Lincoln Health System (LHS) announced today that elective surgery procedures will resume beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, at Lincoln Medical Center.
Elective procedures have been suspended at the facility since March in response to Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order. This order stopped all non-emergent surgeries in an effort to conserve the nation’s supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use when caring for COVID-19 patients. PPE such as masks, gloves, and disposable gowns used to protect healthcare workers when caring for suspected COVID-19 patients are also necessary for the operating room to maintain a sterile workspace.
Due in part to the aggressive measures taken by the state, including the safer-at-home-order and the closure of non-essential business, Tennessee did not see a large surge in COVID-19 patients that may have stressed the state’s hospitals and depleted the supply of necessary PPE. Therefore, the state’s ban on elective procedures will expire on April 30, 2020, allowing hospitals to resume surgical procedures.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen a decline in volumes in almost every hospital department, but the elimination of non-emergent surgeries has had the most significant financial impact to our health system,” said Lincoln Health System CEO, Russ Spray. “Allowing us to resume surgical cases will not only put our OR staff back to work, but it will result in increased volumes to our orthopedic and general surgery offices as well as increased volumes for home health, skilled nursing, and outpatient therapy after surgery.”
Facilities like Lincoln Medical Center, who plan to resume elective surgeries, must follow CDC guidelines for infection control and prevention and develop plans to ensure a safe environment of care. These precautions will include the continued restriction of hospital visitors, processes in place to screen all patients and staff, and mandatory masking for everyone in public areas inside the facility.
Although Lincoln Medical Center is still following their ‘No-Visitor Protocol,’ patients undergoing surgery will be allowed one family member or caregiver to accompany them on the day of surgery. This caregiver will enhance the patient’s care by providing emotional support before and after surgery and gather discharge information for post-surgical care. Each caregiver must pass the entrance screening and will not be allowed to enter LMC if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have significant risk factors. Both the patient and the caregiver must wear a mask and will be asked to stay in their designated room and not travel around the facility.
“Resuming surgeries will allow us to better care for our community. Some patients have had their surgeries postponed for over a month now,” continued Spray. “We are grateful for the steps the Governor has taken to protect our state and our hospitals and we look forward to resuming the needed services for our patients.”
In addition to elective surgeries, LMC will resume outpatient elective imaging studies including screening mammograms on May 4th.
Health care leaders will continue to monitor disease trends as well as PPE supply and availability to ensure the continuation of elective surgeries will not interfere with the ability to properly care for a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases.
About Lincoln Health System
Lincoln Health System (LHS) is a county-owned, non-profit health system located in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The health system’s humble beginnings began back in 1916 when the area’s all-female Alpha Kappa Club made it their mission to lobby for a much-needed hospital in Lincoln County. In less than 12 months, the vision became a reality and Lincoln County Hospital opened its doors on April 25, 1917. One hundred years later, Lincoln Health System is still serving the community. LHS consists of a 49-bed acute care hospital, an ambulance service, a long-term care and skilled care facility, a home health and hospice agency, and a freestanding outpatient rehabilitation and wellness center. For more information about Lincoln Health System its facilities, medical services, and physicians, visit www.LincolnHealthSystem.com.