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Carris Health restarting elective procedures

Carris Health is joining other area medical facilities in beginning elective surgeries on a limited basis. The number of procedures will gradually increase as conditions allow.

A March 2020 file photo of one a CarrisHealth-Rice Memorial Hospital sign that points toward the Emergency Room entrance. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR โ€” Carris Health has announced that it will increase elective surgeries this week at its facilities in Willmar and Redwood Falls.

Carris Health and its parent organization CentraCare had delayed the procedures while preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

The number of surgeries will not be at the levels before the coronavirus, according to a news release from Carris.

Patients who are candidates for the elective procedures will be notified by their clinics.

The staff will work within the stateโ€™s safety guidelines and increase the number of procedures gradually as staffing, equipment and inpatient beds are available.


Surgical teams will use a scoring system developed by the American College of Surgeons to set priorities for medically necessary procedures. The scoring takes into account safety and available resources .

โ€œThe safety and well-being of our patients is the main priority for Carris Health. If we feel it necessary to conserve resources, elective procedures could be rolled back at any time,โ€ Dr. Nathan Slinkard, medical director of surgical services and orthopedic surgeon, said in the news release.

Patients who will undergo a procedure involving general anesthesia will be given a COVID-19 nasal swab and must test negative before the procedure can be done.

During the pandemic, Carris has taken measures to keep patients and staff safe, including universal masking, patient and staff screenings, visitor restrictions and intensive cleaning measures.

Patients who have questions about upcoming procedures should contact their primary care providers or connect through MyChart.

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