Elective Procedures Letter to Providers

March 18, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Baptist Memorial Health Care leaders are working to provide a safe environment for patients, physicians, advanced practice providers and all employees during the unfolding Coronavirus pandemic.

Baptist leaders are taking steps to educate the public and our patients on the risks of Covid-19 and about actions they can take to help avoid infection or transmitting infection to others. We are making every effort to identify patients with active Covid-19 infections and isolate them at their homes, or if necessary, in an isolation bed within our facilities. We are working closely with the State Health Departments to support contact tracing so that all exposed individuals are identified, isolated and tested. We are activating home health and our ambulance partners to offer testing and care in the home environment as much as possible. We are developing and deploying outdoor screening and testing sites across our region.

We have taken prompt actions to screen individuals entering the hospital environment including physicians, advanced practice providers, our employees and visitors daily for symptoms or signs of influenza-like illness (ILI) or Covid-19 exposure. We have also imposed visitor limitation policies at every facility. The goal is to decrease the likelihood that individuals with Covid-19 will be working in or traversing through the acute care settings. In the ambulatory setting we are screening all patients prior to visit for ILI signs and symptoms and for Covid-19 exposure risks. The goal is to have the opportunity to triage ILI (+) patients to a MyChart e-visit, or to home health for home evaluation and testing. If these options are not feasible then the ambulatory teams are better prepared to meet the patient for a direct face-to-face clinic visit. If you need information about where to send a symptomatic patient who may need testing, please call the Baptist Coronavirus Resource Line 1-866-941-4785.

Finally, we need to provide acute care bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, ventilator capacity and PPE supply access across our region. In order to achieve this goal, we encourage physicians and advanced practice providers to evaluate the patient’s immediate needs and consider delaying routine healthcare visits such as, elective screening, elective treatments, elective tests, and elective surgery in the coming weeks. We ask that you work with your teams to discuss this option with appropriate patients and proactively reach out to them to allay fears and to offer re-scheduling. Baptist leaders rely upon your medical judgement to determine which procedures are necessary immediately and which ones can safely be delayed until a future date.

Thank you for your close attention to this communication. We appreciate the care you render to our mutual patients and look forward to discussing this with you in more detail as you may desire. Please call upon your hospital CEO, CMO or Clinic Director with any specific questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,

Jason Little
President-Chief Executive Officer

Paul DePriest, MD
Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer