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CMS issues guidelines for resuming non-COVID-19 elective care

par John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | April 22, 2020
Operating Room

Among them is Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Friday to loosen restrictions put in place back in March on surgeries.

"We have shown that Texas can continue our efforts to contain COVID-19 while also adopting safe standards that will allow us to begin the process of reopening Texas,” said Abbott in a press conference.

Others include Alaska, which has mandated non-urgent procedures that cannot be delayed beyond eight weeks to
resume on May 4; and Oklahoma, which is allowing providers to determine when elective surgeries can resume, starting April 24.

The American Hospital Association also released its own set of principles for resuming elective procedures, in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Among their guidelines are for health systems to cautiously determine the right time to restart operations, and ensure there is access to adequate equipment, testing, COVID-19 data assessment, COVID-19 safety and risk mitigation, and prioritization and scheduling.

“When the first wave of this pandemic is behind us, the pent-up patient demand for surgical and procedural care may be immense, and health care organizations, physicians and nurses must be prepared to meet this demand,” they said in a joint statement.

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