7 updates for ASC owners on the coronavirus

Seven things for ASC owners and operators to know about the coronavirus.

1. The coronavirus could affect 70 million to 150 million Americans, according to Brian Moahan, MD, attending physician of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. All 50 states have reported cases and there have been 10,755 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of noon CDT on March 19.

2. Hospitals in hot spots like New York City and Washington are looking for additional beds to care for patients as the number of cases grows. They are directing healthcare providers to halt elective, non-essential procedures and use those spaces to increase hospital capacity. In some communities, health systems aim to partner with ASCs and use those facilities to expand their bed count.

3. CMS urged hospitals to cancel non-essential surgeries on March 18, echoing the call from the American College of Surgeons, to divert resources toward patients with severe symptoms from the coronavirus. This could spread to ASCs, and in some cases already has. CMS also released a tiered approach to canceling surgery based on health and age.

4. Several physician groups, including Resurgens Orthopaedics in Atlanta, Texas Back Institute in Plano and Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush have halted elective procedures and in some cases transitioned clinic visits to virtual visits. OrthoCarolina also temporarily closed its Hip & Knee Center in Charlotte after a physician tested positive for COVID-19.

5. ASCA has asked surgery centers to postpone elective surgeries for six to eight weeks unless the delay will significantly compromise patient safety. It defined cases that should proceed as those in which a "months-long delay would increase the likelihood that the patient would develop a significantly worse morbidity or prognosis."

6. ASCA also recommended ASCs shut down if a patient, employee or physician that has been in the center has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if there is a significant shortage of masks, gowns, gloves or other PPE in the area.

7. Several ASCs have already canceled procedures. Midvalley Surgery Center in Basalt, Colo., postponed elective surgeries for two weeks and Olympia (Wash.) Orthopaedic Associates canceled all elective procedures. Others are limiting the number of visitors a patient can have.

More articles on healthcare:
Proliance postpones elective surgeries at 90 care centers, 20 ASCs
$4M ophthalmology surgery center opens, gets accreditation
New CMS surgery recommendations for ASCs

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