Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic

18 Aug, 2020


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General and many medical specialties such as the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommended interim cancelation of elective surgical procedures. Physicians and health care organizations responded appropriately and canceled non-essential cases across the country. Many patients have had their needed surgeries postponed due to the pandemic. After the first surge waned, many localities resumed essential surgeries in response to patient needs. However, the recent resurgence of the virus in many regions has many states near or at bed and ICU capacity, and healthcare facilities’ ability to meet the needs of patients presenting for essential surgery may be stressed by new influxes of COVID-19 patients. Health care organizations, physicians and nurses must remain prepared to meet the demands for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and for patients in need of essential surgery services.

The need for ongoing governmental action to alleviate the financial burden on physician practices, health care providers and facilities is critical so the health care community can continue to meet the ongoing demand for care of COVID-19 patients both in the operating rooms and throughout facilities. Facility readiness to continue essential surgery will vary by geographic location. The following is a list of principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses and local facilities in their care in operating rooms and all procedural areas during the ongoing pandemic.

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