With the growing concern that hospitals may be overwhelmed by a surging number of patients with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that some inpatient surgeries be shifted to outpatient settings, when feasible. However, there has been conflicting guidance about elective surgeries that indicates additional guidance is warranted.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) has consulted with clinical experts in our community and the consensus position is that ASCs can continue to provide safe surgical care for patients whose condition cannot wait until hospitals return to normal operations. As a critical component of the healthcare system, we are keenly aware of how our actions can materially impact the health of the communities that we serve and recommend the following guidelines for the continuation of urgent/needed care in our ASCs:
ASCs can serve as alternative settings that provide surgical care for those patients who would suffer from a delay, while allowing our local hospital partners to create the incremental capacity needed during these dynamic times. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to assess our approach, in coordination with experts throughout the healthcare system, to best serve the needs of patients and communities.
The ASC community stands ready to work with federal officials, state and local governments, and all our colleagues in the healthcare system to provide needed care during these challenging times.