March 18, 2020 — Effective immediately, Duke Health, UNC Health and WakeMed are prioritizing and rescheduling some non-emergent or non-critical surgeries, procedures and appointments. Emergency and other essential services will not be affected. This approach is allowing our teams to provide the most appropriate and timely care for our patients, while at the same time enabling our response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak in our community. This shift is part of the health systems’ preparation to conserve precious clinical resources and to protect patients and medical professionals.
The greatest concern among all three organizations is to ensure that we continue to provide needed care to our patients while also meeting the uncertain demands on our systems associated with COVID-19. Prudent use of resources today will allow us to prepare for the anticipated need.
Following National, State Guidelines
Each health system has established processes for assessing scheduled surgeries and procedures, based on the current situation and with input from our physicians, clinical teams and hospital leadership. All three organizations are following CDC guidance, and adapting daily to recommendations made by the CDC and the World Health Organization. They also are working closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are working closely together to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to serve the people of our state,” said the heads of the three systems in a joint statement (A. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health, A. Eugene Washington, President and CEO of Duke University Health System and Donald R. Gintzig, President & CEO of WakeMed). “The current situation impacts us all greatly, and we are working together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our thousands of healthcare professionals, our patients and their families. We believe this move will further our commitment to all of these groups.”
Affected patients will be contacted by their individual healthcare providers regarding any changes to planned surgeries, procedures or ambulatory appointments. If patients do not hear from their providers prior to scheduled appointments, they should contact those providers.
UNC Health, Duke Health and WakeMed have each established special sections on their respective websites to share updates on conditions and operations related to COVID-19 at these three locations:
Duke University Health System