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State Loosening Restrictions On Surgeries 'One Step At A Time'

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine

The state is easing up its elective surgeries ban by asking doctors to reassess procedures that have been delayed.

Gov. Mike DeWine says the ban on elective surgeries was to save hospital space and preserve personal protective equipment. He says the data shows Ohioans have been effective in keeping down the spread of coronavirus.

Now a new public health order is letting doctors carry out delayed surgeries and procedures that address chronic or newly diagnosed conditions

"We're asking that they review any of the postponed procedures or surgeries with a patient in light of that patient's current health situation and quality of life and make a joint decision about whether to proceed," says DeWine.

The Ohio Hospital Association estimates hospitals lose $1.2 billion every month that elective procedures are canceled. 

The public health order issued on May 17 stated that surgeries could only happen if the procedure addressed conditions that threaten someone's life, loss or permanent disfunction of an organ or extremity, risk of metastasis or progression of staging, rapidly worsening to severe symptoms.

DeWine says they have received reports of procedures the state did not intend to delay.

"Some of the procedures, some of the surgeries that we had no intention of stopping have been postponed and frankly that has concerned me a great deal. So we're starting back now, we're starting back one step at a time," says DeWine

The new order also allows the possibility of procedures that address new or other chronic conditions.

Doctors must talk with the patients about the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the impact the virus could have on the post-procedure process.

DeWine also said during Wednesday's briefing on COVID-19 that the newly formed Testing Strike Team of former Gov. Dick Celeste (D-Ohio) and former Gov. Bob Taft (R-Ohio) was working on a way to maximize testing capabilities. DeWine said he was on a "significant call" on the subject earlier in the day and that he planned to make an announcement on Thursday.

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