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Health, Science and Environment

McLaren resumes backlog of “time-sensitive” procedures paused because of pandemic

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McLaren hospital officials say they have begun to address the backlog of time sensitive procedures paused during the pandemic.

The Governor’s order postponing non-essential procedures remains in effect but it gives hospitals flexibility on determining what is best for patient health.

Mike McKenna is McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer. He said there is a backlog of time sensitive cases that the hospital system shouldn’t wait any longer on.

“Even if it’s something that looks relatively postponable like a colonoscopy. You can probably postpone it for 2-3 months and it’s not going to make a difference. There’s going to come a point where you are adversely affecting your health from not getting it.”

McKenna said the hospital system is reaching out to patients who have “time-sensitive” cases and scheduling procedures.

“If you have procedures that fall into our time sensitive category we want to make sure those people have the opportunity to get taken care of. We don’t have to get them pushed off longer and have a bad outcome coming from it.”

Over the weekend, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun released additional guidance on how hospitals should proceed. The guidance included advising hospitals to prioritize vulnerable patients with chronic diseases who have had difficulty managing their disease in the past.

The guidance also noted that procedures that were not time-sensitive several weeks ago “may now be.”

A separate McLaren spokesperson said hospitals have resumed procedures at a low volume.

McKenna said hospitals are working at reduced capacity because they don’t want to fill up ICU beds.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we have a hospital full of patients and all of a sudden we have a serious outbreak. So we have to be careful we don’t overload especially until we have a better feel for what is going on in the COVID world.”

McKenna said McLaren will do everything it can to keep patients safe including limiting hospital visits, requiring both staff and patients wear face masks, and isolating COVID-19 patients.

"We're doing all the different things we can try to do to make it as safe as possible."

McLaren officials estimate there is a backlog of tens of thousands of cases that need to be addressed.