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Community Medical to ramp up elective and non-urgent surgeries

Dean French, CEO of Community Medical Center in Missoula, said the hospital will begin performing elective and non-urgent surgeries. (Missoula Current file photo)

Community Medical Center will begin performing some elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures that were previously postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital said this week.

The decision to reschedule procedures when clinically appropriate was made in accordance with federal and state guidance, and aimed to preserve critical resources in the event of a feared surge of coronavirus patients.

But that surge never manifested and current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources, the hospital said.

“Resuming these important services is an essential component of meeting our community’s health needs,” said Dr. Dean French, the CEO of Community Medical Center.

The hospital will base decisions on which procedures can safely move forward after assessing a checklist and evaluating potential risks. The hospital will initially focus on scheduling patients with more time-sensitive health needs, and those decisions will be made in partnership with the attending medical provider.

Patients who are scheduled and approved for procedures must meet specific requirements, including a standard coronavirus screening. Surgical patients also will be asked to practice quarantine behaviors for seven days prior to their procedure to minimize potential exposure.

“As this work gradually gets underway in our hospital again, we remain committed to conserving critical supplies, being vigilant in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that our facility is a safe place for all patients, providers and employees,” said French.