Providers and the associations that represent them are advocating for a case-by-case approach to rolling back non-urgent procedures in areas that are experiencing COVID-19 surges rather than reinstating a national decree.
Some hospitals in Arizona, Florida and other states that are seeing spikes in COVID-19-related hospitalizations are scaling back their services again to free up capacity. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Either way, most would prefer a more piecemeal process to rolling back elective procedures, rather than CMS reinstating a national executive order similar to the one that prohibited elective procedures from late March through April.
“When the initial guidance came out, and when many states shut down hospital scheduled services, one of the major concerns was PPE supplies and prep for surges,” said Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals. “I think we’re in a position today where we don’t need these broad-based shutdowns because we have a handle on those issues.” Individual health systems or communities should decide what elective procedures to move forward with based on their caseloads and local conditions, he said.
But not all providers agree with that assessment.
Nearly two-thirds of health system executives surveyed last month said canceling elective procedures would not be the right move amid future COVID-19 surges given the progress that’s been made, according to an Advis poll.
“How we did this—unilaterally shutting down elective surgeries across the country—made no sense,” Advis CEO Lyndean Brick told Modern Healthcare in June. “We need a much more informed approach to this.”