Amid the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, CMS announced that all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures should be delayed. It is critical that healthcare providers consider delaying non-essential procedures so they can preserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), beds, and ventilators as COVID-19 cases continue to increase rapidly. This will not only preserve equipment, but also alleviate the work-load of healthcare professionals so they can tend to patients most in need.
As the nation works tirelessly to contain the spread of COVID-19, healthcare providers should encourage patients to stay home unless there is a medical emergency to reduce the risk of exposure to themselves and others. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, CMS expressly directs providers to urge patients to follow President Trump’s recent guidelines: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf
CMS released recommendations that provide a framework for health systems to implement immediately during the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding whether non-essential surgeries and procedures will proceed are made by state and local health departments, the clinician, patient, and hospital. To help providers focus on resource preservation and attending to more urgent cases, the recommendations outline several factors to be considered in determining whether planned procedures should be postponed, including: current and projected COVID-19 cases in the facility and region, supply of PPE, staffing availability, ventilator availability, patient risk factors, and the urgency of the procedure. Even if the area is not currently dealing with COVID-19 cases, local healthcare delivery systems must evaluate the clinical situation and resource conservation when analyzing the risks and benefits of any planned procedure.
To stay updated on materials available on COVID-19 released by CMS and HHS, please see: https://www.cms.gov/outreach-education/partner-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-partner-toolkit
For more information regarding CMS recommendations, please contact Carey F. Kalmowitz, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.