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Elective Medical Services Update

Safely Expanding Access to Medical Services in VA and WV

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice have announced that elective medical services, which had temporarily ceased in response to the growing incidence of COVID-19, may resume in both states due to a decrease in the diagnosis of new cases.

For the safety of patients who cannot or should not delay care further, Valley Health System is expanding access to elective outpatient diagnostic testing beginning on Monday, May 4, and elective procedures for time-sensitive medical needs beginning on Wednesday, May 6.

Valley Health is taking a thoughtful, measured approach to providing access to care for individuals who have a medically necessary, time sensitive need. The focus of our efforts when resuming elective care is on patients for whom delaying care further may be potentially harmful.

Medical Imaging

Valley Health is resuming elective screening services, including screening mammograms and bone density exams (DEXA), at Winchester Medical Center’s Diagnostic Center beginning on Monday, June 1. For the safety of our patients, we are expanding access to outpatient screening exams carefully and deliberately and appreciate your patience in the event of any scheduling changes. Elective screening services are expected to resume at Valley Health’s other regional hospitals starting in mid-June.

Patient, Provider and Staff Safety

Ensuring the safety of every individual we serve and preserving the health of our community remain our top priorities.

Valley Health has numerous COVID-specific protocols in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff, and the appropriate treatment of individuals with suspected COVID-19 who seek care at our hospitals and outpatient locations. We have implemented COVID testing protocols prior to service delivery, rigorous infection control measures and screening for patients and staff to keep our community safe.

Screening

All patients are pre-screened for COVID-19 before entering a Valley Health facility for their test or procedure. All patients who need an elective surgical or endoscopic procedure will be tested for COVID-19 in advance of their procedure.

Masking

In keeping with new CDC guidelines, all patients should wear a facemask upon arrival at a Valley Health facility. Authorized visitors/essential care partners should also wear a cloth face covering or facemask. We encourage patients to bring their own facemasks to help preserve our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Maintaining an adequate supply of PPE is a very important factor in our ability to continue to provide services for our community. Having taken numerous steps in recent weeks to assure availability and adequacy of personal protective equipment, we will continue to focus on the appropriate use and preservation of PPE.

All Valley Health clinicians are required to wear a facemask when providing patient care. In addition, all Valley Health employees are required to wear a facemask when within six feet of others, and when conducting Valley Health business in the community.

Cleaning

Valley Health has established enhanced cleaning processes in both clinical settings and waiting areas in all of our facilities across the region. As a result, some scheduling changes may be made to allow for advanced cleaning to be completed between appointments.

Social Distancing

To address social distancing requirements, seating has been removed from some waiting areas. With few exceptions, family members cannot accompany patients inside a Valley Health facility and should remain outdoors or in their vehicles.

Employee Wellness Checks

To protect our patients, providers and staff, all Valley Health employees must complete wellness checks (assessing for fever and other symptoms) before or upon arrival to work each day.

Telehealth

Outpatient health services and clinics offering telehealth virtual visits will continue to do so as appropriate for routine or non-emergent appointments. Valley Health physician practices will continue to see patients via telemedicine and use special precautions for patients who require in-person care.

Remaining Responsive to Changing Conditions

Under the direction of Valley Health’s medical staff and clinical leadership, we are focused on enhanced access to diagnostic and procedural care for patients with medically necessary, time sensitive needs. These are patients for whom delaying care further may be potentially harmful. This is consistent with recommendations from numerous medical professional societies, and guidance from the governors of Virginia and West Virginia allowing for resumption of elective procedures in both states due to a decrease in the diagnosis of new COVID-19 cases.

Our ability to provide elective diagnostic and procedural care going forward will depend on many variables — including changing COVID-19 incidence in our region, supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), governmental and regulatory changes, and many others – and may vary over time. Valley Health will remain responsive to changing conditions and disease prevalence in our community. This means we may need to reschedule or modify access to previously resumed services based on changing circumstances.

Valley Health will continue to provide surgical and endoscopic procedures as well as outpatient diagnostic testing for patients whose condition is urgent or emergent as determined by their physician.

Caring for Our Community

Our number one priority in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is ensuring the safety of every patient we are privileged to serve, and preserving the health of our community. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work tirelessly to provide access to care for patients with medically necessary, time sensitive needs while limiting exposure risk and ensuring the safety of our community.