LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On April 27, Norton Healthcare, in accordance with Team Kentucky guidelines, began a phased approach to safely resume services and, in turn, better address the community’s current and ongoing medical needs. The phased approach is designed to provide essential medical services while continuing to effectively care for patients with COVID-19.
As part of phase 2, Norton Healthcare will resume outpatient surgery and other outpatient invasive procedures on May 6. As an additional safe-guard, all Norton Healthcare patients will have pre-procedure testing for COVID-19. To accommodate this testing conveniently and safely, Norton Healthcare opened pre-procedure testing clinics.
In addition to pre-procedure testing, all patients admitted to a Norton Healthcare hospital now have the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms. Norton Healthcare emergency department patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 also can choose to be tested. They will receive results in 48 to 72 hours and will be monitored via Norton Healthcare’s new virtual hospital program, where a provider will call and check on patients daily.
“We are doing everything within our power to keep our patients, providers, employees and the community safe,” said Steven T. Hester, M.D., MBA, division president, provider operations, and system chief medical officer, Norton Healthcare. “Giving more patients the choice to have a COVID-19 test is something we now have the ability to do. Learning a COVID-19 status enables patients and providers to determine the care path to take. In addition, it lets patients know if they are at risk for passing the infection on to others, so they can take additional measures to prevent transmission.
At all Norton Healthcare facilities, every patient has their temperature checked upon arrival and is required to fill out a questionnaire of past travel and medical history to determine if they are high risk and need to be in isolation. This will continue. Norton Healthcare also encourages all patients to wear a mask when coming to the hospital, emergency department or outpatient setting for care. Patients who do not have a mask and show signs or symptoms of respiratory illness will be given a mask to wear.
Phases 3 and 4
Should the number of new COVID-19 cases remain on a downward trend, phases 3 and 4 are planned for May 13 and May 27, respectively. On May 13, all hospital surgeries and procedures are planned to resume at 50% of pre-COVID volumes. On May 27, all hospital surgeries and procedures are planned to resume at a to-be-determined volume based on supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and bed availability.
‘Safe appointment wait’ measure
As part of its phased plan, Norton Healthcare will continue to follow its “safe appointment wait” measure that enforces social distancing in waiting areas, staggers scheduled appointments and, when necessary, asks patients to wait in their vehicles for their appointments.
Norton Healthcare continues to follow the safety measures noted below:
• In addition to patients, all employees and providers will continue to be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms upon entering any Norton Healthcare patient-care facility.
• Employees and providers caring for patients are provided the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Infection prevention best practices, including thorough cleaning and sterilization between each patient visit, will continue.
• Telehealth services continue to be the preferred method for patient appointments during this pandemic and will continue to be used whenever possible for the foreseeable future.
• Norton Healthcare will continue its no-visitor policy (with few exceptions), and for the safety of our patients, providers and employees, a normal visitor policy will not resume in the near future.