As the positive impact of social distancing begins to flatten the curve for COVID-19 cases statewide, Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are resuming select services and surgeries to safely provide clinically necessary care for the health and well-being of area patients.
“While we know COVID concerns are still high, we don’t want patients’ conditions to deteriorate or urgent needs to become emergent due to a reluctance to seek appropriate care,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, M.D., Ph.D, MHSA, chief clinical officer for Trinity Health Michigan. “We are working together with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Health and Hospital Association and our fellow health systems in a coordinated effort to begin treating patients for both ambulatory and hospital-based non-COVID issues.”
As outlined in the Governor’s Stay at Home, Stay Safe executive order enacted in mid-March, the health system has only performed time sensitive essential surgeries, including urgent and emergent procedures, as determined by its physicians and their patient’s health care needs.
Through a phased reopening approach, the health system is now focusing on addressing health conditions that may not be imminently life threatening, but will result in overall worsening of the patient’s health and well-being if not addressed within the coming month. These essential procedures include cancer operations, vascular bypass, and diagnostic procedures for which further delay carries significant risk of harm to patients.
“For the health, safety and welfare of our patients, whose care has been deferred during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, we are developing a clear pathway to begin safely performing time-sensitive procedures while we also continue to care for COVID-19 patients in the months to come,” said Tocco-Bradley.
In line with its core value of Safety, Mercy Health and St. Joe’s is enhancing safety precautions already in place in order to resume select surgeries, procedures and other critical services following CDC and state COVID-19 guidance.
Enhanced safety measures include:
- COVID-free zones will separate patients confirmed to have COVID-19 from others in our facilities.
- All patients scheduled for elective procedures will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the surgery/procedure. If a patient tests positive, the procedure will be postponed until a negative result is obtained, unless urgent.
- Masks provided and required for everyone in our facilities.
- CDC standards for facility deep cleaning with increased frequency and special attention to surfaces that are frequently touched, like doorknobs and flat surfaces.
- Continued visitor restrictions.
- Continued monitoring of Personal Protective Equipment, medications, supplies and bed capacity.
Physicians will be reaching out to their patients over the coming weeks to discuss the need to begin scheduling time-sensitive procedures. IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group providers also continue to offer e-visits and video appointments so that patients still have access to needed health care, from the safety of their own home.
In addition, the emergency departments at all Mercy Health and St. Joe’s hospitals as well as St. Joseph Mercy Brighton health center have remained open for COVID and non-COVID care. As always, these fully functional emergency rooms are able to provide 24/7 care for cardiac issues, trauma, strokes, and any other concerns. Mercy Health and St. Joe’s have implemented a vigorous screening process with strict safety measures in place to ensure all patients can safely seek care for any urgent and emergent needs.
“People need to know it is safe to continue to come to the emergency room for any urgent and emergency care need,” said Tocco-Bradley. “We are concerned that people are putting off needed medical care; however, we are well-equipped and capable of handling all emergency care for our community, and have measures in place to ensure the safety of all patients and staff.”
Those who are interested in discussing a plan to schedule future procedures are encouraged to call their medical provider, or visit stjoeshealth.org or call 1-800-Be-Remarkable to find a physician.
About Trinity Health Michigan
Trinity Health Michigan is a leading health care provider and one of the state’s largest employers. With more than 24,000 full-time employees serving numerous counties, Trinity Health Michigan is composed of eight hospitals, including the five hospitals of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System located in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Howell, Livonia and Pontiac, and the three-hospital Mercy Health, operating in Grand Rapids and Muskegon. The health system has 2,348 beds and 3,400 physicians. With operating revenues of $3.4 billion, Trinity Health Michigan returns $195 million back to their local communities each year. Together with numerous ambulatory care locations, three home health agencies, one hospice agency and 17 senior living communities owned and/or operated by Trinity Health, Trinity Health Michigan provides the full continuum of care for Michigan residents.