HCA hospitals in Pasco, Hernando to delay some surgeries, procedures to free up beds

Anesthesiologist Jonathan Hisghman is shown during a  surgical procedure at Medical Center of Trinity. HCA Healthcare has announced that the hospital is one of many that will be delaying certain inpatient surgeries and procedures, effective Saturday, July 11, to free up capacity for COVID-19 patients.

TAMPA — HCA Healthcare has announced that its hospitals in Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, Citrus, Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties will be delaying certain inpatient surgeries and procedures to free up capacity for COVID-19 patients.

The change, which is effective Saturday, July 11, does not affect hospital-based outpatient surgeries or procedures, nor those performed at HCA Healthcare Ambulatory Surgery Centers, a July 8 press release states.

“The number of COVID cases in our hospitals are increasing daily, and we need to ensure that our caregivers and hospitals are in a position to provide safe, effective, and compassionate care to our patients. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, making adjustments as necessary,” said Dr. Ravi Chari, president of HCA Healthcare West Florida Division, in a press release.

Blake Medical Center, Brandon Regional Hospital, Citrus Memorial Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Englewood Community Hospital, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Medical Center of Trinity, Memorial Hospital of Tampa, Oak Hill Hospital, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, and South Bay Hospital are working with surgeons to identify appropriate patients for postponement of procedures that typically require a post-surgical inpatient stay. Patients whose procedures will be delayed will be contacted by their surgeon.

“Delaying surgical cases that can appropriately be postponed allows us to safely and quickly expand capacity,” explained Chari. “I want to emphasize that our ERs remain safe and open for anyone experiencing a medical emergency and we will continue to work with other health care providers and local and state government agencies to meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

On July 6, HCA delayed the same inpatient surgeries and procedures for hospitals in Pinellas County, including Largo Medical Center, Northside Hospital, Palms of Pasadena Hospital, and St. Petersburg General Hospital.

Hospital capacity

As of July 8, 207 people in Pasco County have been hospitalized since March, or 6% of all cases. Pasco had 15% capacity in adult beds (206 of 1,366) on Wednesday, compared to 14% capacity (196 of 1,412) on Tuesday, nearly 26% capacity (370 of 1,440) on Monday and 27% capacity (377 of 1,399) on Sunday.

The county had 8.66% capacity in adult ICU beds (11 of 131) on Wednesday, compared to 4.66% (six of 129) on Tuesday, 15% capacity (21 of 138) on Monday and just over 9% capacity (12 of 130) on Sunday.

One hospital was reporting zero ICU beds on Wednesday. Three hospitals reported zero ICU beds on Tuesday. All hospitals had at least one available ICU bed on Monday. Two hospitals reported zero capacity on Sunday.