PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced Monday all Rhode Island hospitals have submitted plans on how they will safely resume non-critical procedures and surgeries.
Since the early days of the pandemic, hospitals started postponing these procedures in an effort to preserve resources and staff to be ready for a potential surge.
In her Friday briefing, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced it was time for Rhode Island hospitals “to get back into the business” of performing some non-critical surgeries. The governor said this was due to Rhode Island not hitting a surge in hospitalizations, the anticipation the state’s new field hospitals will not be needed, and to bring back a key source of revenue to hospitals.
Last week, Care New England — the owner of Women & Infants, Kent and Butler — revealed an operating loss of $15.2 million for just the month of March, plus non-operating losses of $29.3 million largely tied to investments.
The state’s largest hospital group, Lifespan, also shared it had taken a big hit. Last week, the hospital group reported a $76 million loss for the month of March, including $33 million just from operations. Lifespan owns Rhode Island, Miriam, Bradley and Newport hospitals.
In addition to the cancellation of elective surgeries, hospital leaders at both Lifespan and Care New England say a drop in patients receiving other care, like emergency room or doctor’s office visits, also contributed to the financial losses.
The governor said Friday the allowance of some of the procedures starting to be rescheduled again is an example of what it will be like to reopen the economy in stages.
As part of their plans, hospitals will need to account for infection control, new workflows, isolation of patients, and hospital resources, like personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Raimondo.
She said she hoped the move would also ease patient frustration with having had to wait.
“If you’ve been waiting to have your surgery and you’ve been told it had to be rescheduled, that’s at best inconvenient, at worst causes health issues,” Raimondo said. “So I am in a rush to help you get rescheduled, safely.”
In her briefing Monday afternoon, the governor said hospitals plans are now under review by the state and more details should be released over the course of the week.