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Some Montana Hospitals Resume Elective Procedures

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Some hospitals and medical facilities in Montana are beginning to again provide elective surgeries and procedures.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) started its phased-approach to providing in-person services Monday. KRH is starting with in-person medical services not requiring anesthesia at various locations.

In a press release, KRH says that while certain diagnostic imaging and testing services will be available, patients and staff will receive health and travel screenings at the door. All staff, patients and visitors will also be required to wear masks, and waiting rooms will be modified to accommodate social distancing.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Credit Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

KRH says it will slowly ramp-up services at different facilities as it rolls out additional phases of its plan and it’s ready to scale back services if necessary. This follows KRH’s announcement earlier this month that it planned to furlough roughly 600 employees. KRH predicted that without the furloughs, it would lose about $16 million per month from canceled elective services.

The Montana Hospital Association now recommends restarting elective procedures, after calling for them to be canceled in late March as concerns grew over a potential spike of COVID-19 cases.

Earlier this week Bozeman Health and Billings Clinic also announced phased reopening plans.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.