Uniontown Hospital has caught up on a two-month backlog of patients scheduled for elective surgeries that were put on hold due to the pandemic.
“As COVID-19 became a reality for our region, and we knew it was a matter of when, not if, we immediately suspended surgical electives effective March 18,” said Josh Krysak, the director of community relations at Uniontown Hospital. “We wanted to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, conserve PPE (personal protective equipment) and ensure capacity if we would see a surge in COVID-19 cases.”
The hospital suspended those surgeries from March 18 to May 11, which was around the time Fayette moved from the state’s designated red phase to the partially-opened yellow phase.
“As we weathered the challenges presented by the pandemic, we reengaged our urgent and emergent surgical electives on May 11 and have continued to schedule them,” Krysak said.
In the span of those two months, Krysak said the hospital had a backlog of several hundred cases for elective surgery.
"Coming out of the suspension of surgical electives, we did have a significant backlog of patients waiting for their procedures, but we have worked through it and that backlog has completed,” Krysak said.
He said there are still a handful of patients who decided to continue to delay their elective procedures as concerns about COVID-19 persist.
“But we want to assure them that we are safe and engaging in processes and protocols that are designed to ensure their safety while in our care,” he said. “We recognize the importance of maintaining safety for them and for our staff and it remains our priority every day.”
That includes extensive cleaning and sterilization of touch points and high-traffic areas, a screening process for all patients and visitors, the hospital’s commitment to proper masking and usage of PPE.
“As part of that commitment, we test all high-risk patients for COVID-19 prior to their procedure,” Krysak said, adding that the community can rest assured if they need care, the hospital is ready to provide it and will do so safely. “We also continue to regularly review our processes around surgical electives and all care that we provide as we navigate this pandemic to ensure that safety is paramount.”