Will elective procedures be canceled in Florida amid coronavirus outbreak?


TAMPA (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is contacting all the major hospitals and medical institutions in our area to find out whether elective procedures are currently being canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Spring is always a busy time of the year for hospitals in Florida.

Right now, the question is with the worst still to come, are facilities canceling elective surgeries and procedures in anticipation of a surge.

Dr. Anthony Fauci heads the federal Coronavirus Task Force. He was asked about this on Meet the Press on Sunday.

“For the most part, elective surgery, keep people out of the hospitals except those who need to be in the hospitals,” said Dr. Fauci.

So far, there is no federal or state mandate on this issue.

“We have some capacity to absorb an increase but we don’t have a limitless capacity to absorb an increase,” said Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday.

Florida has nurses on standby. The state is also making plans for mobile hospitals.

8 On Your Side as learned, it is up to the individual institution to cancel these elective surgeries.

We contacted more than a dozen facilities on Monday.

Here are the latest responses below.

Tampa General Hospital: “Tampa General Hospital canceled all elective procedures for international and out-of-state patients. We will continue to perform complex elective procedures until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation and will make necessary changes as the situation evolves.”

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System: “No later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020, we plan to cease non-urgent elective procedures. Any impacted Veterans will be contacted directly by their health care team to reschedule. Urgent and emergent elective procedures will still continue during this period.”

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: “We are in the process of developing a list of surgical and nonsurgical procedures that can be considered elective, to help guide decision-making for both physicians and our patients. This list adheres to the following definitions:

Emergent and Urgent Procedures – Those procedures that are deemed time-sensitive, as delaying the procedure would cause harm to the patient.

Elective and Non-Urgent Procedures – Those procedures that can be rescheduled to a future date, as the timing of these cases is flexible and is unlikely to significantly impact the patient’s health outcome in the short term.

Our elective procedures will be canceled beginning Wednesday, March 18, for two weeks. This policy will be reassessed routinely over this period of time to determine if it should be modified in any way or extended.”

Moffitt: “Not many of our surgeries at Moffitt are truly elective, but our elective surgeries and procedures are still underway. However, we are continuing to evaluate our operations as the COVID-19 situation escalates.”

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg: “The decision about whether to have surgery is one to be made between the physician and the patient. At this time, we will continue to provide elective procedural services, but this is a fluid situation and we will continue to evaluate in the coming days.”

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System: “We are monitoring the latest guidelines and meeting several times a day to discuss hospital capacity and resources. At this time, we are not canceling elective surgeries.”

Manatee Memorial Hospital is also not canceling elective surgeries at this time.

8 On Your Side is waiting to hear back from other facilities including AdventHealth, BayCare, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Hospital Corporation of America.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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