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St. Louis area hospitals to halt elective procedures starting March 23 to focus on coronavirus

If you have an elective procedure scheduled, your healthcare provider will contact you to reschedule

ST. LOUIS — All the major St. Louis area hospital systems will stop performing elective medical procedures starting Monday.

In a press release from the St. Louis Regional Health Systems, the change will begin Monday at all BJC, SSM and Mercy hospitals, as well as St. Luke's Hospital.

“This measure is intended to ensure that only urgent or time-sensitive procedures are provided, to protect our caregivers and the communities we serve, and to conserve the resources needed for the COVID-19 health crisis," the health systems said in a joint statement. “Our regional health systems have been working together, and will continue to do so, to consistently and transparently address issues our communities are encountering during this epidemic.” 

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“Elective” care is classified as care that can be delayed for eight weeks or more without risk to patients or families, and without compromising standards of care, the statement said. It also said the actions were in line with recommendations from the CDC, the American College of Surgeons, the Surgeon General and other specialty organizations.

If you have an elective procedure scheduled, you will be contacted by your healthcare provider to discuss rescheduling.

The full statement is as follows:

ST. LOUIS, MO, March 19, 2020 – In an effort to protect patients and caregivers from the spread of COVID-19 infection, a group of St. Louis health care providers including BJC HealthCare and its partners at Washington University School of Medicine, Mercy, SSM Health and its partners at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and St. Luke’s Hospital have announced the cancellation of elective procedures, effective Monday, March 23.

“This measure is intended to ensure that only urgent or time-sensitive procedures are provided, to protect our caregivers and the communities we serve, and to conserve the resources needed for the COVID-19 health crisis," the health systems said in a joint statement. “Our regional health systems have been working together, and will continue to do so, to consistently and transparently address issues our communities are encountering during this epidemic.”

“Elective” care is classified as care that can be delayed for eight weeks or more without risk to patients or families, and without compromising standards of care. These actions are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American College of Surgeons, the Surgeon General and other specialty organizations.

The health systems will reevaluate processes as the situation evolves and will provide notice when it’s appropriate to resume normal processes.

Patients who currently have elective health procedures scheduled will be contacted by their health care provider to discuss rescheduling. If patients have a procedure scheduled and are unsure of its status, it’s recommended to contact your physician or care provider.

Clay Dunagan, MD
 Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer
 BJC HealthCare

Keith Starke, MD
 Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer
 Mercy

Alexander Garza, MD, MPH        
 Chief Medical Officer                                                    
 SSM Health                                                                        

J. William Campbell, MD
 Infectious Disease Specialist
 Medical Director, St. Luke’s Medical Group

The hospital systems have also put in place other changes and restrictions to keep patients and their families safe.

Local hospitals change visitor policies due to coronavirus concerns

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