Hospital expands elective procedures

CARES Act funding, donations help keep hospital afloat.

Two new cases at the hospital Monday. — Lexi Pline

Updated 5:05 pm

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital entered its own phase two this week by continuing to open up some of its elective procedures and care for patients.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, hospital CEO Denise Schepici and chief nurse and chief operating officer Claire Seguin said this week the hospital has brought back colonoscopies, essential nurse outpatient visits, podiatry, and some rehab visits.

On June 15, cardiology, expanded pediatric preventive care, dental visits, in-person orthopedic visits, and an overall increase in family-care visits will return.

While many services are opening back up, the hospital is still encouraging patients to use telehealth services when they can. Seguin said hospital patients should still call to schedule appointments and procedures. “We are soon to have better patient experience information … from telehealth visits, but I can tell you anecdotally, it’s been very popular with patients,” Seguin said.

Opening up elective procedures will also bring back much-needed revenue for the hospital. Schepici said the hospital operates on a $100 million annual budget, 70 percent of which goes to employee salaries, wages, and benefits. Since closing out its elective procedures, the hospital has been losing about $750,000 a week, totaling almost $8 million as of this week, but has been able to offset some losses with CARES Act funding.

The hospital has also received $500,000 in mostly unsolicited donations over the past three months.

Speaking on the morale of staff, Schepici said she was proud of the many doctors, nurses, maintenance staff, and others who have kept the hospital running. “I think the team is just stronger and closer than ever. I felt the togetherness last Friday when we had our kneel-in. You know, that sense of solidarity and strength shone in,” Schepici said. “This place has been closer and tighter than it’s ever been.”

Meanwhile, the hospital has not reported a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in 10 days. The hospital has tested 1,125 patients, with 28 positives, 1,072 negatives, and 25 pending results. 

The boards of health, which aggregates confirmed cases tested off-Island, adds two additional cases, bringing the Island total to 30.

Island Health Care (IHC), which is conducting testing at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has tested 589 patients, with zero positives as of Wednesday.

The community health center, in cooperation with Quest Diagnostics, town health agents, and others, is set to give a test to whoever wants one on the Island. Of the IHC tests, 497 are negative, and 92 are pending results.

The number of confirmed positives on the Island has stayed at 30 since the hospital reported a new confirmed case on May 31. Of those, 18 are male and 12 are female. Eight of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, seven cases are 60-69 years old, six are 20-29 years old, three are 30-39 years old, two are 20 years old or younger, two are 40-49, and two are 70 years or older. The boards of health have also started reporting on probable cases. As of Thursday, the Island’s total number of presumed positive cases rose to 15, of which 12 are positive antibody tests and three are symptomatically positive.

Of those, nine are female and six are male. Of the 15 presumed positive cases, four are aged 60-69, three are aged 50-59, three are aged 40-49, two are aged 20-29, two are less than 20 years old, and one is over the age of 70.

In an expanded report Friday, the boards of health reported that 19 of the 30 confirmed cases are linked to another case. Of the 30 cases, 28 are no longer symptomatic, and have been released from isolation.

This all comes as the daily number of confirmed cases and deaths of COVID-19 declines across the state. The state reported 193 new cases and 38 new deaths Tuesday. The state has tested 653,398 patients, with 103,626 positives, which includes probable positives.

The state also reports on probable cases. The total number of probable cases is 3,871, and probable deaths are 136.


Updated with current IHC testing numbers. — Ed.