State Asks Providers to Re-evaluate Elective Surgeries

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Dr. Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine are asking health care providers to re-evaluate the elective surgeries that were originally put on hold due to a state order.

Since the state issued the order for surgery centers to suspend elective operations on March 17, some of the surgeries “that we had no intention of stopping” have been postponed, DeWine said during his daily briefing Wednesday. “So, we’re starting back one step at a time.”

Acton clarified that some symptoms are “not nonessential,” yet some patients that were first in line to receive certain diagnostic procedures had their procedures postponed, in what the director of the Ohio Department of Health referred to as “foregone care.”

“One of the things we’ve noticed and it’s very disturbing to me as a physician, it’s very disturbing to the governor, to learn about situations in which there are people who have had some symptoms that I do not think are nonessential,” Acton said.

It’s been a month since certain procedures have been postponed for “very vulnerable and complex situations,” she said. The Department of Health is working with hospitals and care providers to determine the lowest and highest risk services that can be done during the pandemic.

Once the order is signed, clinicians must re-evaluate such procedures based on the clarifications specified in the order, she said. At press time, the amended order had not been posted at Coronavirus.ohio.gov. Acton urged patients not to wait to seek help if their ailments are causing them pain or impacting their quality of life.

“If you’re at home and if you’re having a change in your clinical condition, please reach out to your doctor,” she said.

The original order was passed in an effort to preserve the state’s supply of personal protective equipment and prevent the hospitals from being overrun in the event of a surge of positive diagnoses of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus. That spike in diagnoses has been prevented, DeWine said, and now it’s time for patients who had procedures delayed to contact their doctors.

The amended order asks health-care providers in hospitals and outpatient centers to reassess surgeries that were postponed “in light of that patient’s current health situation and quality of life, and make a joint decision on whether to proceed,” DeWine said.

Providers must inform patients of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the impact of that risk during the post-operative recovery, he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.