Dignity Health Central Coast to Reopen Surgery Centers for Non-Emergent Procedures


Key components must be safely met before procedures can begin

CENTRAL COAST, CA – May 4, 2020 – Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals and outpatient surgery centers are preparing to safely resume certain scheduled procedures. We have clear criteria that must as we move forward with resuming procedures based on guidelines from national health officials and our local clinical leaders. After pausing medically-necessary elective and other non-urgent procedures during COVID-19, we are following guidance from the CDC, US Surgeon General, American College of Surgeons, and the leading national associations of nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists in establishing criteria for resuming such procedures. 

“With data indicating the initial peak of the pandemic is behind us, we are following the lead of national health officials and partnering with state and local public health leaders to establish criteria for resuming scheduled procedures and other services at our local facilities,” says Chief Medical Officer Scott Robertson, MD. “Like most hospitals, we postponed these procedures to prepare for a surge of coronavirus patients. However, these are important services that patients need to treat both acute and chronic conditions, or prevent a serious illness from worsening.”

Before scheduling procedures, all hospitals and surgery centers nationally must meet the following criteria: A sustained reduction/flattening of COVID-19 cases in the community; sufficient capacity of beds and equipment; sufficient PPE; and COVID-19 testing in place for all appropriate patients scheduling a surgical procedure.

In addition to this criteria, we continue to take significant steps to the safety of community, patients, and members of the health care team. To ensure the safety and care of our patients:

  • All staff, patients, and visitors will be screened before entering any care facility, checked for symptoms, and provided with a mask if they don’t have one.

  • Appropriate PPE will continue to be provided to every staff engaging in direct patient care. We continue to explore every option to secure additional PPE. Scheduled procedures will only proceed if we have enough PPE.

  • Every appropriate preoperative patient will be tested in advance. Our goal is to also be able to quickly expand testing for staff as soon as possible.

  • Restrictions on visitation will remain in place.

  • Care facilities will continue enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in every care setting, ensure we are practicing strict social distancing wherever possible, and adjust operating room schedules to allow for additional cleanings after each procedure.

  • Where possible care facilities will separate care provided to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients from other patients receiving scheduled procedures.

  • Procedures will be gradually phased in, and we will closely monitor cases in our community. If we see an increase in cases, we will act quickly to reinstate restrictions on procedures.

Outpatient locations resuming procedures are: Plaza Surgery Center, Coastal Surgical Institute, and Templeton Surgery Center. 

Our hospitals and outpatient surgery centers have a careful and detailed approach to determine which procedures can safely be performed, where they can be performed, and when they can be performed. For optimal care of our community, the most urgent procedures are being prioritized using a process created by our clinical teams. 

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About Dignity Health Central Coast 
Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. For more information, visit dignityhealth.org/central-coast.


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