GREENVILLE, Texas (May 11, 2020) – As phased reopenings begin throughout Texas and restrictions ease around the county, Hunt Regional Healthcare is working to develop steps for safe care while resuming services throughout the hospital through their Health Forward plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the mandated postponement of elective surgeries and other nonessential medical care by federal and state officials. With many of those mandates now expiring, Hunt Regional’s Health Forward plan outlines the hospital’s strategy for resuming expanded operations while maintaining the safety of patients and employees.
“As Hunt County begins to stabilize, it is important for every patient to restart care that has been postponed, such as surgical care, chronic disease management and preventive care,” says Hunt Regional CEO Richard Carter.
“The long-term wellness of our community depends on patients feeling safe to seek care through their local healthcare provider and at our hospital,” he said.
All surgeries, including elective procedures, have now resumed at Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville. Among the safety measures in place are COVID-19 testing for non-emergent cases. Scheduled surgery patients will be screened 72 hours prior to surgery and will be advised to self-quarantine from the time of screening until surgery takes place.
Dr. Anthony Elisco, urologist with Hunt Regional Medical Partners specialty practices, says that he—along with other Hunt Regional surgeons—are ready to get back to operating in order to improve their patients’ health, comfort and quality of life.
“I know that many of our patients have patiently waited to have their procedures done. I’m very pleased to once again be able to perform these necessary procedures,” said Elisco.
The main surgery center entrance will open exclusively for surgery patients beginning Monday, May 18. Each surgery patient may have one accompanying visitor who must be over the age of 18. All surgery center patients and accompanying visitors will be screened for fever, cough and travel and will be required to wear a mask.
Ryan Madewell, director of environmental services for Hunt Regional Healthcare, says that the housekeeping staff is taking extra precautions to ensure a clean environment and reduce the risk of transmission through disinfection practices.
“Our EVS staff works continuously to clean high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas. We also perform airborne precaution cleaning in line with CDC recommendations,” said Madewell.
Other Hunt Regional facilities around the county, including Hunt Regional’s open imaging centers in Greenville and Rockwall, are open and fully staffed. Additionally, Hunt Regional’s emergency departments in Greenville, Commerce and Quinlan, remain open 24/7 to address medical needs.
Precautions are being taken throughout all Hunt Regional Healthcare emergency facilities to isolate patients with COVID-19 symptoms and prevent exposing other patients in the emergency room to possible infection.
Dr. Ryan Randles, trauma medical director for Hunt Regional Medical Center, says that under no circumstance should patients avoid going to an emergency room or calling 911 if they feel their symptoms are truly serious.
“If patients decide to seek emergency care, they will be screened for COVID-19 before being allowed into the ER to better identify and isolate those with the virus. Patients are also separated to a different area of the ER if they are suspected of COVID-19 and placed in isolation rooms within the hospital if they are confirmed to have the illness,” said Randles.
It is important for patients experiencing signs of an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, to call 911 or seek emergency care at the nearest emergency room immediately.
As Hunt County moves forward in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Hunt Regional continues to reevaluate safety practices to provide the best care. Hunt Regional care team members are monitored for COVID-19 through temperature symptom checks. Additionally, all staff members wear masks, while patient care team members use additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and their patients. Strict guidelines for protecting patients are followed, as advised by the CDC. These include masks, gloves, gowns, isolations rooms and sterilization procedures.
Part of keeping patients and employees safe includes limiting the number of people allowed inside the hospital. Current visitor restrictions are mandated by the governor and will remain in place until Aug. 4, unless lifted sooner.
Currently, inpatient visitation has been suspended except during end-of-life care and for surrogate decision makers. Women’s center patients (labor and delivery/postpartum) may have one designated guest. Emergency department patients may have one visitor if the patient is a minor, in critical condition, or requires a surrogate decision maker. All other visitors are requested to wait in their car. Other limits include the temporary closure of waiting rooms and the restriction of visitors under the age of 18.
All patients and visitors to Hunt Regional facilities will be screened upon entrance. Entry points for non-surgical patients at Hunt Regional Medical Center include the front door (revolving door) and emergency department. The main entrance is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday all patients and visitors to Hunt Regional Medical Center must enter through the emergency department.
For questions about COVID-19 testing, as it relates to surgery, patients should contact their surgeon. To learn more about Hunt Regional and COVID 19, visit www.huntregional.org/COVID.