Our Commitment to COVID-19 Relief
COVID-19 continues to spread across the country despite containment efforts. Our primary focus continues to be protecting our patients, our clinicians and our communities. We understand that these unprecedented times require sustained efforts from every part of healthcare in order for us to overcome this crisis, and we are committed to serving our communities in whatever capacity we can during this difficult time.
Our Role in the Evolving Crisis
AMSURG is continuing its efforts both to protect our centers and to prepare for possible worst-case scenarios, should the crisis advance. Centers continue to reprioritize cases toward emergent and urgent surgeries.
In many communities, the strain on resources has become so significant that officials at the local, state and federal level are reaching out to our ambulatory surgical centers to assess what available resources could be reallocated to support the COVID-19 response. Our Flex Operational Plan asserts those differing options, including converting ASCs into childcare services, COVID-19 testing facilities or a Med/Surg patient overflow facility.
In the meantime, we have encouraged our centers to evaluate their inventories to determine if there is a surplus in supplies. If there is a greater need in the community for these resources, specifically consumables, we encourage our centers to allocate and share resources with others in need, such as local hospitals or state/county health departments.
With the growing concern that hospitals may be overwhelmed by a surging number of infected patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that some inpatient surgeries be shifted to outpatient settings, when feasible.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) has consulted with clinical experts in our community and the consensus position is that ASCs can continue to provide safe surgical care for patients whose condition cannot wait until hospitals return to normal operations.
As a critical component of the healthcare system, we are keenly aware of how our actions can materially impact the health of the communities that we serve and have recommended the following guidelines for the continuation of urgent/needed care in our ASCs:
- Keeping facilities open for elective urgent surgeries
- Assessing and optimizing patients’ medical and social risk factors for planned surgeries and postponing cases where indicated, including:
- Reassessing and reprioritizing all currently scheduled cases and postponing based on the current and projected COVID-19 cases in the facility and the surrounding area and when doing so will not result in significant medical deterioration or materially impact the patient’s prognosis, morbidity or treatment plan
- Acknowledging that every patient encounter is unique and that postponement decisions must represent a joint decision between the treating clinician and the patient
ASCs can serve as alternative settings that provide surgical care for those patients who would suffer from a delay, while allowing our local hospital partners to create the incremental capacity needed during these dynamic times. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to assess our approach, in coordination with experts throughout the healthcare system, to best serve the needs of patients and communities.
Our priority remains the safety of our clinicians and patients. We have advised all of our centers to maintain strict adherence to social distancing recommendations and have implemented enhanced cleaning as directed by CDC guidelines. We have also implemented rigorous screening for patients and visitors prior to entering facilities. For more information regarding the COVID screening process, please visit the CDC’s website.
We will continue to monitor guidelines and recommendations to ensure the wellbeing of all those who enter our facilities.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions here, but we are committed to serving where and how we can.
We stand ready to work with our clinicians, state and local governments and all our colleagues in the healthcare system to provide needed care during these challenging times.
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