Hospitals wrestle with Trump's call to scrap elective surgeries

“It is not the case that there is always a crystal clear line between elective and emergency [procedures]”Said Will Schlotter, CEO of the Capitol Anesthesiology Association in Austin, Texas.” It’s a complex situation. “

The $ 2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress this week contains $ 100 billion wanted by hospitals Treating coronavirus patients and helping facilities recover lost revenue from demolition procedures. But hospitals have said that this may not be enough to stop them during the crisis.

“Let us be clear that elective surgery is the lifeblood of many, if not all, hospitals,” said Mary Dale Peterson, president of the American Society of Anaesthesiologists, which supports the postponement of electoral processes during the coronavirus crisis.

The financial impact of the decisions can be serious. A nurse at a Connecticut community hospital said the surgeons’ heads had started examining each case this week to determine if it was essential. Vacation days in which employees’ sick time is used are on the table if too many procedures are canceled.

A Georgia hospital was still performing diagnostic mammograms and X-rays this week to assess swallowing function, an employee who protested that the procedures were not essential. Another facility in Texas was running joint replacement procedures earlier this week, but is now saying that all electoral procedures have been discontinued. At the request of health workers, POLITICO withholds the names of institutions that have asked for anonymity because they fear retaliation for the pronouncement.

The interviews shed light on an evolving patchwork of how hospitals have responded to the most serious public health crisis recently. And today they underline a high level of fear among many healthcare workers who only show up for their work.

“We shouldn’t do any harm and be there for the patient,” said a doctor at a facility in Texas. “But some surgeons – they think about the end result and it makes me totally angry.”

Trump administration officials said hospitals should consider the urgency of the procedure, the availability of beds, and the provision of special equipment.

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