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UW Medicine among health care systems looking to offer elective surgeries again

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is among the hospitals in the UW Medicine system, which will likely start allowing elective surgeries again if COVID-19 modeling continues to show improvement.
Ted S. Warren
/
The Associated Press
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is among the hospitals in the UW Medicine system, which will likely start allowing elective surgeries again if COVID-19 modeling continues to show improvement.

Hospitals in Washington state are mapping out plans to once again offer elective surgeries. Gov. Jay Inslee, who halted the procedures as part of his emergency order, has indicated he may loosen restrictions if Thursday’s COVID-19 models show enough of an improvement.

If they get the go ahead, UW Medicine says its hospitals and clinics will likely schedule elective surgeries beginning May 18. 

Clinics president Lisa Brandenburg says you don’t need to call if you had a procedure canceled; they’ll call you to reschedule. She acknowledges that a critical piece for any hospitals in the wake of the virus is making sure patients feel safe. To that end she said, they have a separate wing for anyone being treated for COVID-19 and every patient who enters the hospital is now tested for the coronavirus. And, she said, they’ve taken other measures, as well.

“Every day with our staff we ask them to sign an attestation that they are well and don’t have any new symptoms,” she said.

If they do have symptoms they are asked to stay home. She said, While they don’t have an oversupply of personal protective equipment, she said, for now they do have enough to operate safely.

Hospitals have taken a huge financial hit from the pandemic. Non-emergency surgeries and procedures account for much of their income.

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Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.