FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- Essentia Health announced Tuesday that all routine appointments and elective procedures will be postponed for two weeks, beginning March 18th.
Essentia Health's chief medical officer Dr. Peter Henry said the decision was made to protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision, he explains, also allows Essentia Health to deploy staff and resources to prepare for expected infection outbreaks in communities it serves.
“We recognize that postponing routine appointments and elective procedures is disruptive to our patients and staff but we always put safety first,” Dr. Henry says. “We want to be ready to provide the care that our communities need in this unprecedented time.”
The decision affects appointments and elective procedures scheduled at any Essentia hospital or clinic from March 18 to April 1. Decisions about appointments and procedures after April 1 will be made later.
Essentia Health recommends taking advantage of out of office visits, such as E-visits and video visits available through Essentia MyHealth.
According to Essentia Health, postponing non-essential appointments and elective procedures is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as recommendations from the Surgeon General and the American College of Surgeons.
Essentia Health provided these additional points of reference:
• Routine clinic appointments are being rescheduled unless a physician or advance practice provider sees a need for an office visit. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their appointments. Patients may be offered a telephone visit, an E-visit or an online video visit through MyHealth. If these options don’t work, office appointments are expected to be rescheduled in four to six weeks.
• Elective surgeries and procedures will be postponed for two weeks if the delay will not adversely impact a patient’s condition. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their surgeries and procedures.
• Incoming requests for elective surgeries and routine appointments will be scheduled in four to six weeks unless a patient’s condition warrants one sooner.