North Alabama hospitals resume elective surgeries after coronavirus forced shutdowns

Hospitals are seeing a bit of a return to normal after elective surgeries restarted in health care facilities across north Alabama on Monday.

Posted: May 4, 2020 9:38 PM
Updated: May 5, 2020 7:26 AM

Hospitals are seeing a bit of a return to normal after elective surgeries restarted in health care facilities across North Alabama on Monday.

These types of surgeries - which make a lot of money for hospitals - had to be put on hold during Alabama's Stay At Home order for coronavirus that expired last week.

Huntsville Hospital, Decatur-Morgan Hospital, Athens-Limestone Hospital, and Crestwood Medical Center are just some of the facilities that reintroduced elective surgeries on Monday. 

"These will be things like hip replacements and some spine surgery, and imagine if you are a patient whose unfortunate enough to have the kind of levels of pain to keep you from being able to do what you want to do," Dr. Pam Hudson at Crestwood Medical Center, said. 

With coronavirus forcing these procedures to be shutdown, it took a financial toll on health centers. 

"In our community, probably, hospitals experience about maybe 40 to 50, sometimes more of their revenue, comes from elective procedures," Hudson said.

Anita Walden, VP Chief Nursing Officer at Decatur-Morgan Hospital, says they've felt the impact as well.

"It has been pretty devastating, to health care in general, during this time, just to keep people safe it is costing a lot of money," Walden said.

Elective surgeries are a major part of funding for hospitals. Now that they are back, many of the workers, who were furloughed because the surgeries couldn't be performed, are back.

"We called a lot of our staff back in last week, to let them know they will work on Monday," Walden said. 

Walden says anybody who needs any type of care should not wait, the hospital can help treat any illness or injury. Hudson says North Alabama is lucky, elective surgeries still face restrictions in other parts of the country.

"Communities that were heavily impacted by COVID-19, their ramp up period might be longer and of course, slower," Hudson said. 

Hospital officials tell WAAY 31 there is no concern when it comes to having enough personal protective equipment to perform elective surgeries. There are plans in place if there is a surge in coronavirus cases and surgeries must be stopped.

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