Hospitals Reopening for Non-COVID-19 Work

Orange County’s hospitals are returning to normal, in phases, as a feared surge of coronavirus patients has not occurred.

“UCI Health is fully operational and providing all levels of care in a safe environment for patients and staff,” Chad Lefteris, CEO, UCI Health, told the Business Journal.

OC hospitals are a huge industry unto themselves.

According to the Business Journal’s annual list, 31 facilities reported $9.1 billion in net patient revenue for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. That amounted to about $758 million a month.

Last year, they handled 1.37 million patient days and 3.7 million outpatient visits.

The hospitals, which have 6,507 licensed beds, in mid-March began postponing elective surgeries to prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases.

Yet, the number of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus has been mostly under 200; as of press time, it reached 227, including 79 in intensive care, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.


Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has seen a decline in coronavirus cases and on May 1 began to schedule essential surgeries and procedures.

“Patients are beginning to reschedule care that they need, or in some cases have postponed,” said Marcy Brown, chief operations officer at OC’s second-biggest hospital.

It has changed regular operations including staggering appointment times, checking temperatures often, requiring face masks and providing hand sanitizers. Telehealth services have also been enhanced so doctors can communicate with patients via phone or video without risking exposure.

All of its facility waiting areas have “socially distanced seating in lieu of traditional waiting room spaces,” Brown said.

These changes are most likely permanent.

“We do not think any department will go back to where they were pre-COVID,” Brown said. “This is a new normal.”

To view the original article, please visit the Orange County Business Journal.