CMS Issues Guidance on Resuming Elective Surgery

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance for health systems on resuming elective surgery following the shutdown of most non-urgent procedure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

CMS recommends that states and regions pass “Gating Criteria” prior to resuming elective procedures. This includes a downward trajectory of cases with flu and COVID-like symptoms and a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period as well as having an adequate testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers.

General recommendations provided by CMS, include:

  • Paying attention to state and local trends for COVID-19
  • Prioritizing care based on clinical needs
  • Establishing Non-COVID Care (NCC) zones, where routine screening of staff and patients for COVID-19 symptoms would take place
  • Ensuring sufficient resources are available including PPE and a healthy workforce.

“All facilities should continually evaluate whether their region remains a low risk of incidence and should be prepared to cease non-essential procedures if there is a surge,” wrote CMS.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also said in the coming weeks it will be providing guidance documents for reopening ophthalmology care on a local and regional basis.

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