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AdventHealth CEO Darryl Tol Says Hospital System Ready in the Event of a Second Wave of Coronavirus Cases

Photo: Natanael Melchor
Photo: Natanael Melchor

Yesterday was the first day AdventHealth reinstated elective surgeries and some visitors as part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ phase one recovery plan.

CEO Darryl Tol says safety precautions put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus include temperature checks, masks and testing patients before they go in for surgery. 

WMFE spoke to Tol about how the pandemic is changing the way hospitals do business.

Here are excerpts from our conversation. 

On whether some safety precautions might be permanent. 

"We've always wanted to eliminate the waiting room, right. It's just. The idea you'd have a room where people wait in healthcare I think has been the Holy Grail. How do we get rid of it? Technology's allowing us now to get closer and closer. And this may be an acceleration point."

On the cost of canceling elective surgeries during the pandemic.

"For us we've preserved our teams and so the cost hasn't dropped, but the revenue side from all those procedures has. And so it is leading to unprecedented financial conditions really across healthcare and that'll be true for us too."

On the long-term consequences of delaying these procedures.

"Any long-term delay for most procedures is really problematic. There's a cancer concern, there's a biopsy that needs to be done, there's pain that's significant and growing, a lack of mobility, on and on. People who get procedures done usually have very good reason."

On why some visitors are allowed-but still not in COVID wards.

"Now we can put a mask on an individual, we can screen them for symptoms, we can make sure they're in an environment where they're not around COVID-patients and our staff has been checked and tested. So if we can keep them safe, and our team safe, and the patient safe, then there's actually health benefits to having someone that you love, family or friends with you."

On how they're preparing in the event of a second surge of cases.

"We have a surge plan, we can double our ICU capacity, we have much more in the way of personal protective equipment then we had before. We do think there will be gentle waves. If we do this right we won't have an extreme surge happen. But instead we'll manage ebbs and flows of this until we have a vaccine."
To listen to the full conversation, click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.