R.I. hospitals to resume elective surgeries

Updated at 6:43 p.m.

PROVIDENCE – Hospitals across the state on Monday once again began scheduling some elective surgical procedures.

Lifespan Corp., the state’s largest hospital group, is now offering access to a limited number of semi-urgent procedures, with added safety measures, on a case-by-case basis. The move increases access to care for patients following a decline in hospitalizations from COVID-19 infections, according to Lifespan officials.

A spokeswoman for Care New England Health System, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital group, confirmed on Monday that its hospitals also resumed scheduling for elective procedures.

Some of the procedures that Lifespan has resumed include nonurgent surgery, endoscopy, interventional cardiovascular procedures, interventional radiology, interventional pain and minimally invasive spine procedures, according to a news release.

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“Many of the elective procedures that were deferred are semi-urgent and need to be available to preserve health, manage pain and optimize quality of life for our patients,” said Dr. William Cioffi, surgeon-in-chief at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals.

The move by Lifespan comes after many procedures were halted for the anticipated surge of hospitalizations from virus infections. As previously reported, hospitals and health care facilities were facing steep drops in revenue on top of the heavy cost for equipment and materials to deal with the outbreak. Although Lifespan did not address any losses in Monday’s announcement, their Executive Vice President for Physician Affairs and Interim President of Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. John Murphy, previously told Providence Business News that the health system could rack up more than $350 million in losses.

Patients scheduled for any elective procedures will be tested for COVID-19 before their procedure and will have results before the day of the procedure. If they test positive or feel unwell, the procedure will be rescheduled unless it is an emergency. The day of their procedure, patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms and will be required to wear a mask before entering any hospital.

“Safety remains Lifespan’s highest priority and we will continually assess this policy to ensure the highest level of care for all patients,” said Dr. Cioffi.

ADDS third paragraph on Care New England resuming elective procedures. Updates throughout.

(Alexa Gagosz is a PBN staff writer. You can reach her at Gagosz@PBN.com)