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CVPH Pauses Elective Surgeries Requiring Admissions

In response to an increase in patient volume, critical workforce shortages and significant number of  COVID positive admissions, The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) has placed a 3-week pause on elective surgical procedures that require an inpatient admission.

Surgical offices are reaching out to patients to reschedule and answer questions. A team is also in place to review surgical and procedural cases to ensure that patients who need care during this time receive it.

Chief Medical Officer and Regional Physician Leader Lisa Mark, MD explained the decision was made to preserve beds and reduce the number of patients staying in the Emergency Department until a bed on nursing unit is available.

“It will also help alleviate some of the stress on our people and give us some time to stabilize the staffing,” she said.  Mark noted that like health care facilities everywhere, staffing continues to be a major concern. “We have had several staff members leave the organization in the past few months. Some have left to become traveling nurses or have decided to leave health care all together. Some have made other work-life balance decisions, taking jobs elsewhere,” she said and pointed out that CVPH has hired traveling staff to fill the nursing vacancies.  “They are providing some much needed relief,” she said.

 “The health care system is virtually at a standstill. Patients in our facility who could go to a long care facility are not being transferred, because like us, area nursing homes and assisted living facilities are struggling with staffing. In the meantime, we have sometimes 20 patients who need beds holding in our ED,” Mark explained. The result has been long waits in the Emergency Department for patients and enormous strain on the health care team.  

And in early October, CVPH began limiting transfers from regional hospitals. “We were not able to accept patients who would have benefited from a higher level of care but now we’ll have the available beds,” she said. By rescheduling the elective surgeries, the physician leader explained the hospital will be in a better position to meet the needs of the community it serves while continuing to evaluate the situation and adapt as needed.

“Our staff is doing a great job in an extraordinarily difficult situation.”