UC hospitals gradually resume essential services based on 10 principles

Today, the University of California’s hospitals announced a gradual resumption of essential services at all five medical centers across the state.

“After extensive consultation with clinical leaders, we determined that further delays of essential health care services may result in more harm to patients than a careful resumption process,” said Dr. Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president of UC Health and an infectious disease expert.

"Our academic medical centers provide complex and specialized procedures for a wide array of life-threatening conditions. Based on local conditions, our hospitals will begin phasing in essential services. Even as we take these measured steps, we remain poised to respond to a COVID-19 patient surge if it materializes,” Dr. Byington added.

Many procedures were postponed as part of preparedness for a possible surge of patients with COVID-19. Each UC Health location has developed resumption plans to meet the needs of its community while following systemwide principles and receiving guidance from local public health officials. The 10 UC Health principles are:

  • Remaining prepared for potential future surges and monitoring indicators and trends.
  • Continuing expansion of screening and testing protocols.
  • Allowing visitors, with precautions and consistent with applicable public health orders, to support our patients' clinical and psycho-social needs. 
  • Observing universal masking recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health.
  • Exercising caution for employees in high-risk groups.
  • Resuming deferred essential and preventive services based on local conditions.
  • Relying on qualified health care providers to determine which patients are at risk if procedures are further delayed. 
  • Continuing contact tracing of employees who test positive in consultation with local health departments and consistent with local policies.
  • Using telehealth, when feasible, to limit exposure.
  • Encouraging physical distancing whenever possible.

”The gradual resumption of these services should not be interpreted as an indication that the danger from the pandemic has passed,” said Dr. Byington. “The potential for a surge of critically ill patients with COVID-19 is still a reality throughout the state. UC Health’s medical centers remain vigilant for a shift in conditions and are ready to quickly respond as needed.”

Essential services are those services that cannot be delayed or postponed without reasonably foreseeable negative medical or health impact on a person.

The full statement of UC Health resumption of care principles can be found here. Each medical center can provide further information about the specific plans for its location.

UC Health comprises five academic health centers, a community-based health system in Riverside and 19 health professional schools. All of UC’s hospitals are ranked among the top ten in California and its medical schools and health professional schools are also ranked among the best in their respective areas.