(Burlington, VT) – The University of Vermont Health Network is directing clinical leadership across all of its Vermont and Northern New York affiliates to immediately work toward eliminating “non-urgent elective” encounters with the health system. These steps are being taken to protect patients and staff from exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as well to conserve critical equipment and supplies.
Non-urgent elective encounters are defined as any surgery, procedure, diagnostic test or clinic visit that can be safely delayed or deferred, without threat to the immediate health and safety of the patient.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, especially when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our patients and our staff,” said John Brumsted, MD, CEO of the UVM Health Network. “While temporarily suspending elective procedures is disruptive, this decision is absolutely critical to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and it allows our health care providers more time and space to respond to this pandemic.”
By postponing non-urgent elective procedures and visits, the Network is able to:
- Reduce the community spread of COVID-19 by limiting person-to-person contact to only those who require urgent care.
- Redirect our care teams to patients who most need our help.
- Preserve acute care beds to accommodate a surge in demand related to COVID-19.
- Conserve the supplies and equipment required to safeguard our patients and staff.
Patients impacted by this decision will be contacted. If patients do not hear from a provider they should continue to prepare to attend appointments as scheduled. The Network is asking that patients refrain from calling clinical practices and hospitals at this time to check on the status of appointments so that workers can prioritize the significant number of incoming calls about COVID-19
The suspension of non-urgent encounters will be reassessed in the coming weeks to determine when it will be appropriate to resume normal operations and reschedule. Updates will be provided as the situation evolves.
About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:
Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our affiliates remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.