UVM Health Network Extends Suspension of Elective Surgeries and Procedures
Network Affiliates Continue to Provide Care Through Scheduled Video Appointments and in-Person Emergency Visits
The Network first directed clinical leaders across all of its Vermont and Northern New York affiliates on March 17 to immediately work to eliminate “non-urgent elective” encounters within the health system. The action was taken to protect patients and staff from exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as well as 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.
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.
This action has and will continue to cause inconvenience for both our patients and providers. However, the Network has been able to quickly increase its e-Health capabilities to meet the health care needs of patients who do not need to be seen in-person for their appointment. The extension of this directive should not affect the continued use of e-health visits.
Additionally, there is concern across the Network that some patients are not seeking emergency or essential medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19. We have been making efforts to communicate to our patients and the public that they should not hesitate to seek care in the event of an urgent medical situation. All proper precautions are being taken to keep both patients and staff safe.
Patients impacted by the suspension of elective surgeries and procedures 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.
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:
The University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group
The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center
The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network – Porter Medical Center
The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health & Hospice
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.