HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Concerns with hospital capacity and personal protective equipment supply as the coronavirus disease spread prompted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ temporary suspension of unrelated surgeries. But this meant hospitals lost revenue when they needed it most.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommended hospitals to put a stop to all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures on March 18. The Florida Hospital Association commended DeSantis’ decision to allow them again starting Monday.
“We expect that individual hospitals will make decisions about when to resume specific procedures, and to what extent, based on community data and facility capacity,” the FHA leadership said in a statement.
In South Florida, most hospitals started to welcome back physicians and their patients for previously scheduled surgeries. Some of those included plastic surgeries. Joshua Lampert is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Aventura.
Lampert, who performed one surgery on Monday, said half of the procedures he usually performs are cosmetic and the other half usually includes reconstruction surgeries for breast cancer patients and repairing traumatic injuries.
“We went from, probably, the busiest I have ever been to near a complete stop,” Lampert said.
Lampert said now that he is starting to perform surgeries again, he and his staff are doing everything they can to keep their patients safe during the pandemic.
“We’re doing this very methodically and very slowly,” Lampert said.
Dr. Stanley Marks, the chief medical officer at Memorial Healthcare System said a pre-admitting testing center now includes coronavirus testing. He described it as a “one-stop, pre-op shop.”
Dr. Brett Cohen, the chief of adult general surgery, said visitors will be limited and everyone coming in and out will be screened for fever.
If cases increase again, Marks said the hospitals will then pull back on elective procedures again.