Hospitals

St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center on March 20, 2021.

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BOISE — St. Luke’s Health System announced that it will temporarily pause certain elective inpatient and outpatient surgeries at its Treasure Valley (Boise, Meridian, Nampa) and Elmore (Mountain Home) locations starting Wednesday.

The move comes as hospitals across the state strive to continue providing care amidst a new wave of largely unvaccinated COVID-19 patients who need hospitalization.

“Our hospitalizations due to COVID have risen to higher levels than our peak last fall, including a record number of patients in our ICUs,” said Dr. Frank Johnson, St. Luke’s chief medical officer for its Boise, Elmore, and McCall locations, in a news release.

Generally, an elective surgery is a scheduled surgical procedure rather than one performed in an emergency, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, just because it can be scheduled does not always mean it is optional. Elective surgeries can improve the patient’s quality of life, even if their life is not threatened, such as having kidney stones removed, or it could be a scheduled procedure to treat something that threatens the patient’s life, such as cancer.

“Due to the rapidly escalating COVID surge throughout our community, we are doing all that we can to ensure we have capacity to support growing inpatient volumes of both COVID and non-COVID patients,” Johnson said.

The hospital will contact any patients who are impacted by the change, the release said.

The hospital’s Treasure Valley, Elmore, and Magic Valley locations had already paused elective surgeries requiring overnight visits in mid-August, the release said. St. Luke’s Magic Valley will extend its temporary pause on such surgeries, and beginning Thursday, the hospital will also reduce “certain elective outpatient surgeries and procedures … in order to help support in-patient care needs,” the release said.

St. Luke’s’ McCall and Wood River locations will go ahead with currently scheduled impacted elective surgeries, the release said.

St. Luke’s officials will “continue to monitor capacity for care and make adjustments as needed,” the release said.

SAINT ALPHONSUS PAUSES NON-EMERGENT SURGERIES

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Nampa announced Tuesday night that they will pause non-emergent surgeries and procedures requiring overnight hospital stays through Sept. 18 because of the recent COVID-19 surge.

In a news release, Saint Alphonsus officials said that urgent, emergent and medically necessary, time-sensitive procedures and medical care are still being done at both hospitals, and outpatient surgical procedures are proceeding but are contingent on capacity constraints.

Scheduled surgeries and procedures at Saint Alphonsus Medical Centers in Ontario and Baker City, Oregon, will continue, subject to existing capacity, the news release stated.

“The growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations added to a record summer volume of trauma and medical emergencies, like heart attack, strokes, and cancer are creating stress on our health system capacity. In order to safely provide the best care possible, we are reallocating resources to COVID-19 care,” said David McFadyen, President of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. “We anticipate this will be a temporary pause and we will continually monitor our capacity and staffing levels in order to restore full-service care as soon as possible.”

According to Saint Alphonsus, inpatient hospital census at both the Boise and Nampa hospitals exceeds 100% of total staffed beds. More than 20 percent of all patients in Boise and 35 percent in Nampa are COVID-positive cases, which the healthcare provider said are record volumes never seen during the entire 18-month pandemic.

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