Though times and circumstances have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has not changed, and that is Mayo Clinic’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology’s dedication and ability to provide compassionate care. We have protocols in place to ensure that every precaution is taken to ensure that this care is provided in a safe environment for our staff and for our patients. Initial modeling projected that there would be a surge that would exceed our capacity, and we had limited knowledge of how COVID-19 transmits. This was the basis for limiting visitors in our hospitals and clinics, deferring elective procedures, and triaging patient appointments so that we could continue to care for emergent and urgent patient needs. Mayo Clinic also implemented universal masking, testing and screening protocols for staff and patients. Additionally, we as an institution as well as the community of Rochester are also abiding by all social distancing and executive orders and we are experiencing a flattening of the curve. Because of this, we are well equipped to care for patients with COVID-19 in the long term without exhausting our resources, and we are ready now to see our patients whose care was deferred as well as able to see new patients who need access to Mayo Clinic.
Because the projected peak of COVID-19 lessened and the plateau extended, and working within strict adherence to federal and state executive orders, we are able to open our doors and care for our patients. With extended COVID-19 testing capabilities, protocols in place to support appropriate conservation and management of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, and the implementation of numerous safety measures we are confident in our abilities to safely care for our patients.
Mayo Clinic established a Safety Management and Resource Team (SMaRT) to focus on safely ramping up our practice. In following the protocols put in place by this team, our current environment allows us to safely care for patients face-to-face in our subspecialty clinics, surgical teams increased emergent and urgent volumes, and our procedural and diagnostic practices are seeing higher volumes of patients. For patients who are not able to travel we continue to offer telemedicine options and successfully see patients via video and telephone connections. However, we do expect to operate in a COVID-19 environment for the next year or longer, and we know that our patients need personal care. There are limitations to what we can do through telemedicine. Opening access to care for more patients is in the best interest for our patients, our staff, and for the future of Mayo Clinic.
We acknowledge that bringing patients back to our campuses may cause some uneasiness, but we want to assure our patients and staff that Mayo Clinic is following mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the advice of the experts on our staff to ensure the safety of our patients, staff, and community. During this time of distress and uncertainty, Mayo Clinic aims to be a place for hope and healing.
Connect with other patients talking about digestive health issues, COVID-19, telemedicine and visiting Mayo Clinic in these online support groups:
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