The CMS on Wednesday announced that elective surgeries and non-essential medical and surgical procedures should be delayed until the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
The agency recommended that providers and public officials consider a wide range of factors when deciding whether to postpone a surgery or procedure, including patient risk factors, bed availability, staffing and personal protective equipment supplies.
"We need to preserve personal protective equipment for those on the front lines of this fight," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
The guidance should help providers and state and local officials preserve their supplies in the fight against COVID-19.
"As hospitals and physician practices plan for anticipated surges of patients needing care for COVID-19 infections, health professionals must use their expertise to develop allocation policies that are fair and safeguard the welfare of patients," Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association in a statement.
Medical supply chains have been tested by the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks, leading to a shortage such critical items as N95 masks. The Trump administration has taken a series of measures to address the problem in recent days, even invoking wartime powers to increase U.S. production of medical supplies.