The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) released a plan on Tuesday, shared with Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ task force on reopening Florida, to resume elective surgeries and procedures while protecting patients and employees from COVID-19.
With hospitals closed to elective surgeries to make room and preserve protective equipment for COVID-19 patients, several hospitals are operating in the red to treat Floridians during the pandemic.
“Florida’s hospitals remain vigilant,” said FHA Interim President Crystal Stickle in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our patients, employees and communities. This has been, and will continue to be, our top priority.”
In March, the FHA Board of Trustees voted in favor of postponing elective procedures to preserve personal protective equipment for the hospital workforce, originally just an advisory. The following day, DeSantis made the order official, tying it to the COVID-19 state of emergency order currently set to expire May 9.
But with the number of new cases seemingly in decline this month, the Governor’s task force, and now the FHA, are thinking of the first steps the state can take to get the economy rolling again.
As of Tuesday evening, 27,869 people have tested positive and 867 Floridians have died.
And as for elective surgeries, DeSantis told reporters Tuesday he supported lifting the ban.
“We need to do it pretty quickly, because, if we keep it up the way we are going, I think more people are going to get laid off,” he said. “I think there is going to be less financial viability for some of these health care outfits, which is very important.”
FHA’s four-part plan for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to safely resume elective surgeries and procedures was designed to be a position paper for the task force, according to the association.
Steps include observing the rate of new infections, preventing transmission between patients and health care providers, establishing a transparent and collaborative prioritization process of elective surgeries and using hospital networks to fully restore health care services.