TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Elective procedures have been put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced hospitals could work toward performing those procedures in the coming weeks.
"We have to ask how do we perform these procedures safely and with great attention to making sure we have the appropriate personal protective equipment in place,” said Dr. James Bien the VP of quality and patient safety at IU Health Arnett in Lafayette. “If you remember that's the reason the restriction was put in place, to begin with."
Personal protective equipment continues to be the biggest concern, which is why hospitals have to take a proactive approach to begin elective procedures again.
"In the ideal world we would say well let's just turn everything back on just like it was before,” said Dr. Daniel Wickert the VP of medical affairs at Franciscan Health Lafayette. “The challenge is it's not like it was before and with the coronavirus still present we have to be ready in case there is a surge."
PPE isn't the only challenge hospitals are facing. They also want to make sure they are still testing as many people possible and separating patients who are COVID-19 positive from those who need an elective procedure.
"There is the testing component of how much we can test and how able we are to test is a critical component as we move forward," said Dr. Wickert.
That's why doctors say patients who need elective procedures that are the most urgent will be their top priority.
"Which procedures need to be done sooner rather than later is what we are determining now, we recognize that all of these have been postponed,” said Dr. Bien. “Now if we have the capacity and we can start to do some of these procedures we are asking our physicians to provide us with guidance on which procedures are most urgent."
The hospitals are moving forward with their plans, all while keeping patients healthy and meeting their needs.
"This half step forward I think as the governor put it is going to allow us to meet the needs of people and prevent those from becoming more problematic," said Dr. Bien.
The hospitals say once they have a plan in place patients will be contacted by their healthcare provider about when their elective procedure will take place. Cosmetic procedures will remain a low priority.