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Elective Surgery Restrictions Relaxed, But Some Hospitals Say Not Worth It

Publication: KFDA-TV (CBS, Amarillo)
04/22/2020

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - After a month of elective surgeries being put on hold due to coronavirus, Governor Abbott is allowing those surgeries to resume under certain guidelines, such as requesting no additional personal protective equipment and maintaining at 25 percent capacity for COVID-19 patients.

“As we start to put new patients in the hospital with surgery, we have to continue to reserve a small amount of ICU beds and the designated floor hospital beds for potential COVID patients.” said Anne Doughtie, medical doctor at Texas Oncology of Amarillo.

For some places such as Texas Oncology, these loosened restrictions are beneficial. “We want to see these patients. We do not want to have delays in diagnosis. We want patients to feel safe when they come into the office so they can visit about these symptoms maybe they have been experiencing since late winter, and now it’s spring, but people have been asked to please don’t leave,” said Dr. Doughtie.

For others, such as Northwest Texas Hospital and Hereford Regional Medical Center, even with relaxed restrictions, elective surgeries will not be happening. “You know there are some restrictions right now, and frankly to me, it’s just not worth it,” said Jeff Barnhart, CEO of Deaf Smith County Hospital District.

One of the main reasons Barnhart says elective surgeries are not worth it, because his hospital would give up future funding for PPE.

“I would have to send a letter certifying that we are going to maintain a certain level of protective equipment and also maintain a certain number of beds. But in doing that, I would also give up my right to help with protective equipment from state and federal folks, and I’ll tell you right now, some of it’s hard to find,” said Barnhart.

While elective surgeries will not be happening at the moment for the Hereford Regional Medical Center, Barnhart is hopeful that elective surgeries could be happening within a few weeks.

Click here to watch the full story.

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