Frequently asked questions on schedule surgeries

How did you decide to proceed with scheduling surgeries?

At Texas Orthopedic Hospital, our strategies have been focused on planning and prepping to safely return to routine patient care services, including procedures and surgeries.

Elective, or scheduled, procedures are not the equivalent of “optional” procedures that can be delayed indefinitely — they are procedures that can be scheduled. Deferring important medical procedures can result in patients unnecessarily suffering at home, and later seeking care only when their conditions have become more serious.

As we continue to monitor the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Orthopedic Hospital has begun thoughtfully reintroduce these elective procedures and surgeries.

How will my experience be different now compared to before COVID- 19?

Important precautious implemented in the earliest stages of COVID-19 remain in place across our facilities.

  • Limited entrances and clearer directions: We continue to limit the number of entrances into facilities, so you will see enhanced signage throughout, including entrances and exits.
  • Screen: Staff screeners are present at entrances to ask a series of questions to all individuals arriving at the facility, including questions regarding symptoms and travel history.
  • Social distancing and visitation: We currently permit one visitor (screened negative and masked) to accompany a patient during a procedure. Common areas such as cafeterias and lobbies have been reconfigured to ensure adequate spacing.

Is it safe to return to your facility (How can I be sure the room, the X-ray machine, the OR the recovery room are safe?

We take preventative measures to ensure that our patients coming in have been screened and masked. Elevated cleaning measures, constant housekeeping, access to alcohol-based hand gel, and regular sanitation are all part of our daily routines. We have also added protections, including universal masking, comprehensive screening, and escorting patients to procedures to reduce risk. This ensures our hospitals is a safe care environment, and all patients, visitors and staff are protected exposure to infectious diseases live COVID-19.

How can I be confident my doctors and nurses don’t have coronavirus?

The same protections we have in place for our patients are those we have in place for our caregivers.

Staff and physicians are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and tested when necessary, and our clinical care team colleagues are not permitted to work if experiencing any respiratory symptoms. Universal masking is in place, and we are appropriately stocked with personal protective equipement (PPE) for all our clinical teams.

Am I more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at a healthcare facility than other locations?

Few settings outside one’s own home have as many protections in place to prevent exposures to COVID-19 as medical facilities. Our protections ensure everyone inside the building has been screened.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 before my procedure? What about the members of my care team?

HCA Healthcare hospitals do not require a COVID-19 test to be scheduled for surgery. The decision to test a patient for COVID-19 prior to a surgical procedure is your doctor’s decision, based on multiple factors and standards. Those standards do include testing patients who are scheduled for certain procedures that carry a higher risk of transmission if COVID-19 were present (e.g., lungs or respiratory), as well as patients with symptoms that suggest they may be carrying COVID-19.

Do I need to come to the hospital before my surgery?

Patients will be contacted prior to their procedure and information will be collected at that time during pre-admissions. It’s important that the hospital has a way to reach you for these questions, whether by phone or email. Only patients who require evaluation or testing that has to be conducted at the hospital before surgery will be asked to appear in person for pre-op visit.

Will my family be able to be with me? If so, will they be safe?

We continue to maintain every precaution when keeping our patients, colleagues, and communities safe. Through guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we currently permit one visitor (screened negative and masked) to accompany patient during procedure.

We have taken addition strong measures to ensure the safety of all involved, including changes to our waiting areas and communal spaces. Station areas and tables are distanced six feet apart to allow for social distancing, and we have removed public coffee and water stations. Signs will be present to remind everyone to keep their mask on and respect social distancing requirements.

Will my recovery be different? Will I be more likely to catch COVID-19 after a medical procedure?

Your surgeon will discuss the risks of benefits of surgery, including if there is increased risk in contracting COVID-19. It is important that you maintain all precautions the general public are asked to follow.

What if I’m experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19?

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please let your physician know immediately.

If your hospital continues to see an increase in COVID-19 patients, will you change your policies?

We are consistently evaluating our hospital resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ICUE bed availability, and making adjustments to our approach if and when protocols need to evolve. We also are in continuous communication with local healthcare delivery system, including state and local health officials, and those surgeons who have direct responsibility for their patients. HCA Healthcare facilities will continue to follow Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommendations as they evolve. Our hospitals will accommodate procedures that physicians determine to be appropriate within those recommendations.

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a robust website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The CDC also houses responses to commonly asked questions on their websites. We make every effort to ensure our own website is current, but given the nature of policy updates, it’s always best to call your facility to verify the most up-to-date information.