a building with a sign for bede's health care

Beebe Healthcare has implemented a postponement of all non-emergent procedures effective Thursday, Jan. 13.

The healthcare organization is taking these difficult measures so that staff and beds can be reassigned for inpatient care. This is directly related to the continued surge in COVID-19 positive patients that require hospitalization and care.

Previously, Beebe only postponed elective procedures that required an overnight stay.

Beebe is facing significant pressures on staff, care teams, and providers with this latest surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Right now, it’s more difficult than ever to deliver healthcare,” said David A. Tam, MD, MBA, CPHE, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “Our emergency departments and hospital are past capacity. We are making operational adjustments to keep up with the growing demand for healthcare in Sussex County, but this is not sustainable.”

Certain procedures and surgeries will continue, including those that screen for progressive diseases such as cancer that could have longer term consequences if not identified for patients. Examples include colonoscopies, biopsies, and endoscopies, as well as access to dialysis.

Patients will be contacted by their surgeon’s office, and Beebe’s multidisciplinary team will continue to evaluate cases daily for the health of all patients.

Beebe is not yet at the stage where we are forced to adopt Crisis Standards of Care. However, the situation is critical and can change at any moment. Omicron, for those who are vaccinated and received a booster, tend to present milder symptoms. But this is not what Beebe is seeing in the hospital for those who are unvaccinated.

“People are very sick. This is a heartfelt ask to our community to assist us during this unmatched surge,” Dr. Tam said. “The fluid nature of this pandemic, the plateauing of vaccinated people in our community, and the national staffing shortage, all combine to make it extremely difficult to predict when we could move into another standard of care.

“We are concerned for our community, our patients, and our staff. The situation is serious. It is critical that you wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, keep your distance and get vaccinated and boosted. We implore you, again, to understand and take action. Please. The time is now.”