Hospitals welcome slow return of elective procedures

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COLUMBIA - MU Health Care and other hospitals in mid-Missouri are beginning to increase how many elective procedures they perform.

MU Health Care said it postponed roughly 80% of elective surgeries in order to focus on COVID-19.

“Surgeries utilize a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE),” Dr. Mark Wakefield, the associate chief medical officer at MU Health Care, said. “So we decided to defer those surgeries to preserve PPE for use in treating patients with COVID-19.”

Elective procedures are ones that are not an emergency and can be pre-scheduled, like a hip replacement or a colonoscopy. 

Missouri Hospitals lost about $32 million a day due to a reduction in these elective procedures, according to the Missouri Hospital Association. 

MU Health Care said this week it is beginning to ramp up how many elective procedures it performs. It says the process will happen in phases and they will conduct an inventory check of PPEs. Based on the amount available, it will determine how many procedures to schedule for the coming week.

“We are prioritizing patients who are in the most need and we also balance that with what surgeries are likely to consume the most amount of PPE or other healthcare resources,” Wakefield said.

MU Health Care says it is testing all patients who come in for an elective procedure to ensure they don’t expose healthcare workers to COVID-19.