IHC: COVID-19 ‘surge plan’ calls for delaying some surgeries, hospitalizations

Surgery in an IHC hospital operating room. Photo: IHC

UTAH, Nov. 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Intermountain Healthcare has announced it will implement steps to “conserve intensive medicine resources and help reduce hospital capacity,” it said in a statement released Wednesday.

The change will be part of a “surge plan” developed months ago, and will delay surgeries that would require inpatient admission after surgery, and that can be safely delayed.

“This will free up space and beds, preserve supplies, and free up caregivers to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID patients who need health services,” the IHC statement says. Any patient affected by this will be directly notified.

“While this may be disappointing for some patients, it is a necessary and appropriate step given the sharp spike in hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19,” the IHC statement says. “Any postponed procedures will be rescheduled after the surge subsides.”

Intermountain will continue to provide care for urgent situations and emergency patients as it always does, according to Rob Ferguson, MD, Intermountain’s senior medical director of surgical operations.

“Our intent is to continue to provide surgical care where possible and make adjustments as needed as our resources get stressed,” he said. “Rather than introduce a blanket postponement of cases like we did in the spring, we have a fine-tuned process at each hospital that allows us greater precision in balancing the surgical needs of our patients with the resources available at each hospital.

“As we see a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations, we will be able conserve resources, ease staffing concerns, and resume our standard surgical operations.”

Intermountain is asking Utahns to mask up, social distance, wash hands, and stay home when sick to help slow the spread of disease, the statement says. Utahns are also asked to limit family gatherings for Thanksgiving to those living in their immediate household.


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