said Dr. Robert Lynch, Tulane Health System CEO. "Vital healthcare procedures, including those unrelated to COVID-19, should not be ignored at this time. It is both safe and necessary to receive medical attention at our sites of care, so we are being thoughtful and deliberate in reintroducing key 'elective' procedures."
Elective procedures are not the equivalent of 'optional' procedures that can be delayed indefinitely, he said. "From surgeries to catheterizations to key imaging needs, procedures have been classified within tiers of urgency and acuity, allowing us to prioritize services as we take a measured approach to this transition," Dr. Lynch added.
The decision to begin rescheduling appointments at its campuses - including Tulane Medical Center in downtown New Orleans, Tulane Lakeside Hospital in Metairie and Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington - has been made in the best interest of patients, ensuring that those who have been waiting for important care have access to treatment, Dr. Lynch said. Tulane Health System's commitment to safety protocols has uniquely prepared its facilities to proceed with some delayed procedures.
"Over the past few months, we have been and will continue to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maintaining and often exceeding the strictest of standards," Dr. Lynch said. "The precautions we've taken and the new protections we've put in place make our clinical care facilities the safest possible places to receive healthcare at this time."
Safety precautions implemented across Tulane Health System include:
- Screening for all patients, visitors and staff before entering facilities.
- Separate areas and staff for non-COVID-19 positive patients, as well as outpatient and patients with scheduled procedures. These patients are treated in separate areas and assigned caregivers who are not caring for COVID-19 positive patients during their shift.
- Rapid testing for COVID-19, so symptomatic patients know within minutes if they are positive and can be appropriately isolated and treated.
- All patients undergoing a procedure will be tested for COVID-19.
- All caregivers wear masks throughout all hospitals, per CDC guidelines.
- Socially distant waiting areas with hygiene stations.
- Heightened infection prevention policies, including the removal of high-touch items such as magazines and toys.
Patients whose procedures have been delayed are being contacted by their caregivers directly to discuss their next steps.
"We know these circumstances are not what our patients anticipated when planning for needed procedures, and we recognize the worry that this pandemic has created for patients and their loved ones," said Hiral Patel, Lakeview Regional's CEO. "We are listening to our patients, and we understand their concerns. That is why we taking these actions and remain committed to protecting the health and safety of the patients we so proudly serve."
For more information about Tulane Health System's efforts to combat COVID-19, as well as information about additional changes in hospital policies to keep patients and staff safe, please visit its online COVID-19 resource pages for its southshore and northshore campuses.