How Has COVID-19 Impacted Elective Surgery?

Updated on July 14, 2020

Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc on the business world. Over 100,000 small businesses have closed since so far during the pandemic, for instance. It’s disrupted our daily lives in every conceivable way, as we adjust to life during quarantine. 

But what about elective surgery? How have pre-scheduled surgeries been impacted by Coronavirus/COVID-19?

Let’s find out, shall we?

How Coronavirus/COVID-19 Is Affecting Elective Surgery

Unsurprisingly, the medical industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors during the Coronavirus outbreak. Hospitals, in particular, have been struggling to keep up with the surge in new cases. It also brings up other unforeseen challenges, due to lack of resources and the highly infectious nature of the disease. 

The crisis brought about by the Coronavirus means that nearly the entire medical industry has shifted to treating the disease. On March 18, the Center For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental treatments be postponed until after the outbreak. 

Additionally, the CMS released a three-tier system for evaluating surgeries and determining whether or not they should proceed. 

Some hospitals are still performing elective surgeries, however. Many general practitioners are continuing to practice as normal, as well. 

The elective surgery delays have been tough on practitioners and patients awaiting their procedures, alike. Waiting for a procedure can be a source of anxiety and discomfort. Some elective surgeries can be related to pain or discomfort, also.

Waiting for treatment can allow those conditions to intensify, as well. 

Not all areas are impacted equally, either. If you’re awaiting an elective procedure like if you’re awaiting elective surgery in Baltimore, it’s worth your while to check and see if they’re operating during the pandemic. 

As a general rule of thumb, elective surgeries will not be performed if there’s an expected peak in the 14 days following the procedure. They can be performed if the number of new cases has been declining for the last 2 weeks. 

Every facility is different, as well. Hospitals performing elective surgeries need to ensure that the number of available beds won’t be adversely impacted. The facility must have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so that the equipment used for performing elective surgeries does not impact the rest of the hospital and emergency service providers.

Hospitals with less than 50% occupancy rate may be deemed safe to resume elective surgeries. Occupancy rates of higher than 75% may require elective procedures to be suspended again. Regional considerations will be taken under advisement when the occupancy rate falls between 50 and 75%.  

The general practitioners and elective surgeons who are continuing to provide services are taking every precaution to ensure their patient’s safety during this outbreak. 

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