CommonSpirit Health Restricts Non-Emergency Surgeries

CHICAGO – March 27, 2020 – CommonSpirit Health, which has hundreds of hospitals and clinics serving patients across 21 states, has implemented restrictions on non-emergency surgeries throughout its system in order to create and preserve surge capacity and personal protective equipment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate.

“In anticipation of a significant surge in patients needing evaluation or hospitalization for COVID-19, reprioritizing our resources is essential for us to best meet the needs of all of our patients and maintain high quality care,” said Robert Wiebe, MD, Chief Medical Officer of CommonSpirit Health. “This also helps us get protective equipment to our teams who need it most, which is critical to keeping our staff and physicians safe.”

Postponing elective and other non-emergent procedures allows better allocation of intensive care and inpatient beds, limited equipment, and a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment.

The policy does not apply to emergency surgical procedures. Elective surgeries and some non-emergent procedures will be evaluated for possible postponement on a case-by-case basis. The policy is effective immediately and will remain in effect until after the surge of COVID-19 patients.

Decisions about deferral will be based on the American College of Surgeons Guidance for Triage of Non-Emergent Surgical Procedures, published on March 17. The guidelines provide an algorithm that prioritizes procedures based on patient condition, risks associated with delay, patient’s risk for COVID-19 and other factors that contribute to the surgery outcome.

Examples of procedures most likely to be deferred include outpatient surgery for conditions that are not life-threatening. Procedures that may proceed include ones for patients whose condition is likely to deteriorate or require further hospitalization. Surgical procedures for patients with life-threatening conditions should proceed as planned.

###

About CommonSpirit Health

CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2019, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of nearly $29 billion and provided $4.45 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs.

Learn more at commonspirit.org.

Authors