How we're keeping patients safe
Learn more about the measures we've implemented to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19. We're committed to ensuring the safety of our patients, staff and community.
What are the safety measures for a surgery during COVID-19?
Surgeries and procedures that were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic are now being rescheduled. On May 1, we began performing procedures that do not require an overnight stay, which might include a knee surgery, carpal tunnel surgery, colonoscopy or a heart-related procedure such as a catheterization. As of June 2, we're resuming procedures that require an overnight stay. Examples include a total hip replacement, an appendectomy or a brain surgery.
- If you’ve had a surgery postponed, your health care provider’s office will contact you to schedule a telehealth appointment to review your health status. During this scheduled video or phone visit, you’ll receive additional information and make a joint decision with your provider about how and when to proceed.
- If you’ve had a procedure or imaging appointment postponed, our offices will contact you to discuss next steps for rescheduling
You should check with your provider for details about your specific situation; here is a general overview of what to expect. Meanwhile, if you have any health concerns to discuss, please contact your provider.
What is Ohio State doing to ensure it is now safe to have surgeries?
Will I be safe in the hospital if Ohio State is treating patients with COVID-19?
The risk of contracting COVID-19 while at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is very low; however, the risk cannot be completely eliminated because of the community spread of the virus. When you come to Ohio State, you'll see many precautions we've taken to increase your safety.
Patients undergoing a surgery or procedure are required to sign an additional informed consent, which outlines the risks and your rights.
Learn more about the safety measures being taken at Ohio State.
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
Some individuals without active symptoms can be positive for COVID-19. Testing helps reduce the likelihood of anyone undergoing a procedure while possibly infected and increases the likelihood of a smooth recovery. This precaution helps us better protect you, all patients and our medical staff. Patients having a planned surgery or procedure, as well as those living with them, should minimize exposure to others and exercise extra precautions 14 days prior to the patient’s scheduled appointment. During this window, a patient or household contact can leave the home to go on a walk, to work, grocery store, pickup carryout, etc. but they should maintain social distancing, wear a mask and practice good hand-washing hygiene at all times. They should avoid traveling, large gatherings and restaurants and bars.
Inpatients (services for which you will stay overnight, several nights or greater)
All patients admitted to the hospital will undergo testing for COVID-19 upon admission. Scheduled labor & delivery patients should be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission.
Outpatients (procedures, testing or surgeries for which you typically go home the same or next day)
Surgical patients receiving anesthesia or whose procedures involve the mouth, nose, throat, airways, lungs or internal organs will be required to have COVID-19 testing performed. Other patients may be tested for COVID-19 based on the provider’s medical judgement. If you test positive, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be scheduled. It just means you may need to wait longer, if possible, or that our team will make the necessary adjustments to provide you with an ideal experience. To maintain the confidence of the test results, after the test is taken, you must self-isolate (except to get urgent medical care) and minimize contact with other individuals until your scheduled surgery or procedure.
Patients are screened for symptoms at all appointments to determine the best course of action. If you have flu-like symptoms, including fever or cough, and have an upcoming appointment, stay home and call your provider or Ohio State Telehealth Immediate Care at 614-293-3200 to let them know before visiting any of our hospital or outpatient care locations. You will be advised on whether you need medical care or COVID-19 testing.
If you are in need of urgent or emergency care, we are open and ready to serve you regardless if you have received a COVID-19 test. When you arrive, you may be given a COVID-19 test, but please note that will not delay us in providing you care. If you are admitted to the hospital, you will be given a COVID-19 test.
How does COVID-19 affect my recovery from surgery?
We have put in place many additional safety precautions to provide you with the best care and ensure a smooth recovery. Prior to your surgery, one of our team members will contact you to ask about possible COVID-19 symptoms. Surgical patients receiving anesthesia or whose procedures involve the mouth, nose, throat, airways, lungs or internal organs will be required to have COVID-19 testing performed. Other patients may also be tested for COVID-19 at the discretion of the provider. Testing helps reduce the likelihood of anyone undergoing a procedure while possibly infected and increases the likelihood of a smooth recovery after surgery. Please note: A positive COVID-19 test doesn’t necessarily mean your surgery won’t be held as scheduled.
Can I have visitors while in the hospital before, during or after surgery?
In general, no visitors are permitted at hospital or outpatient locations. There are some exceptions to the visitor restrictions that allow for visitors before, during or after surgery:
- One (1) person allowed to accompany a patient having major surgery on day of surgery and one day after surgery
Outpatient and Inpatient Procedures:
- Patients admitted for an outpatient procedure (e.g. Interventional Radiology, Cardiac Cath Lab, etc.) that requires an overnight stay will follow the inpatient visitation guidelines. No visitation is permitted unless patient meets an exception criteria.
- Inpatients who are currently admitted and are having a procedure that is not considered "major surgery" will follow the inpatient visitation guidelines. No visitation is permitted unless patient meets an exception criteria.
- Minor patients (<18 years old) may have one (1) visitor, but this is limited to a parent or guardian.
- One adult may accompany a patient who has significant physical or cognitive disabilities.
- No visitors for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, unless patient is a minor. Minor COVID-19 patients may have one (1) visitor, but the visitor must be a parent or guardian.
Should you practice social distancing?
Social distancing keeps sick people from coming into contact with healthy people. During a pandemic like COVID-19, everyone should practice as much social distancing as possible and take other preventive measures to help stop the spread of disease.
What safety precautions should I take when I am discharged from the hospital?
As always following a surgery or procedure, you should follow the directions of your provider to have a healthy and safe recovery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some additional precautions you can take to stay safe:
- Wear a mask or face covering when around others
- Stay home when you’re sick
- Avoid close contact with others
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Clean and disinfect "high-touch" surfaces often
What if I need care and I have a change in insurance coverage?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CARES Act requires that certain services and items related to COVID-19 testing are available at no cost to the patient.
For ongoing health care needs, below are options for the recently unemployed who no longer have employer insurance coverage:
- Cobra: Purchase a continuation of your employer’s insurance coverage
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace: browse, compare and purchase from various health plans available under the ACA. Subsidies may be available for newly decreased incomes
- Ohio Medicaid: Coverage for eligible low-income children, pregnant women, parents, seniors, individuals with disabilities. Current Medicaid enrollees should check to ensure their coverage is current.
- Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Financial Assistance: If you are not eligible for any of the above programs, contact one of our financial counselors at 614-293-0860, option 2 for other options or assistance in applying for Ohio Medicaid.
Please also note that some of your care may be completed via telehealth. As of 4/1/2020 the following insurance plans pay for video visits: Aetna, Anthem, Buckeye, CareSource, Cigna Behavioral Health, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Molina, OSU Health Plan, Paramount, United Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Medicare and all the Medicaid insurance plans. Cigna Medical is not currently covering video visits. You are responsible for your insurance plan co-pay. If you are unsure of your coverage, contact your insurance plan.