Alexandria, Louisiana – CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System 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 approves and there is appropriate documentation in the patient’s medical record, the procedure should 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 150 years.
We are working with physicians now to reschedule their patients for 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.
“Sometimes, these procedures that have been delayed or deferred are related to quality of life issues and how people go about their daily lives,” said Chris Karam, Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System. “Looking beyond just today, quite a few of these procedures will even help patients live longer, healthier lives. Getting these folks back to our operating rooms when medically necessary as quickly as possible is so important, but just like with our surgeries and other procedures, we must ensure our patients, Associates and physicians are safe. That’s how we’ve operated at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System for decades,” Karam said.
CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System practices infection prevention every day. In addition, the CHRISTUS Health system is leading the Central Louisiana community, and the country, by recently announcing the rolling out antibody testing for surgical patients. This new screening tool allows the hospital to test patients for antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus, helping it to identify how each patient should receive care and how to keep its caregivers and patients safe.
Not only that, but CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini 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 St. Frances Cabrini 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 St. Frances Cabrini Health System 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,” Karam said.