Questions answered from Nov. 17 town hall re: Operations

Q:  Would you consider putting on more lab testing machines to spin COVID tests? Wait times for patient test results is very long for patients coming in for surgery on weekends.

A:  We assume this question is related to rapid testing capability (those that take an hour to run once the specimen is in the laboratory).  We have a very limited number of rapid COVID tests available. The rate limiting factor is not the number of instruments available for the testing but the number of actual tests of this type that we are able to get from the manufacturer.

Q:  Are we now allowing elective surgeries to be done on COVID-positive patients? If yes, will those patients be cohorted away from negative surgical patients?

A:  If a patient is COVID+ and the procedure is not urgent or emergent, then the procedure is cancelled and rescheduled at least 20 days past the positive test date per CDC guidelines. Providers do have the discretion to proceed with an urgent or emergent procedure based on the patient’s clinical condition if the patient is COVID+.  These procedures are performed in a COVID-designated procedure room, and the patient would be admitted to a COVID-designated unit.

Q:  How is UKHC ensuring patient protection from COVID at the Center for Advanced Surgery with elective surgery?

A:  All staff and providers screen for COVID symptoms each day and wear universal PPE. All patients are tested 72 to 96 hours prior to procedure and are screened for symptoms on the day of their procedure. Elective procedures will be cancelled if a patient tests COVID+.

Q:  Other institutions have eliminated elective surgery, under what circumstances would we do the same? 

A:  Given our mission to the commonwealth, it’s important for people to continue access to care at UK HealthCare. We are focused on maintaining a level of care for our patients, while also monitoring inpatient bed capacity and overall staffing continuously. If the state mandates we suspend elective procedures, we will do so.