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AHA Releases Updated COVID-19 Essential Surgery Roadmap

August 14, 2020

During April, when Pennsylvania hospitals were looking forward to the resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and a group of national health care and provider organizations, issued a joint statement that outlined a roadmap for resuming elective surgeries. The roadmap contained a number of recommendations that the AHA, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses provided to prepare for the return of surgeries.

Shortly after this roadmap was released, the Pennsylvania Department of Health removed its restriction on scheduled surgeries and procedures and allowed hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to resume this essential care.

Yesterday, the AHA and partnering organizations released an updated version of their roadmap. Considerations highlighted in this update include:

  • Engaging in regional cooperation to address capacity, PPE, testing, and equipment. This includes local, state, and regional cooperation with public health authorities and state hospital associations
  • Collaboration among hospitals, medical professional societies. and government agencies to assure supply chain resources of medications and equipment
  • Evidence-based policies for testing patients and staff for COVID-19
  • Adequate PPE and training related to proper use, along with policies for PPE conservation methods
  • Establishing a prioritization policy committee for scheduling and case prioritization
  • COVID-19 surgical policy considerations
  • Data, safety, and risk mitigation, as well as other additional COVID-19 considerations

Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems have been leaders in implementing COVID-19 mitigation steps. Pre-surgery processes have been revised and may include additional safety measures such as increased temperature checks, pre-procedure testing, staggered surgery times to reduce congestion, increased cleaning procedures, and other risk limiting interventions all in an effort to protect our patients, staff, and communities we serve.

HAP encourages all Pennsylvanians to discuss their current health care needs with medical providers. Patients can trust that hospitals and health systems are doing our part to keep them safe and helping them return to optimal health.

For additional questions related to this roadmap, or other clinical issues, please contact Robert Shipp, PhD, BSN, RN, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs.