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Texas Oncology Supports Cautious Reopening of Health Care and the Economy

Publication: eParis News, The Paris News

The tragedy of Coronavirus has left an incredible toll on society – more than 65000 Americans dead and countless more hospitalized. Equally devastating has been the toll on our economy – 20 million unemployed with many businesses remaining closed. Lost among these statistics is the effect on routine and necessary health care that has been postponed for many Americans.

Medical care, especially cancer care cannot wait! That’s why we support loosening restrictions on surgeries during the COVID-19 health crisis. Gov. Abbott recently passed an executive order allowing hospitals to resume elective surgeries and procedures. There are some restrictions however:

  • The procedures cannot deplete the hospital bed capacity, or the personal protective equipment supply needed to treat Covid-19 patients. 
  • A health care facility must reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for coronavirus related patients. 
  • A facility cannot request personal protective equipment from any public source from the local, state or federal level.

This order is welcome and is necessary. For many cancer patients, surgery is often an important component of their diagnosis and treatment. Screening procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies are vital in diagnosing cancers at an early and potentially curable stage. Postponement of these procedures results in higher cancer mortality and adverse overall health outcomes. With loosening of restrictions, Texas Oncology’s nearly 100 surgeons are poised to resume our many collaborative relationships with hospital surgery units and surgery centers in Texas to safely provide vital cancer-related care to patients.

Texas Oncology Paris has remained open and functional throughout this pandemic to serve the needs of the local community. We have taken many steps to protect patients and staff throughout this process based on CDC guidelines.  We are focused on continuing vital cancer care, safely, as long as this threat lasts, and as the state reopens.

Some of the steps that we have taken include: 

  • Rescheduling all non-urgent visits or moving them to telemedicine appointments
  • Expanding our telemedicine capabilities
  • Limiting visitors (only one visitor; no children)
  • Following strict PPE use guidelines (surgical masks, face shields, gloves, etc.)
  • Calling patients in advance to screen for symptoms
  • Screening patients at our entrance for symptoms
  • Screening staff twice daily for symptoms 
  • Implementing protocols for managing exposure risk, quarantining, and other operational safety procedures 
  • Requiring patients and visitors to wear face coverings while at our clinics

By following these policies and procedures, we have continued to provide necessary Cancer care to our patients. We are prepared to face any challenges that may come as the state reopens.

Governor Abbott has now released guidance on relaxing restrictions in Texas with the Open Texas Report on April 27th. While we all share a desire to get back to business as usual, the threat of Coronavirus is not yet over. Caring for patients remains our utmost priority at Texas Oncology Paris, and we will continue to do so as safely as possible. Our patients are particularly at risk for serious outcomes with COVID-19 infection, thus ongoing safety protocols are a must. 

Texas Oncology Paris will continue to follow strict safety protocols as mentioned above while slowly increasing care access as feasible. This will be done while following CDC guidelines, closely monitoring the impact of Coronavirus locally, and following the Texas Medical Board mandate.

We have learned a lot about this virus and who it affects the most. By following Science, and making smart decisions, we can protect the vulnerable while opening up the economy again!

In the words of Gov. Abbott: “We are first and foremost focusing on protecting the most vulnerable among us, on nursing home mitigation measures, on ramping up testing, and on scaling up contact tracing of the unseen enemy. 

We will be measured and cautious. Only with your help and with all these measures in place can we begin to open businesses with careful adherence to health protocols. 

By coming together, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we can get Texas back to work.”

View the full story at eParis News.

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