Michigan hospitals start reducing elective procedures in wake of COVID-19 patient surge
Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor is the first hospital in Southeast Michigan to slow elective surgeries and other procedures due to the latest surge in COVID-19 patient admissions, hospital officials confirmed Thursday.
Henry Ford Macomb also has decided to limit elective procedures Thursday and Friday because the hospital is full. Bob Riney, president of hospital operations at Henry Ford Health System, said administrators will evaluate patient volume over the weekend.
Riney said Henry Ford’s other four Southeast Michigan hospitals continue to provide full slate of services.
Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford’s chief clinical officer, asked people not to cancel surgeries or procedures on their own. He said doctors will work with patients to reschedule to another time or another Henry Ford facility, if the surge worsens at other hospitals.
Three other Southeast Michigan health systems — Beaumont Health, Trinity Health Michigan and Ascension Michigan — are considering limiting elective surgeries or other procedures, depending on whether COVID-19 patient admissions continue to double every two weeks.
“Similar to many health systems across the state and metro region, Michigan Medicine has experienced record-high emergency room and admission volumes for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care this week resulting in extremely high hospital occupancy,” spokesperson Mary Masson said in an email to Crain’s.
“Due to rising occupancy and forecasts for continued high demand for emergency care and admissions, Michigan Medicine has had to make the difficult decision to reschedule a small number of scheduled surgeries late this week and next week in order to maintain safe occupancy levels.
“We are constantly monitoring the evolving situation and will make further adjustments to ensure scheduling aligns with our staffing and hospital room availability with safety of our patients and staff always remaining our highest priority.”
Later Thursday afternoon, Masson said Michigan Medicine is postponing three cases, which on an average day represents about 1.2% of all surgeries.
“We are constantly monitoring the evolving situation and will make further adjustments to ensure scheduling aligns with our staffing and hospital room availability with safety of our patients and staff always remaining our highest priority,” Masson said.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 was beginning to hit Southeast Michigan, several hospitals began to slow elective surgeries and other procedures, following the U.S. Surgeon General’s advice to free up staff, beds and units to prepare for an expected surge of incoming coronavirus patients.
At the time, those hospitals included Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, Ascension Health, Trinity Health and the University of Michigan Hospitals.
Procedures delayed included nonessential surgeries, including postponing a range of cardiology, cosmetic, bariatric and orthopedic elective procedures.
Beaumont Health, an eight-hospital system based in Southfield, is leaving decisions up to each of its hospitals based on patient volume.
“Site leadership, headed by the president, chief operating officer, chief medical officer and chief nursing officer, are working to assess patient needs and available resources to best meet the needs of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients during this latest surge,” according to a Beaumont daily update statement.
“Recognizing everyone has pandemic fatigue, we are ensuring our dedicated team members have all the resources needed to deliver the high-quality care patients expect from Beaumont,” the statement said. “Should site and system resources become constrained, site leadership will adjust resources to accommodate the increased demand of non-elective and COVID-19 patients accordingly.”
At Trinity Health Michigan, spokesperson Laura Blodgett said the eight-hospital health system will also make decisions on a case-by-case basis depending on bed capacity and staffing.
“There is no intent to delay or re-schedule non-urgent cases unless capacity is maxed out,” Blodgett said in an email to Crain’s. “We all recognize how important it is to continue patient care.”
Ascension Michigan also issued a statement late Thursday afternoon.
“Working in alignment with our statewide incident command team, each of our hospitals are reviewing elective procedures requiring an inpatient stay on a case-by-case basis,” the statement said.
“As we appropriately address this recent surge and continue to protect the health and safety of our patients, families, care staff and providers, some non-essential elective procedures requiring an inpatient stay may be deferred for a short period of time.”