UVM Health Network extends suspension of elective surgeries and procedures


UVM Medical Center opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing operation Monday, one of numerous steps taken in Vermont to get a handle on the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension of non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures by hospitals and clinics in the University of Vermont Health Network will continue through at least May 15.

The network — with three hospitals in Vermont and three in New York — first suspended surgeries, procedures and tests that could be safely delayed on March 17. The decision was necessary, administrators said, to reduce the risk to patients and staff, as well as to conserve resources, such as acute care beds, needed to treat COVID-19 case.

“This decision is difficult for patients, but these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,”said John Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of the UVM Health Network.

Brumstead said the network will continue to ask people to rely on telemedicine appointments in place of in-person visits, but urged anyone with a medical emergency to immediately call their doctor or visit the emergency room.

The network said in a statement that it will continue to “analyze the current state of the pandemic” re-evaluate the suspension over the next six weeks. In the meantime, patients impacted by the suspension will be contacted by their provider. The network is asking that patients not call clinics and hospitals to check on the status of appointments

The decision is line with state-of-emergency directives by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have extended stay-at-home orders in their states until at least mid-May.

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