CMS Sets Phased-In Path to Resume Elective Procedures

CMS also separately on Sunday announced plans to require nursing homes to inform their residents and the representatives of residents about confirmed cases of COVID-19.  

“At a minimum, once these requirements are in place, nursing homes must inform residents and their representatives within 12 hours of the occurrence of a single confirmed infection of COVID-19, or three or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms that occur within 72 hours,” CMS said.

AHA Roadmap

In its joint roadmap, the AHA and its partners addressed similar considerations, such as a sustained reduction in the rate of new COVID-19 cases in a region for at least 14 days before the resumption of elective procedures.

In addition, hospitals should have enough beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and trained staff to allow these surgeries to take place with “without resorting to a crisis standard of care,” the medical groups said.

“Many patients have had their needed, but not essential, surgeries postponed due to the pandemic,” the AHA and partner groups said. “When the first wave of this pandemic is behind us, the pent-up patient demand for surgical and procedural care may be immense, and healthcare organizations, physicians and nurses must be prepared to meet this demand.”

Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas

Governors in Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas last week announced plans to allow certain elective procedures to resume in hospitals in their states.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), said he will allow medical services “that cannot be delayed beyond 8 weeks without posing a significant risk to quality of life” to resume May 4 if certain conditions can be met. These include requiring that clinicians can wear surgical masks, eye protection, and gloves for these procedures.

In cases where procedures carry increased risk of COVID-19, such as dental work, a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Sars-CoV-2 infection should be obtained within 48 hours prior to the procedure, according to an April 15 mandate signed by Dunleavy.

“The suspension of nonessential procedures and healthcare have been beneficial in slowing the spread of the disease,” Dunleavy and other Alaska officials said in the mandate. “The benefits of suspension must also be balanced with delayed healthcare and other health outcomes.”

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