Lake Charles, Louisiana – CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana is preparing to begin phasing in a number of procedures and surgeries on April 27, consistent with the provisions of the Governor John Bel-Edwards original order on April 20.
The revised guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health initially covers medical procedures and surgeries performed in order to treat an emergency medical condition, to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease, and for time sensitive conditions.
State officials have outlined the process will begin with allowing for procedures that have already been postponed for 30 days to be reassessed. If the physician feels further delay would cause an adverse effect to the patient and is able to document that, then the procedure would be allowed to proceed. As these procedures resume, state officials will monitor the situation closely, including for an increase in ICU patients and/or ventilator utilization.
Our facilities have secured the personal protective equipment (PPE) and excess capacity necessary to safely care for the full spectrum of medical conditions and patient needs that we have worked so hard to address in our communities for more than 100 years.
We are working with physicians now to reschedule their patients for a number of medical and surgical procedures they were forced to postpone due to the initial order. While we all understand the reason that these procedures had to be postponed, waiting has imposed a hardship on many of these patients, as many can no longer delay care for heart disease, cancer, pain, vision problems and other conditions. We are working to avoid a surge in illness and suffering as a result of deferred and delayed care.
“The procedures that have been delayed or deferred are often issues related to quality of life,” said Kevin Holland, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana. “In some cases, these procedures will even help patients live longer. That’s why we have to get them back to our operating rooms when medically necessary as quickly as possible. But just as we’ve always done with our surgeries and other procedures, we must also ensure our patients, Associates and physicians are safe. That’s what we’ve done at CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana for so many years,” Holland said.
CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana practices infection prevention every day. In addition, the CHRISTUS Health system is leading the Southwestern Louisiana community, and the country, by recently announcing the rolling out of antibody testing for some patients, Associates and physicians in its ministries. This new screening tool allows the hospital to test these groups for antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus, helping it to identify how each patient should receive care and how to keep its caregivers safe.
Not only that, but CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana has been steadily working and planning to continue providing necessary, non-COVID care to keep people safe and healthy. To keep all who enter our facilities safe, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana continues to have these following precautions in place:
- Limiting visitors;
- Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
- Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
- Temperature checks for all Associates;
- Requiring everyone on our campuses to wear masks;
- Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.
This may be an unprecedented time, but we have experienced many of these since CHRISTUS was founded 154 years ago. In fact, the first three Sisters who started the CHRISTUS ministry in Galveston faced an epidemic of Yellow Fever within the first six months of opening the very first hospital. Epidemics and tragedies have been part of CHRISTUS’ history, and so too has the resolve, after each of those challenges, to move on in love and service to those in need.
“CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana is answering the call to help our community – today and tomorrow. In all that we do, we are devoted to keeping patients, their families, our caregivers and our Associates safe. And we are here when you need care. We are ready, and it is a privilege to serve this community,” Holland said.