AAOS publishes clinical considerations for return to elective surgery

Practice Management

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on April 21 published clinical considerations for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, including the return to elective surgery.

The considerations come after CMS issued guidelines for outpatient elective surgeries to recommence under President Donald Trump's Opening America plan.

AAOS' clinical considerations cover COVID-19 testing, risk stratification, telehealth services and in-person visits. They feature five guiding principles to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers when elective surgery resumes:

1. Patient safety must be the No. 1 priority when considering the provision of healthcare services, items and procedures during the pandemic.

2. The safety of healthcare staff should be the next highest priority when considering the provision of such services and procedures.

3. Adhering to CDC guidelines, as well as federal, state and local public health recommendations is paramount.

4. Decisions should be locally based, as factors such as incidence, prevalence, patient and staff risks, and resource availability vary by location. It is vital to determine if the COVID-19 burden curve trajectory in the community is increasing, flattening or decreasing, as well as whether the reproductive number is greater than, equal to or less than one.

5. Many states and locales have mandated shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, so it is important to adhere to these legal requirements.

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