Hill Country Memorial open for elective surgeries, screenings

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Patients urged not to wait on important care

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  • Sharon Hess recovers from joint replacement in HCM’s Restore program. The hospital is currently performing elective surgeries and offering health screenings while following CDC guidelines.
    Sharon Hess recovers from joint replacement in HCM’s Restore program. The hospital is currently performing elective surgeries and offering health screenings while following CDC guidelines.
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Hill Country Memorial is “back in business” for many types of health screenings and elective surgery, according to James Partin, MD, chief medical officer at Hill Country Memorial.

“We are trying to take care of everything we can,” Partin said. “We are watching closely what happens in the county regarding COVID-19. Overall, the number of cases remain very low. Of course, the thing to watch is where we are in the weeks after schools starting and the holiday weekend.”

The hospital has been admitting patients for elective surgeries over the past several months.

“At this point, we are still at full strength for all types of elective cases, including joint replacement,” Partin said. “To continue to do electives here, we have to be able to take care of COVID patients that might arise in the community. So far, we have been able to keep that number under control.”

Partin notes the hospital is following CDC guidelines. Everyone who enters the hospital is screened and has their temperature checked. All patients at potential high risk are getting COVID tests prior to surgery, as are patients undergoing any potential procedure that might cause a virus to spread through the air.

Hospital personnel are also being tested and protected against potential spread of the virus.

Partin pointed out that more procedures are being performed as day surgeries. Many do not require overnight stays, so that keeps beds available to care of any COVID-19 surge should it occur.

Partin emphasized that individuals should not put off annual screenings, exams, wellness checks or other tests.

“Physicians around the community have been extremely proactive in making sure people coming into their facilities have been screened,” he said. “If there are concerns or risks, patients are actually being examined in their cars. We consider your doctor’s office to be a very safe environment.”

There might be more danger in delaying testing, he said. There is nationwide concern among health professionals that putting off screenings can let something slip by that can be treated early and cured.

“You should not put off screenings such as mammography or endoscopies,” he said. “You can put yourself in danger missing those.”