GUIDANCE TO FLORIDA RESIDENTS ABOUT SURGICAL PROCEDURES DURING THE CORVID-19 PANDEMIC
Many Florida residents are unclear as to whether or not their surgical procedure will have to be postponed during the CORVID-19 pandemic.
Florida, a state with a large population or residents over the age of 65 and therefore vulnerable to complications from CORVID-19, is prudently preparing for a predicted overwhelming intake of hospitalizations of patients suffering from CORVID-19 while further anticipating a shortage of both medical supplies for patients and personal protective equipment needed to protect medical care providers from contracting this contagious virus.
President Donald J. Trump and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have also recognized the shortage of medical supples and have recommended that health care providers limit “non-essential” elective surgical procedures and dental procedures during the CORVID-19 pandemic.
The Surgeon General for the State of Florida and the Agency of Health Care Administration recommended that medical supplies and personal protective equipment only be used to respond to the CORVID-19 emergency and other urgent medical events thereby impliedly precluding non urgent medical procedures unelated to CORIVID-19 as they can not be performed without medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
In response to these recommendations, on March 20, 2020, Florida’s Governor, Ronald DeSantis, responded to the recommendations to conserve medical supplies and personal protective equipment while balancing the medical needs of Florida residents by executing Executive Order Number 20-72 (EO 20-72).
EO 20-72 provides that all hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental, orthodontic, endodontic offices, and other health care practitioner’s offices in the State of Florida cease providing any medically unnecessary, non urgent or non emergency surgeries which would not place the patient at risk if delayed or would not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life threatening medical condition.
EO 20-72 provides guidance as to what constitutes a non essential medical procedures that should be delayed by providing examples such as endoscopy, cataract and lens surgeries, non-urgent spine and orthopedic procedures and cosmetic procedures. These types of elective surgical procedures will be postponed until after the CORVID-19 pandemic passes thereby allowing medical supplies and personal protective equipment to be utilized for more urgent patients.
Examples of permissible essential medical procedures expressly enumerated in EO 20-72 include the removal of cancerous tumors, transplants, limb-threatening vascular surgeries, trauma-related procedures, and dental procedures to relieve pain and management infection. These essential surgical procedures will continue to be performed during the CORVID-19 pandemic.
Florida residents should be assured that Florida’s talented health care providers will continue to treat non CORVID-19 patients who would be placed at risk by a delayed surgical procedure or if a serious or life threatening medical condition could be worsened by a delay and that Florida’s health care providers will only postpone non-essential elective surgeries and procedures during the CORVID-19 pandemic. Florida health care providers will resume treatment on non-essential elective surgical procedures after the CORVID-19 pandemic ends and/or when additional medical supplies become available.