As restrictions start to lift in some states, surgeries and other procedures that were halted when the coronavirus pandemic reached the U.S. are now being resumed. As hospitals and surgery centers embrace the new normal with the risk of coronavirus omnipresent, many patients are eager to reschedule “elective” operations that were delayed because of the lockdowns.

As of May 1, approximately 20 states have resumed elective surgeries. More are planning to do so in the coming weeks. The term elective can be a bit deceiving because these procedures are medically necessary. The elective part is that surgeons and patients choose when and where they will do them.

When these elective surgeries were on hold, patients with medically necessary and painful conditions — orthopedic, neurological, and cancer-related — were forced to wait in pain. Now, the time has come to focus on those surgeries that are time-sensitive and can no longer wait. Imagine the life of a patient who’s been waiting for that knee or hip replacement or spine surgery.

Is It Safe?

Critics are questioning whether hospitals are too quick to allow elective procedures. Many potential patients are understandably worried about visiting hospitals due to the risk of the COVID-19 infection.

Hospitals across the US, however, have been reassuring patients that they have expanded and added safety procedures. Adding that once in an operating room, it’s one of the safest places to be. Because of these added precautions, one doctor remarked that emergency departments are safer than most stores and other public areas.

What Steps Are You Taking to Keep Patients Safe?

Hospitals and surgery centers vary in their practices to protect patients and their staff. As an example, some facilities are now extending the hours of operating rooms way beyond normal and running through weekends to reduce the swelling backlog of “elective” surgeries.

You can refer to the joint statement by the American Hospital Association and many medical specialties such as the American College of Surgeons outlining a roadmap for resuming elective surgery for a list of principles and considerations for your facility.

The CMS and also the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) have released recommendations when re-opening healthcare facilities. Here are some of them:

  • Establishing Non-COVID Care (NCC) zones that would screen all patients for symptoms of COVID-19. Staff would be screened routinely as would others who would work in the facility (e.g. housekeeping, delivery, etc.)
  • Testing all elective outpatient surgical and non-urgent procedural patients for COVID-19 three days prior to their scheduled appointments
  • Ensuring more than 30 percent vacancy is available in all staffed beds and 30 percent in Intensive Care Unit beds.
  • Ensuring the hospital has more than a seven-day supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical-surgical supplies on hand.
  • Facility considerations, including social distancing in waiting areas and maintaining lower patient volumes. Following waiting room spacing guidelines, social distancing, face masking, etc.
  • Sanitation protocols, including an established plan for thorough cleansing and disinfection prior to using spaces.

How Are You Communicating With Patients?

A facility should make it clear to patients that they are not being forgotten and that your center is working on plans to get them the care that they need.

Putting in place an omnichannel communications strategy would be a key advantage when ramping up surgeries again whether it be for orthopedics, general surgery, eye surgeries, or even dental surgeries. With the use of integrated multiple communication channels, some facilities are hearing daily from patients who have had elective procedures delayed because of COVID-19.

Mnet Cares

While the patient experience begins with the facility; Mnet also continues the “patient-friendly” experience through to the point of helping patients pay for their procedures.

We’re all in this together. Mnet is deeply committed to working with hospitals and surgery centers to stabilize productivity and keep patient communications open and available. We understand the drastic situation facing the industry – and we’re here to help.

Has the time come for you to resume elective surgeries? If yes, then you will need to focus on cases as soon as possible.

Having a partner that focuses on patient payments can free up staff to focus on building case volume.  We can help you:

  • Open your doors sooner with an already fully functioning patient pay department
  • Focus on scheduling cases while our remote call center reps focus on payments
  • Maintain extended business office hours going forward
  • Avoid out-of-pocket expenses for as long as possible with performance-based fees

Call 866.648.4677 or email contact@mnethealth.com today to see how Mnet Health is helping patients pay.