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Gov. Brown lifting ban on non-urgent medical procedures on May 1

St. Charles sees improvement

(Update: Adding more details, links)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that she will be lifting her order delaying non-urgent procedures for health care providers, as long as they can demonstrate they have met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness.

Hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices that meet those requirements will be able to resume non-urgent procedures on May 1.

Medical providers will need to demonstrate they have the ability to:

  • Minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission to patients and healthcare workers
  • Maintain adequate hospital capacity in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases
  • Support the health care workforce in safely resuming activities

Under the framework, medical providers must also demonstrate that they have an adequate amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) available for health care workers, following CDC guidance for the extended use or reuse of PPE.

Hospitals must continue to report PPE supply levels daily to the Oregon Health Authority. Hospitals must also demonstrate adequate COVID-19 testing capacity when needed, including the ability to screen patients before non-urgent procedures, and follow strict infection control protocols.

Facilities that are ready to begin resuming non-urgent procedures will be required to do so gradually, in order to preserve capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. Criteria will be reassessed biweekly.

“As anyone waiting for an elective surgery knows, ‘non-urgent’ does not mean ‘minor,'” Brown said. “This is incredibly important medical care that we would not have told providers to delay if the threat of COVID-19 had not made it necessary.

“I would like to thank Oregonians for the sacrifices they have made during this crisis to ensure that our health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients. Lifting this order will allow our health care system to get up and running again, with appropriate safeguards in place, so that Oregonians can get health care treatment without delay.”

A copy of the governor's full remarks is available here.

The Oregon Health Authority's framework for resuming non-urgent procedures is available here for hospitals and surgical centers and medical and dental offices.

A livestream of the governor's media availability is available here.

St. Charles resumed some elective surgeries on a limited basis a couple of weeks ago, Public Information Officer Lisa Goodman said Wednesday.

State Rep. Cheri Helt (R-Bend), who had urged the governor to take the action last week, released the following statement:

"We can beat COVID-19 while safely allowing Oregonians access to critical medical and health care procedures” said Helt. “I'm pleased by Governor Brown’s decision to lift restrictions on elective and non-urgent surgeries and medical procedures.

"As we move forward, it is important that we responsibly manage our PPE supplies and have timely and robust testing for COVID-19. We must trust and rely on the expertise of our doctors, nurses, scientists and other front line workers, and return the autonomy of practicing medicine and providing health care to those in the medical field.”

Becky Hultberg, OAHHS President & CEO, issued the following statement on Governor Brown’s decision to lift her order to delay non-urgent medical procedures in hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices. Scheduled procedures at facilities that show they’ve met the guidelines on COVID-19 safety and preparedness will resume May 1.

“Today the Governor announced a framework for the reopening of hospital elective procedures, effective May 1. This has been a top priority for members, and we appreciate that the Governor prioritized this important work.

"We supported the decision to pause elective procedures to preserve PPE for the COVID-19 fight, but we also understand that it’s not safe to delay some of these procedures indefinitely. Our patients need care and we are prepared to safely resume health care services.

"We are currently reviewing the framework to determine how hospitals can best meet the conditions outlined and will provide feedback to the Governor and Oregon Health Authority. We greatly appreciate the work of the Governor’s Medical Advisory Panel and the Governor’s commitment to getting hospitals back to normal operations.

"Finally, we are encouraged that Governor Brown pledged to create a Hospital Stabilization Fund to bring vital assistance to hospitals, in response to our request for $200 million in state support. Many hospitals are the largest employers in their communities and their continued financial health is essential both to the COVID-19 fight and the long term health of the communities they serve.”

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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