Postponement of Elective Non-Urgent Surgeries

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has reported a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 positive cases throughout Utah, including the first case of community spread in Utah. We expect the number of COVID-19 cases to continue to rise over the coming days and weeks. Today we face a defining moment and a difficult decision at Intermountain Healthcare. Our response to this situation will have immediate, long-lasting impact on our communities. Although there is some uncertainty around what lies ahead, we are well-prepared, and need your help as we adapt to emerging and changing needs.

Intermountain is standing with the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office to implement a large-scale response. We are asking for your leadership in taking aggressive action to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and conserve vital care resources:

  1. Postponing Hospital and ASC Elective Surgeries and Procedures, Effective Immediately

    This temporary measure minimizes the spread of COVID-19 and positions us to reassign our resources to support potential patient surges in the coming days and weeks.

    Surgical leaders have provided guidelines and tools to assist you and local teams with decisions on whether to move forward or postpone surgeries and procedures based upon objective clinical criteria. Operating Room Councils are contacting providers and scheduled patients to inform them of the status of their surgery or procedure. Some providers may also choose to follow up with their patients directly.

    At this time, all clinic office visits should proceed as scheduled, including any office-based procedures. We continue to evaluate clinic office visit policies and expect to provide additional direction soon. Please use your clinical discretion for vulnerable or high-risk patients to determine whether care should be provided virtually, by phone, or postponed.

     

  2. A Bold Approach to Social Distancing

    We need you to be a champion of our bold approach to social distancing. This public health tactic slows the rate of infection, allowing our hospitals and clinics to effectively handle the volume of patients and manage our resources. Other regions of the world are demonstrating that social distancing is “flattening the curve” of the spread of COVID-19.

    We encourage providers to learn and promote social distancing techniques through the resources available at this link.

  3. Residents and Students

    We have evaluated the safety, potential risks and exposures for physician residents, pharmacy residents, and students. Intermountain has decided to keep all physician and pharmacy residents in our facilities. However, we have suspended all other student programs (e.g. medical, nursing, allied health) effective immediately.

  4. Questions & Support

    If you have an HR-related question about benefits, leave time, etc., or are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19, please contact ASKHR@imail.org. For other questions or needs, please email physicianandappprofessionalaffairs@imail.org or call Susan DuBois, 801-442-2840.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to making our communities healthier. We encourage you to take care of yourself, your families, and each other as we move through this ongoing response to COVID-19.

Paul Krakovitz, MD, FACS
Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
Specialty-Based Care

Shannon Phillips, MD, FAAP
Interim Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
Community-Based Care

 

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