Local hospitals beginning to allow optional surgeries previously held back by COVID-19

Coronavirus

OZARKS, Mo. — Hospitals in the Ozarks are shifting back to allowing elective surgeries after putting them on pause for nearly two months.

Mercy and CoxHealth say patients should know there is an unclear timeline on when these procedures will begin, but changes are on the way.

Mercy’s chief quality officer, Vicki Good, and Coxhealth’s VP of Hospital Operations, Amanda Hedgepeth, say a big part of the decision had to do with personal protective equipment for staff and patients.

Cox is testing those getting high-risk procedures, or at certain campuses.

Both hospitals’ patients and staff are required to wear masks and they can provide those. Hospitals are emphasizing extensive sanitation everything they can do to ensure safety and that PPE supply was a major factor in the decision.

“We had to keep in mind that we had to have enough of that protective equipment that if we have a spike in disease again that we can take care of those COVID patients, as well as take care of our surgical patients,” said Good.

“We feel this is a good time for us to try and get more of those procedures in since we do have the PPE necessary, and the testing necessary to make sure everyone is safe,” said Hedgpeth. “We’re excited to increase our volume so we can make sure we’re taking care of our community.”

Not having those elective surgeries available for nearly two months has taken a big toll on both hospital’s finances.

The two spokeswomen say they are up to around 80% of their normal surgery capacity they are used to seeing.

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