CHI Memorial safely resumed scheduled procedures and clinic operations on May 4, 2020. The health and safety of our patients and caregivers remains our top priority, and we have worked to ensure all safeguards are in place as we follow guidelines set by the Governor and the Department of Health to begin increasing access to elective procedures, imaging services, and clinic and physician office visits so we may provide patients with appropriate care. We know these services are critically important to our patients to help alleviate pain, treat chronic conditions, or prevent a condition from worsening.
Elective surgeries. Patients are screened and vetted for any potential signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have exposure to others with COVID-19. The scheduling surgeon evaluates each case based on surgical and medical risk, and then in consultation with our surgical review committee comprised of surgeons, anesthesia, pathology and infectious disease specialists, guide sthe decision to proceed with surgery. Some surgeries and procedures that deal with the chest and/or upper airway will require a pre-surgical COVID-19 test for an added measure of caution. Patients will be notified if their procedure falls into the pre-test category. The safety of our patients and healthcare workers always comes first.
CHI Memorial Medical Group reopened physician offices using a phased plan that increases patient appointments over a period of several weeks. This allows us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient. Our physician practices will continue using telemedicine and virtual visits which began in March.
The Chattanooga Heart Institute offices at CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga, Hospital Hixson, Atrium and offices in Cleveland, Ringgold, Jasper are open. Patient appointments will increase over a period of several weeks. This allows us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient. Our physician practices will continue using telemedicine and virtual visits which began in March.
Outpatient services reopened. Appointments for services will increase over a period of several weeks. This will allow us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient. Outpatient services which have resumed operations include: MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, Cardiac Imaging, Imaging Services and Cardiac Rehab.
Hospitals are safe. CHI Memorial has taken every precaution to protect healthcare workers and patients. Any patient with COVID-19 or who is being actively tested to rule out COVID-19 is placed in units separate from other patients. These measures have helped to keep everyone safe; this process of isolating patients in the testing pathway, masking and monitoring, will continue indefinitely. CHI Memorial will continue to obey strict social distancing and will continue to restrict visitors to ensure proper social distancing. The hospitals are very safe and we intend to ensure they remain so.
Serving our communities is our calling, and safely resuming these procedures is one of the best ways we can help our communities heal. We look forward to doing what our mission calls us to do each day and provide the care that our patients and our communities depend on.
For more information about scheduling a procedure or rescheduling a previously scheduled procedure, please contact your physician.
Our care environment will be different than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are just as dedicated to providing high-quality care that is responsive to the needs of our community and reflective of the dedication of our caregivers. Thank you for your support in creating a safe care environment.