DeSantis holds a press conference at Gulf Coast Medical Center; elective surgeries to continue

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press briefing Monday at Gulf Coast Medical Center on in south Fort Myers.

The big takeaway – elective surgeries are coming back to the hospitals. DeSantis has allowed elective surgeries to continue in counties in Phase I, but lee Health says they’re only getting half the number patients they used to in a day.

Colonoscopies, tonsillectomies, scoliosis surgery are just a few procedures that fall under the definition of elective.

DeSantis said, “A lot of times people hear ‘elective’ and they think, well that’s like cosmetic surgery. No. These are things that are necessary. It may be elective when you choose to schedule it, but you need to do it.”

Lee Health CEO Larry Antonucci said people are still not coming in at the rate that they were before, and some of those are considered urgent.

“We’ve seen a great reduction of people coming in with chest pains, stroke symptoms,” Antonucci explained. “We’re very concerned for these patients that are staying home.”

Lee Health says they are ready to take on the influx of non-COVID-19 patients.

And DeSantis says he has a special message just for new parents; “One of the things that we’ve noticed in the immunizations for children. The surgeon general for Florida is a pediatrician and it’s something that he will bring to my attention often … follow that immunization schedule, continue to do it, it’s safe to do it.”

Earlier in the day, Rep. Francis Rooney put out a breakdown of money headed to hospitals here in Southwest Florida from the new stimulus package – that includes Lee Health and NCH.

Lee Health has lost $85 million from the last six weeks because elective surgeries stopped and people were not going to the hospitals when needed.

Lee Health said that while they lost millions of dollars, employee payroll was not going down.

Rooney said hospitals in the area are getting a combined $43 million.

Lee Health will receive the largest amount at $31.8 million, which will be split among three of the four medical centers, followed by NCH Baker at $10.1 million.

Funding from the Department of Health and Human Services appropriated to Southwest Florida’s hospitals is as follows:

  • Cape Coral Hospital – $5,212,567
  • Gulf Coast Medical Center – $7,843,463
  • Lee Memorial Hospital – $18,823,565
  • NCH Baker Hospital – $10,175,350
  • The Willough at Naples – $362,039
  • Park Royal Hospital – $432,564
  • Select Specialty Hospital Ft. Myers – $397,607

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