Mission Health announces phased approach to caring for non-COVID-19 patients

Within the next several days Mission Health plans to begin phasing back in certain services and procedures that were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

To date, Mission Health has not seen the surge of COVID-19 patients initially anticipated when the pandemic first began to spread across the country. There have been just over 20 inpatients with COVID-19 throughout the entire health system as of late April.

“Thankfully the sacrifices we have all made to flatten the curve have helped to slow the spread of the virus,” said Greg Lowe, President HCA Healthcare NC Division/Mission Health. “This gives us hope as we plan to restart services that we temporarily suspended in March as part of our initial response to COVID-19.  Both clinical and operational changes are required to ensure the safety and security of our patients and employees and we’re committed to getting this right,” said Greg Lowe, President HCA Healthcare NC Division/Mission Health.

He added that due to Mission’s intense planning efforts and good supply levels, they are now carefully turning their attention to serving patients whose treatments may have been put on hold because of COVID-19.

“We understand that many of our patients have forgone important procedures like cancer therapies and joint replacements due to the pandemic, and we are developing a cautious, comprehensive strategy to allow for the safe return of these patients to our facilities,” said Lowe. “As we begin this transition, the health and safety of our patients and our colleagues remain our top priority, so be assured that any reinstatement of services will be part of a careful, phased approach.”

Mission expects to begin a return of services in phases, within the next week to 10 days. In the first phase, Mission will work to resume procedures that were deferred or canceled during the initial COVID-19 response time.

When Mission makes the decision to proceed with services, Lowe said it will not be a switch, but a dial—enabling Mission to stay attune to necessary calibrations as we move forward.

“We will regularly evaluate our best practices to assess when and if we need to make adjustments,” said Lowe. “Our willingness to adapt in this way is a direct reflection of our commitment to providing the highest caliber care. We value the confidence our patients have in us, and we hold ourselves accountable for reinforcing that confidence in the days ahead.”

William R. Hathaway, MD FACC Chief Medical Officer said Mission Health will stay consistent with Governor Cooper and DHHS Secretary Cohen’s guidance, and are carefully planning and undertaking a phased approach to begin care that focuses on the most critical and timely patients who have been waiting while Mission prioritized services for COVID-19 patients.

Safeguards have been implemented across the system, such as universal masking and screening of all patients, visitors and employees, to reassure our patients and team members who may have more concerns about coming to a healthcare facility than they did in the past.

As another aspect of this approach, Mission is working with physicians to understand what they will need to resume more normal operations in their practices to include social distancing and proper screening of patients as well.

Mission Health is making critical decisions and taking decisive action every day to protect and support patients, colleagues, and caregivers while determining the safest way to phase back in important procedures and other medical services.

“Thanks to the good work of residents adhering to our Stay Home – Stay Safe policy, the risk of exceeding the capacity at Mission Hospital to care for all patients is now low,” said Brownie Newman, Chair Buncombe County Commission. “County health officials are comfortable with Mission performing important medical procedures that had been placed on hold. Residents can receive the health care they need and our nurses and doctors can carry out their work. The county will coordinate with Mission to carefully monitor patient numbers to assure adequate capacity going forward,” said Brownie Newman, Chair of the Buncombe County Commission.”

Lowe said Mission Health stands ready to provide care for all patients and is a safe choice for all in the community who need our care, now and for the future.

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