Anesthesiologist calls for nationwide elective surgery cancellation

Stanford (Calif.) Medicine anesthesiologist Adam Schlifke, MD, called for a nationwide ban on elective procedures at hospitals and surgery centers in a column for USA Today.

What you should know:

1. Dr. Schlifke said these facilities should repurpose their equipment, clinicians and employees to treat COVID-19 patients. Surgery centers have anesthesia machines that can be repurposed to use as ventilators, and their plethora of skilled staff could be trained to assist in COVID-19 response units.

2. While several states have halted elective procedures, some large health systems continue to perform them. Notably, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare's 130 surgery centers are still performing elective procedures, Dr. Schlifke said.

3. Dr. Schlifke criticized those systems still performing elective procedures. He praised states that have already banned such procedures but noted states need to be more specific with the language to ensure providers cannot exploit any loopholes to continue performing these procedures.

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