April 27, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following Gov. Mike DeWine’s guidance announced at his press conference this afternoon, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will slowly return to ambulatory surgeries, procedures, diagnostic testing and diagnostic imaging that do not require an inpatient or overnight hospital stay. 
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic and in compliance with the state’s March 19 order restricting nonessential surgeries and other procedures, the medical center only performed surgeries and procedures to avoid risk of life, permanent dysfunction, progression of disease or rapidly worsening symptoms. Elective cases that didn’t meet these general criteria were postponed.
 
Procedures will be determined by the clinical judgement of our physicians using criteria to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients. 
 
“We’re now entering a time of recovery,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for Health Affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “We’ll be moving into this next phase with an abundance of care and caution.”
 
Multiple workgroups at the medical center are reviewing different aspects of the process of resuming all procedures. Gradually, patients will be rescheduled. 
 
“Ensuring the safety of our patients and staff is our priority,” said Dr. Timothy Pawlik, surgeon in chief of The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and chair of the Department of Surgery in the Ohio State College of Medicine. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that our patients are protected through our restriction of visitors, regular screening of staff, isolation of COVID-19 patients and many other measures. We’ve updated our safety protocols to ensure that our medical staff have the necessary personal protective equipment at all times.”
 
In the coming weeks, medical center staff will check in with patients to reassess their individual needs. If a procedure was postponed, a scheduler will call to set up a telehealth appointment.
 
During the telehealth appointment, the patient will have a one-on-one conversation with their health care provider about their condition and risks involving COVID-19. Together, they’ll come to a joint decision about moving forward with the procedure. 
 
Each case will be reviewed and considered individually to ensure that the proper safety precautions are in place.
 
Patients may be tested for COVID-19 to help determine the risks to the patient and medical staff and help to better protect all patients. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19, that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be scheduled. They may need to wait longer, if possible, to have their procedure. 
 
“Despite the pandemic, we must still treat all aspects of our health. Don’t let fear of COVID-19 prevent you from seeking necessary medical attention. Our health care facilities are safe,” Pawlik said.
 
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Media Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations, 614-293-3737, Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu
 

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