On March 18 CMS issued its recommendations on delaying procedures by type and facility. Decisions on the types of procedures to be postponed were to remain the responsibility of local healthcare systems, state and local health officials and surgeons who have a direct responsibility to their patients. Given, these are suggestions and not mandates, there was some confusion as to its enforcement and the ultimate decision-makers
Florida’s governor was relatively quick to clarify, at least the authority part. With the guidance from the Secretary of the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA ) an Executive Order was given based on the recommendations of CMS. The Agency for Healthcare was also given the authority to support the Order. Sources within AHCA have sent warnings of identifying and enforcing facilities engaging in “elective” procedures.
On March 20, Governor DeSantis passed an executive order (EO 20-72 ) restricting numerous surgeries from being performed. Though drafted with good intention, leaves some grey areas which have facilities wondering what is acceptable. A patient’s “wellbeing” could be controversial when it comes to pain management and “some endoscopy” would leave some scratching their head, much less “most cataract and lens surgeries”.
In the big picture, conservation of resources (PPE, medical equipment, medical staff and containing the transmission of COVID-19 ) is the goal and should be in the decision making process through it all.
You can view the full Executive Order here
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