New “Stay Safe Ohio” Order Rescinds Non-Essential Surgery Ban and Restarts Ambulatory Care

May 1, 2020Insight

New “Stay Safe Ohio” Order Rescinds Non-Essential Surgery Ban and Restarts Ambulatory Care

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, has issued a comprehensive “Stay Safe Ohio” Order to be effective May 1, which, among many other things, reopens ambulatory care in Ohio. The new “Stay Safe Ohio” Order is available here and recognizes the “sacrifices and incredible efforts” of Ohioans, which make it possible to begin lifting restrictions.

The “Stay Safe Ohio” Order rescinds the ODH’s March 17 Order, which canceled the performance of non-essential surgeries and procedures that utilized personal protective equipment (PPE). The new “Stay Safe Ohio” Order applies to all medical providers, including dentists, and permits the resumption of non-essential surgeries and procedures, as these services do not typically require inpatient or overnight stays. Moreover, the new Order notes that these surgeries, procedures, and other health care services utilize minimal PPE and have “minimal impact on inpatient hospital bed capacity.”

The resumption of the performance of these non-essential surgeries and procedures under the new “Stay Safe Ohio” Order is subject to eight conditions that providers must meet:

  1. Compliance with infection control and environmental practices from the ODH and CDC;
  2. Maintenance of adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine for each patient and all phases of patient care;
  3. Creation of conservation and monitoring plans to preserve PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine, that may include decontamination and reuse protocols, in preparation for an influx of patients;
  4. Evaluation of a reliable supply chain to support continued operations for non-COVID-19 patients and to respond to an unexpected surge of COVID-19 patients;
  5. Frequent PPE inventory counts, which, for hospitals, will continue to be subject to daily reporting to Ohio’s COVID-19 resource-management system;
  6. Establishment of a process for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff per ODH guidelines;
  7. Continued use of telehealth modalities whenever possible;
  8. Development of an actionable plan for communication, outreach, and equitable delivery of services that recognizes the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority populations and engages patients in discussions concerning the risk of contracting COVID-19 and in shared decision-making as to the timing and need for services.

The new Order also highlights considerations for hospitals and other providers to review in preparation for the resumption of non-essential surgeries and procedures, which include pre-start considerations, prioritizing patient outreach and scheduling, patient communication, patient screening for COVID-19, facility considerations, workforce/staffing, sanitation procedures, PPE, supplies, patient and staff testing, and consultation of additional resources.

If you have any questions regarding ODH’s announcement or the resumption of certain surgeries in Ohio or need assistance with developing policies that are necessary to reopen, please contact your Dinsmore Health Care attorney.