South Nevada ASCs, hospitals brace for 'wave of non-coronavirus patients' — 5 things to know

ASCs and hospitals in Southern Nevada can expect to "see a wave of non-coronavirus patients" now that necessary elective surgeries are allowed to resume, according to Daniel Burkhead, MD, a pain management physician interviewed by the Las Vegas Sun.

What you should know:

1. Elective surgeries that can't be put off any longer without risking patient safety were OK'd May 4 by the Nevada Hospital Association, according to NBC affiliate KRNV. These cases, which may include hip replacements, were limited for about two months to conserve supplies for combating COVID-19.

2. As the owner of Innovative Pain Care Center in Las Vegas, Dr. Burkhead specializes in evaluating, diagnosing and treating pain stemming from conditions that may require elective surgery. He used the term "essential elective surgeries" to describe procedures that can't be delayed without negative health consequences down the line.

3. Despite loosened restrictions, some vulnerable patients may continue delaying appointments out of fear for their health and safety, according to Dr. Burkhead. To help ensure the safety of both high- and low-acuity patients, he said hospitals should implement procedures that effectively separate COVID-19 patients from patients without the coronavirus.

4. Innovative Pain Care Center has adopted changes to control patient flow through the center and enforce social distancing, including working at about half capacity. New bleach cleaning products are being used to decontaminate surfaces in the practice's ASC.

5. The four physicians at Innovative Pain Care Center have a combined backlog of more than 600 cases, Dr. Burkhead told the Las Vegas Sun. To work that backlog, the physicians are relying on telehealth and physician assistants to conduct office visits while procedures ramp up.

"It is a large backlog, and if we're working at 50 percent of the pace, then obviously that's going to create some additional delays," Dr. Burkhead said. "But in our opinion, we feel that the delays in procedures are necessary in providing the ultimate health and safety for our patients and staff."

More articles on surgery centers:
4 COVID-19 supply considerations for ASCs
5 hospitals, health systems opening or planning ASCs
ASCs reopening to patients: Check these 7 boxes

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