After suspending such procedures at the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in mid-March, Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) has followed guidance from the CDC, US Surgeon General, American College of Surgeons, the State of California and the California Hospital Association, as well as expert surgeons, anesthesiologists, infection control specialists and nurses in establishing safety criteria and protocols prior to resuming non-emergency surgeries.
“After thoughtful evaluation of the data and careful implementation of the policies and procedures outlined by the CDC and state and local public health leaders, we have decided to resume scheduled, non-emergent surgical procedures at Community Memorial hospital in Ventura,” said Gary Wilde, Community Memorial Health System President and CEO. “As with most hospitals in the state of California, we suspended elective procedures to prepare for the potential surge of COVID-19 patients, but feel that it’s important to the overall health and wellbeing of our community to begin offering these services again at this time.”
Before scheduling medically necessary, non-emergent procedures, all hospitals and surgery centers across the nation must meet the following criteria: A sustained reduction of COVID-19 cases in the community; sufficient patient capacity (beds) and equipment; adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE); and a COVID-19 testing procedure in place for all appropriate patients scheduled for a surgical procedure.
In addition to meeting these criteria, CMHS and Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura continue to follow additional rigorous protocols to ensure the safety of their patients, healthcare professionals, and community as a whole. These protocols include:
· Mandatory COVID-19 testing for every preoperative patient in advance of his/her procedure.
· Mandatory COVID-19 screening for everyone who enters Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, the Emergency Departments at either location, all Centers for Family Health clinics and Urgent Care locations, and all other CMHS outpatient service locations. This screening includes patients, essential companions, physicians and staff.
· Mandatory use of surgical masks for everyone in all CMHS inpatient and outpatient facilities, regardless of their COVID-19 status.
· Continued use of separate intake, evaluation, and treatment areas for patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms and those who do not.
· Continued use of separate waiting areas (including waiting in vehicles) and phone registration following appropriate screening, in order to minimize contact and maintain social distancing standards.
· Continued use of enhanced sterilization and cleaning protocols of operating suites, patient prep and recovery areas, and patient rooms to ensure optimal cleanliness and minimize potential spread.
· Continued restriction of visitors (one essential companion only) in all CMHS facilities to limit potential exposures.
CMHS has carefully determined which medically necessary, non-emergent procedures can safely be performed at this time, and will continue this evaluation process in the coming weeks and months. Urgent and emergent cases will continue to be prioritized with the reintroduction of elective procedures.