Premier Health will postpone nonemergency procedures amid record COVID hospitalizations

Kettering Health also postponed procedures and surgeries requiring overnight stays.

Premier Health will soon postpone any nonemergency surgeries and procedures that require an overnight stay due to the strain of record high COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Dayton region.

The hospital network announced Friday that this policy will go into effect Monday, Jan. 10, and last through Jan. 31. This move comes after Kettering Health, the Dayton region’s other major hospital network, suspended nonemergency procedures on Wednesday.

Premier Health spokesman Ben Sutherly said all essential procedures as well as those that do not require an overnight stay will continue.

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“Effective Monday, Jan. 10, Premier Health will postpone any nonessential procedure/surgery that requires an overnight stay until after Jan. 31, 2022, to help preserve critical hospital capacity for our patients and the community,” Sutherly said. “If you have not already done so, please get vaccinated against COVID-19 and take other precautions (such as masking and social distancing) whenever possible to help us in caring for the community.”

Statewide, 6,570 coronavirus hospitalizations were reported Friday, setting a record for the ninth-consecutive day. They account for one-third of all Ohio hospitalizations with 1,327 in intensive-care units.

After setting a pandemic-record earlier in the week, hospitals in the west central Ohio region (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties) reported 527 coronavirus patients hospitalized on Friday. That’s more than were hospitalized at any time during last winter’s peak.

The southwest region of the state (Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland and Warren counties), set a record Friday with 881 coronavirus patients hospitalized.

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On Wednesday, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association President Sarah Hackenbracht told the Dayton Daily News that hospitals are struggling with a flood of coronavirus patients, as well as staff who catch the virus needing to stay home.

“If it sounds like we’re ringing the alarm bells, we are,” Hackenbracht said. “We are at a very, very dangerous place as it relates to COVID-19 and its impact on normal medical care as we know it. When people hear the terminology elective procedures, everyone immediately assumes that these are things that are not medically necessary, when in fact, they are very much medically necessary procedures.”

That could include someone who is waiting on a hip or a knee replacement and is living with significant pain, she said, but that is not something that has to be taken care of in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Beavercreek-resident Rich Cohen, 71, was supposed to have knee surgery Jan. 25 at Miami Valley South to deal with his chronic knee pain but it was rescheduled for March due to Premier’s new policy.

“My knee hurts and it’s limited me but it’s not going to kill me … I can understand why they need to use their resources to take care of people who need it the most,” he said.


If your procedure at Kettering Health or Premier was delayed because of this new COVID policy, fill out the survey below, or email jordan.laird@coxinc.com.

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