Brooks-TLC Offers Specific Elective Surgeries

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Hospital Following State Guidelines For Re-opening to Serve Region’s Patients

Brooks-TLC Hospital System, which treated seven confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, is re-open for elective out-patient surgeries after meeting New York State protocols for moving beyond the virus, officials announced today.

As the hospital shared last week, a plan is in place to follow state Department of Health [DOH] regulations around COVID-19, but also to slowly re-open the hospital for in-demand, out-patient procedures. These include colonoscopies, eye surgery and simple orthopedic, urologic, and other surgeries that don’t routinely require hospitalization.

“We realize there is pent-up demand for these services, and we want to our doctors, nurses and their staffs to again perform these elective, out-patient surgeries,” said President and CEO Mary E. LaRowe. “Overall, it’s a good sign for our region that we’ve collectively met the state’s criteria for resuming these surgeries in the time of COVID.”

Among the DOH rules is that a hospital have at least 30 percent of its standard beds, and 30 percent of its intensive-care unit beds, available if needed in case of any surge in inpatient admissions. The hospital must also have fewer than 10 COVID-19 inpatient admissions in a 10-day look-back period. Brooks-TLC was able to do that for the period April 17-27 and that initiated its re-opening.

Between March 16 and now, Brooks staff and administration made a series of decisions and modifications to cope with the disease’s spread. Doctors and nurses identified potential areas to care for patients should a surge occur, and they created a surge plan in the event of high-volume COVID-19 admissions. As it turned out, admissions were manageable and patient flow did not overwhelm hospital’s resources. To date, Brooks handled seven COVID-19 cases, with, sadly, two deaths.

In conjunction with these activities, hospital leaders secured and monitored inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE); communicated with PPE vendors and others to ensure access to necessary supplies; and educated and re-trained staff on the proper use and storage of PPE.

Outwardly, the administration established more-limited access to the facility; set up a pre-screening area for everyone entering the hospital; canceled all non-emergent and non-urgent surgical cases; instituted mandatory masking for all entering our facility; and implemented a “work from home” requirement for non-clinical personnel and others as appropriate.

Finally, the hospital established processes to facilitate communication of information internally and externally, identified capability to increase COVID-19 and antibody testing, when supplies become available.

The re-opening coincides with National Nurses Week [2] [May 6-12] and National Hospital Week [3] [May 10-16] so it’s an appropriate time, LaRowe said.

“This has been a rough time for everyone, but especially for our medical staff, our attending physicians and our hard-working nurses and employees,” LaRowe said. “We love seeing them get back to work helping all their patients, and we know they are ready.”

For further information about surgical options, patients should call their physician’s office.