Delaying Elective Medical Care During the Pandemic

To allow us to better serve our communities during the coronavirus outbreak and help ensure your own health and safety, Baptist asks our patients to consider delaying all elective medical care and procedures for the time being. Please read the letter below by Baptist Memorial Health Care CEO Jason Little and COO Paul DePriest, MD.


DATE: March 18, 2020
TO: The Baptist Community of Patients and Families
FROM: Jason Little, President and CEO Baptist Memorial Health Care and Paul DePriest MD, EVP-COO
RE: Elective Medical and Surgical Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dear Patients, Friends, Family, and Community Members,

Baptist Memorial Health Care has provided medical services throughout the Mid-South for 108 years. This is one of the few times during our history where we are encouraging you to consider temporarily delaying your use of our services. Our only priority is to keep you safe and healthy. Therefore, we want to partner with you to exercise good judgment about which services you access during a time of worldwide concern about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The more we can help you prevent exposure to COVID-19, the better. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. If you develop flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, coughing, sneezing, runny nose) stay inside your home and avoid exposing others.
  2. Wash your hands frequently and if you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your arm.
  3. Do not expose yourself to others who have flu-like symptoms.
  4. Avoid interactive social gatherings of more than 10 people.
  5. Avoid shaking hands and hugging others while keeping 6 feet of distance between people if at all possible.
  6. If you or someone you know has flu-like symptoms and is developing difficulty breathing or becomes unable to hold down adequate fluids, then please seek medical advice immediately.

As we look ahead into the next 2-4 months, you are encouraged to weigh the benefits of medical visits and procedures with the risk of contracting COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have concerns or would like to cancel an elective procedure. Our providers will also be reviewing their upcoming cases and may reach out to you if you have a procedure they believe should be delayed out of an abundance of caution. Here are some general guidelines to help you talk to your providers about scheduling or cancelling appointments:

  1. If you are feeling well and happy and your last visit with your provider showed that you were in good health, you should be able to delay any scheduled visits for 2-4 months. It is advised that you confirm this guidance with your Doctor, Advanced Practice Provider, or Nurse.
  2. If you are healthy and happy and scheduled for a routine screening visit (annual wellness exam, mammogram, colonoscopy etc.) in the next 2 months, it is recommended that you contact your provider to discuss rescheduling that visit to a later date.
  3. If you are a person undergoing active treatment or rehabilitation for a medical or surgical problem, please check in with your provider before presenting for surgery, follow-up visit, screening, testing, physical therapy or treatment. Your Doctor, Advanced Practice Provider or Nurse can help you determine the safest and best plan for your treatment and follow-up during this time. We encourage you to call your provider, or if you use MyChart, schedule an e-visit, to discuss this plan.

If you have an acute medical or surgical need, please take the following steps:

  1. Call your Physician or Advanced Practice Provider for advice, and when necessary, schedule an appointment in their clinic or office.
  2. Use your MyChart account to directly schedule an appointment or to set up an e-visit.
  3. Call your local Baptist Memorial Hospital to help direct you to the closest clinic, urgent treatment center or emergency department for care.
  4. Here are some important phone numbers and websites that can provide you even more information.

Baptist Coronavirus Resource Center: 1-866-941-4785
www.baptistonline.org/covid-19

The entire Baptist team is here to help you and your loved ones stay healthy in the coming weeks. Please wisely utilize healthcare resources at this time as we strive to provide safe care to you, your family and your community in the days ahead.

Sincerely,

Jason Little signature
Jason Little
President-Chief Executive Officer

Paul DePriest signature
Paul DePriest, MD
Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer