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'It's going to be a challenge': Health officials working to get caught up on delayed surgeries

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 19:29:15-05

MAGIC VALLEY — As the Gem State gets closer to moving out of crisis standards of care, health officials say they are preparing to catch up on delayed surgeries and procedures.

St. Luke's health officials say at least 5,000 surgeries have been delayed due to a surge in COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization, and it could take up to six months to get caught up.

“Make sure we identify those patients whose needs are the greatest, and we need to get them done as soon as possible. Move them to the front of the queue and try to get through that backlog. It’s going to be a challenge to get that done, but we’ve got a lot of people working on it, and I anticipate that we'll be making some good progress over the next couple of weeks and into the next couple of months," said Dr. Frank Johnson, chief operating officer for St. Luke's.

Surgeries and procedures that were emergent did continue throughout the pandemic. Some surgeries that initially could have been postponed for 2-4 weeks before the pandemic were postponed for eight weeks. But health officials say those surgeries have been completed.

Surgeries that were postponed included orthopedic surgeries, knee replacements, and abdominal surgeries. Health officials say they are working to get those surgeries done as soon as possible.