Mayo Elective Surgeries

Katherine Tostenson, 16, of St. Peter, keeps her spirits up just prior to going to surgery for stage 4 papillary thyroid cancer at Mayo Clinic-St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester in 2015. Elective surgeries have returned at Mayo. (Photo by Richard Tostenson)

In March, Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Minnesota deferred all elective care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At that time, initial modeling projected a surge that would exceed capacity for hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators. Mayo Clinic also had a limited amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing capabilities.

Upon careful review of patient needs and our practice, and in alignment with the executive orders from Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health, Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Minnesota began to resume elective visits, procedures and surgeries on May 11.

Many patients have needed to defer care over the past several weeks because of the pandemic. However, now that Governor Walz has announced that health care providers may proceed with elective care, we are ready to fully resume our practice. Mayo Clinic Health System has implemented numerous safety measures to keep patients and staff safe, including universal masking, robust patient screening protocols and enhanced cleaning procedures. It is safe to receive care on our campuses.

The projected COVID-19 peak for Mayo Clinic’s sites has now lessened, and the plateau is extended — making hospital and ICU bed capacity no longer an issue at Mayo Clinic Health System. Mayo Clinic has developed and increased COVID-19 testing capabilities in Minnesota. In addition, PPE supplies are tracked carefully and Mayo Clinic continues to support appropriate conservation of PPE.

Surgical teams at Mayo Clinic Health System have safely increased semi-urgent, urgent and emergent surgeries to meet patients’ needs.

“We have confidence in our ability to expand care to patients whose surgeries were delayed because of COVID, while continuing to be capable of quickly shifting our practice to address a more aggressive COVID environment should circumstances change,” says Sandy Kopp, M.D., chair of community anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic.

Enhanced screening processes are in place for all patients based on anticipated services to be provided for surgery, procedures, therapies, outpatient visits and hospitalizations.

Dr. James Hebl is the regional vice president for Southwest Minnesota, Mayo Clinic Health System.

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