ODH Permits All Ohio Surgeries to Resume

June 4, 2020Legal Alerts

On June 2, 2020, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, issued a new comprehensive order permitting all surgeries to resume, effective immediately ( Surgery Resumption Order). The Surgery Resumption Order is available here.

We have previously written about the March 17, 2020 ODH order that cancelled all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures that use personal protective equipment (PPE). More recently, we wrote about the April 30, 2020, “Stay Safe Ohio” Order that permitted the resumption of non-essential surgeries and procedures that did not require inpatient or overnight stays. As of June 2, 2020, the new Surgery Resumption Order permits all non-essential surgeries to resume, even if the surgery would result in an inpatient or overnight stay. All medical providers, including dentists, may now resume all surgeries and procedures that were delayed by prior ODH orders.

The resumption of these non-essential surgeries and procedures under the new Surgery Resumption Order incorporates the same conditions as the previous “Stay Safe Ohio” Order. As a result, all medical providers are to continue to adhere to the following when performing non-essential surgeries:

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; and

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 risk of contracting COVID-19 and in shared decision-making as to the timing and need for services.

The Surgery Resumption Order also continues to highlight 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.

Within the Surgery Resumption Order, ODH recommends that providers should continue to use telehealth modalities, whenever possible, and create or use existing internal strategies to prioritize cases based on the medical staff's governance and resolution structure. Additionally, providers should follow the Responsible Restart Ohio Guide for Health Care distributed by ODH. ODH has posted the following guidance available for health care providers to navigate the current reopening climate during the COVID-19 pandemic:

If you have any questions regarding ODH’s announcement or the resumption of all surgeries in Ohio or need assistance with developing policies that are necessary for all health care re-openings, please contact your Dinsmore Health Care attorney.