New York, the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, is set to resume limited surgeries at medical centers in some parts of the state by Tuesday.
The cautious return to normal operation will only be in areas that have escaped the worst onslaught of the coronavirus crisis, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
According to The Washington Post, Bill Prentice, chief executive of the national Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, said Cuomo's plan is "exactly what we could expect and mirrors what the federal government and other states have been saying recently: We can't continue to delay and postpone these surgeries further."
Cuomo said the state will permit the elective outpatient treatments in areas where "hospitals are laying off people because they are so quiet."
The Post reports that other criteria need to be met, according to federal guidelines, specifically that the hospital had fewer than 10 hospitalizations within the previous 10 days for COVID-19 patients and that available bed capacity remains above 25%.
Federal officials released the guidelines Sunday to help medical centers resume non-emergency surgeries and procedures. Those centers with relatively few COVID-19 patients are now getting ready to treat cancer, heart, and other patients whose care has been postponed by the crisis, according to another article published in The Washington Post.
"This is a phased process," Seema Verma, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday, according to the Post. She emphasized that the decision whether or not to resume elective procedures rests with state and local officials, adding that considerations about whether or not a hospital is ready to resume also depends on its ability "to address screening and testing of healthcare providers as well as for patients."
According to MJH Life Sciences, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Surgeons, and other groups issued a statement saying that in order for hospitals to resume elective procedures, there should be a "sustained reduction" in the rate of COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days in the relevant geographic areas. They also said that hospitals should have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and the capability to test patients for COVID-19.
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