Apr 22, 2020 - Health

Hospitals planning to restart delayed medical procedures

A nurse wearing a protective mask and shield monitors an IV.

A nurse monitors IV drug levels. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

California is the latest state that plans to allow hospitals, doctors' practices, outpatient surgery centers and other facilities to resume some procedures and patient visits that have been postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The Trump administration and state leaders are urging that certain conditions be met before medical providers reopen their doors. For example, industry groups said procedures should resume only if the rate of new COVID-19 cases has dropped for at least 14 days and if the organization has enough protective equipment for workers.

Between the lines: Health care providers had to slow down their normal operations because they needed to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients, didn't have sufficient protective gear and had to follow social distancing requirements. But they are eager to restart businesses because many procedures are lucrative and are increasing in urgency for some patients.

  • Some hospitals are advertising rescheduling for surgeries right now, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The federal government told hospitals not to pause certain life-saving treatments, like transplants, but even some of those have been delayed, STAT reports.

What to watch: More money from these procedures will start to flow back to the industry while, simultaneously, the federal government is routing bailout funding that is supposed to offset the lost revenue.

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