March 18, 2020
Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommended the cancelling of all non-emergent, elective surgeries and procedures to immediately decompress the healthcare system during the COVID-19 response. According to the guidance, “elective” is defined as those procedures that are pre-planned by both the patient and the physician that are advantageous to the patient but are not urgent or emergent. IDPH says that physicians should use their medical judgment to determine the need for surgery to prevent unnecessary procedures from occurring and potentially exposing others.
In addition, IDPH says that accommodations should be made for the need to continue performing emergent procedures. Considerations should also be made to reallocate healthcare workers, space, and supplies to accommodate a surge of patients seeking care for COVID-19.
The guidance provides information on staffing, space and supplies/resource considerations.
Also, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has released “COVID-19: Guidance for Triage of Non-emergent Surgical Procedures” to provide surgeons with additional guidance on the management of non-emergent operations during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The document was developed in response to the rapidly evolving challenges faced by hospitals in response to COVID-19 outbreak, including broad calls to curtail “elective” surgical procedures. This document follows the release of the College’s “COVID-19: Recommendations for Management of Elective Surgical Procedures.”