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Iowa Hospitals Weigh in on Decision to Reopen Elective Surgeries

Coronavirus

DES MOINES, Iowa – Governor Kim Reynolds announced elective surgeries can resume Monday for some health care providers.

Reynolds said, “Surgeries and procedures are permitted for inpatient surgeries if further delay will pose a significant risk to the quality of life. Any outpatient procedures are permitted.”

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran said anyone that enters the building will have their temperature taken.

“We’re also able to ensure every single employee that’s on the front lines has a face shield and a mask under that shield in all interactions. Even before discussing these new surgeries for all surgeries that we’ve been doing for weeks, we have been testing all patients before they go in the OR for COVID, and then we’ve been able to model preserving our PPE after we do this,” Gunasekaran said.

Reynolds said even with elective surgeries, hospitals will need to have 30% of its ICU beds reserved for COVID-19 patients.

“Some of the requirements and guidelines are that the hospital or provider must have aliquant inventory of PPE. They must have access to a reliable supply chain without relying on state stock piles, and they must have a plan in place to conserve PPE,” Reynolds said.

Gunasekaran said the new normal is making sure Iowans get medically necessary care while preserving capacity for COVID-19 patients.

“We would never do so many procedures that we couldn’t have 14 days worth of PPE. We would never do so many procedures that we can’t issue the necessary PPE to all of our employees. So this is really a balancing act,” Gunasekaran said.

UnityPoint Health released a statement and said, “Today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced health systems may begin working to resume some elective procedures beginning Monday, April 27th. UnityPoint Health facilities in Iowa do not yet have a definitive timeline to share, but have begun planning for resuming elective procedures that prioritize the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities.”

MercyOne released a statement that said, “Our top priority is the safety of our patients, physicians, providers and colleagues. MercyOne is reviewing the Governor’s proclamation in detail as well as the President’s Guidelines for Opening America Again and health care association recommendations. Additionally, as we plan to re-open our care locations across Iowa, we are looking at COVID-19 case numbers, access to testing, PPE supply numbers and additional factors. MercyOne is committed to ensuring we provide the safest care environment to meet the health care needs of our communities.”

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