CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced doctors statewide can begin performing elective surgeries and procedures for the first time since Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order on March 17 banning elective surgeries in an effort to save personal protective equipment in the event there was a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Gov. DeWine has asked healthcare providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess those procedures and surgeries that were postponed at the onset of the March 17 order.
“My first concerns are the patients that have had procedures and surgeries delayed,” DeWine said. “They have been waiting, and it’s time for them to catch up. It’s important for doctors or hospitals to now reach out to them. And we asked them to do that.”
Doctors are asked to make a joint decision with the patient based on his or her current health situation and the impact of the quality of life a procedure would have on the patient.
"Resuming surgeries and procedures, I’ve described, will take clinical judgment and will rely on our health care providers to make responsible decisions as we move forward, as well as responsible decisions being made, of course, by the patient," DeWine said.
DeWine said patients must be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and that impact during the post-operative recovery process.
As state health officials and the governor continue to work on a phased-in approach ahead of the state gradually reopening on May 1, DeWine said his team is working with hospital systems, healthcare providers, patients and other stakeholders to determine the next steps. He said eventually they will look at reopening doctors’ and dentists' offices.
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