ASCA outlines when ASCs should proceed with cases during the COVID-19 pandemic

ASCs should postpone elective surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic unless a delay of six to eight weeks is likely to "significantly" compromise a patient's safety, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association said in a March 18 memo.

What you should know:

1. With hospitals strapped for supplies and bed capacity, government authorities have advised hospitals and ASCs to postpone elective surgeries. ASCA consulted with clinical leaders to identify situations in which a delay could put the patient at risk.

2. ASCA advised against postponing "urgent and necessary" procedures, defined as cases in which a "months-long delay would increase the likelihood that the patient would develop a significantly worse morbidity or prognosis."

4. Conditions that may require surgery to proceed include acute infection, acute trauma, potential malignancy, uncontrollable pain that would otherwise require a hospital admission, and any other condition where prognosis would significantly worsen with a delay in treatment.

4. ASCA reiterated guidance from the American College of Surgeons, which has advised providers to assess "the real risk of proceeding and the real risk of delay" when deciding whether to postpone a procedure.

5. ASCA outlined two situations that would make it necessary for surgery centers to shut down:

When a patient, employee or physician who has been in the ASC is suspected of contracting COVID-19 or subsequently diagnosed with it
When there is a significant shortage of masks, gowns, gloves or other personal protective equipment that prevents the safe practice of surgical cases

Click here to read the full guidance from ASCA.

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