Holy Family Memorial (HFM) announced that it is beginning to schedule medically necessary, time-sensitive procedures to meet the need of its patients.
“We continue to adapt to the changing needs of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dean Pollnow, MD, Chief Medical Officer at HFM. “It is important that we provide the best care for our patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that means different approaches for different patient needs.”
HFM, like most health care facilities, initially delayed many visits, procedures and surgeries to stop community spread of COVID-19. However, with minimal COVID-19 activity in our community, “we need to balance that with addressing patient needs. We do not want people delaying necessary care and experiencing unintended health consequences as a result of those delays,” said Pollnow.
“It is extremely important that people who are experiencing symptoms of heart attack, stroke and traumatic injuries come into the Emergency Room. Time is of the essence in these instances,” said Pollnow.
It is also essential that cancer patients, pregnant women and others with chronic or urgent conditions be seen in the provider’s office for some, if not all, of their care.
Telemedicine is a useful tool for patients who can safely be cared for through virtual visits and who have access to and the ability to use the technology needed for the visit. Most insurers have increased the coverage for telemedicine visits since the onset of COVID-19.
Beginning this week, HFM is rescheduling surgeries that were postponed for many patients at the beginning of the COVID-19 situation. “Continued delays would be detrimental for some of these individuals. We need to ensure they are taken care of, but we are taking a measured approach to scheduling procedures,” said Pollnow.
To facilitate rescheduling of procedures, HFM has a committee of physicians reviewing all postponed surgeries to identify those that are medically necessary and time-sensitive—those surgeries and other procedures that are necessary for overall health and quality of life. Potential patients are being prescreened to determine if they have had contact with anyone who has COVID-19, if they have traveled outside of Manitowoc County within the past 14 days, and if they are comfortable proceeding with their planned procedure at this time.
Patients who are in general good health and who will return home after surgery are being scheduled for their procedure.
Patients whose surgeries are medically necessary and time-sensitive, but who need assistance managing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, will work with HFM’s Prepare Clinic to manage these conditions prior to surgery being scheduled. The Prepare Clinic is part of HFM’s surgical continuum of care. It is focused on helping patients manage chronic conditions and prepare for post-surgical needs before undergoing a procedure; this optimizes surgical outcomes and return to home.
Patients should not be concerned about returning to their provider for care. People can feel comfortable and safe utilizing HFM facilities, said Pollnow. “We have added the extra safety measures of masking both patients and staff, temperature checks of all patients and staff, and more negative pressure rooms at the hospital and Harbor Town Campus. This is on top of already rigorous cleaning processes.”
As always, HFM encourages patients to be involved in their health care decisions. “Don’t delay taking care of your health. See your doctor for routine care, manage chronic conditions and utilize telemedicine and other care options when appropriate for your needs,” Pollnow said.