We are pleased to report, in response to advocacy by IHA, the Department of Health has issued updated guidance on the resumption of non-urgent surgeries/procedures:

Hospitals in all counties may resume non-urgent surgeries/procedures in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Waivers no longer required. Changes to the April 29 hospital guidance include:

  • 30% bed capacity threshold no longer required;
  • Hospital elective surgery prioritization policy committee must address both inpatient and outpatient procedures and should be responsible for monitoring the Regional Reopening metrics;
  • Patient testing revised from 3 to 5 days prior. Test results must be received and reviewed before conducting the surgery or procedure. Exception for emergent surgery/procedure with conditions for testing afterwards;
  • Before being admitted for inpatient elective surgery, patients must be counseled on social distancing, wearing facemasks and minimizing contact;
  • Hospitals no longer need to submit data on types and numbers of surgeries/procedures to DOH but should have mechanism to do so if requested;
  • Defines having adequate PPE and medical supplies as “at least a seven-day supply of PPE on hand and the hospital’s supply chain can maintain that level to support both inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures without resorting to contingency or crisis capacity strategies. To prepare for a potential future surge, hospitals should be working towards having immediate access to a 90-day supply of PPE.”
    • Provides additional guidance and references for PPE when performing high risk (e.g., aerosolizing) procedures and standards of care.

The new guidance also applies to all Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Office Based Surgery Practices and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers in all counties. Changes to the May 19 guidance for ASC, OBS and DTC include:

  • Same testing and PPE requirements as for hospitals above;
  • Clarifies need to monitor capacity at hospitals they would normally transfer/recommend patients to if necessary.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.