Olympic Medical Center and Jefferson Healthcare hospital officials are preparing for an influx of patients following Gov. Jay Inslee’s clarification on restrictions for hospitals performing non-urgent, or elective, surgeries and procedures.
They also are hoping that Inslee’s new parameters for who decides when harm would occur if the procedure is delayed, making the patient’s physician a key player in the decision, will hasten surgeries and procedures for patients in pain as well as boost revenues.
At tax-district hospitals in Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Forks, income has plummeted by 40 percent to 52 percent since the restrictive surgery rules were imposed almost two months ago, OMC, Jefferson Healthcare and Forks Community Hospital administrators said in recent interviews.
“We have a huge backlog of surgery,” Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis told hospital commissioners at their meeting Wednesday, which also was National Nurses Day.
The pileup is about to shrink.
As of Monday, the use of 2½ OMC surgery rooms will be expanded. In normal times, the hospital has four operating rooms in use Monday through Friday.
“We will be able to do a lot more surgeries starting Monday,” Lewis promised.
Some non-urgent procedures that could not be conducted under Inslee’s original March proclamation include orthopedic, urological, obstetric-gynecological and general surgeries, he said.
Patients who need hip replacement surgery, for example, are in pain and can’t sleep, although whether they could get the procedure was left up in the air until