Ducey issues new guidance on elective surgeries
With hospitals reporting increased availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and bed capacity, Governor Ducey today issued an Executive Order removing restrictions on conducting elective surgeries for hospitals, health care facilities and providers that meet certain preparedness criteria.
“Governor Ducey made the right decision to protect public health and our healthcare workforce to pause elective procedures by using the best data available to him at the time,” said AzHHA President and CEO Ann-Marie Alameddin. “Now that we have a month’s worth of meaningful data that Governor Ducey’s stay at home measures are working and flattening the curve he is right to evaluate how we can get back to the business of healthcare and treat patients in our communities.”
Under the new order, hospitals, dental offices and other health facilities can resume conducting elective surgeries on May 1 if they can show they have implemented measures intended to keep health care workers and patients safe. These include:
• Demonstrating greater than a 14 day supply of PPE;
• Ensuring adequate staffing and beds;
• Testing patients prior to surgery and all at-risk health care workers;
• Ensuring appropriate discharge plans for patients being transferred to nursing care facilities, including diagnostic testing for COVID-19;
• Implementing a universal symptom screening process for staff, patients, and visitors;
• Establishing an enhanced cleaning process for waiting areas;
• And prioritizing the restart of elective surgeries based on urgency.
Facilities that meet the specified standards will need to receive approval from the Department of Health Services before resuming elective surgeries. The order shall be considered for repeal or revision every two weeks.
“Hospitals around the state have stepped up to provide additional protections for their staff and patients and increased bed capacity to prepare for a possible COVID-19 surge,” said Governor Ducey. “Because of these preparations, and the responsible actions of Arizonans across our state, data shows our health system continues to remain ahead of the curve. Today’s order continues to prioritize public health while improving access to care for Arizonans and the overall viability of our health care system.”
“The Arizona Department of Health Services has worked closely with our health care providers as they’ve expanded capacity and overall preparedness to prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Department of Health Services. “Today’s order ensures that adequate protections remain in place as health care facilities expand operations and that public health remains our top priority.”
On March 19, Governor Ducey announced new actions to help preserve hospital equipment and protective gear, including suspending elective surgeries. A week later, the Governor issued an Executive Order requiring hospitals to increase the amount of hospital bed capacity in the state, take steps to optimize staffing levels and maximize critical resources. Expanded reporting requirements have helped the Department of Health Services track capacity and availability of resources.
View the Executive Order HERE.