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The COVID-19 outbreak is changing every aspect of life at the local level, including changes for medical providers and personnel and services.


According to Western Plains Medical Complex marketing and public relations director Danielle Stroud, in accordance with recent guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the hospital has made the decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent cases for 30 days when deemed clinically appropriate.


"Patients whose appointments are being rescheduled will be notified, and procedures will be rescheduled as soon as feasible," said Stroud. "We are continuing to schedule new cases beyond April 19."


WPMC said it was a difficult but necessary decision to make and will protect the health and safety of its patients, employees, physicians and the community at large.


"An important element to our preparedness is conserving essential resources needed to care for patients with COVID-19, where possible, as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation and prepare for what the next few weeks may hold," said Stroud. "Western Plains Medical Complex continues to adapt to meet the clinical needs of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and through this, we remain committed to providing high quality care."


WPMC said that by rescheduling elective and non-urgent cases it would be able to conserve essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for its frontline staff members; conserve hospital and ICU beds, supplies and other resources; and ensure it will have all necessary personnel available to support its sickest patients.


"We have made the decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent procedures because it will help ensure we have the people and resources necessary to meet the needs of our patients in the coming weeks," said Stroud. "We know that it is the right thing to do.


"The trust our community places in us is so important. We want to assure our community that it is safe to come to our hospital should you or a family member need care.


"Our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to safely respond to viruses and infectious diseases, including COVID-19."


For more information about WPMC preparedness, visit www.westernplainsmc.com.


For more information about COVID-19, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at www.kdheks.gov or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.