***UPDATE: Effective as of May 8, 2020, the PA DOH as issued revised Guidance permitting dental practices to resume non-urgent and elective care with limitations. See our post here.
Effective as of March 21, 2020, the PA DOH has issued guidance on what medical procedures are permitted in ASFs. The DOH also updated its order regarding dental procedures. This post has been revised to reflect this guidance.
PA Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
As the COVID-19 outbreak has developed, the DOH has modified its guidance on what procedures may be performed by licensed ambulatory surgical facilities. The DOH guidance from March 20, 2020 can be found here: PA DOH ASF Guidance on Procedures
ASFs must review all scheduled elective surgeries and procedures and develop and implement a plan to postpone or cancel them, if they have not done so already. As of 12:00 a.m. on March 21, 2020, ASFs may not perform any elective surgeries or procedures unless the surgeries or procedures are “life-sustaining measures relating to a progressive disease, such as cancer, vascular disease or organ failure.” ASFs must consult CMS’s guidelines on elective surgery and procedure recommendations when making cancellation decisions, but also must comply with the DOH’s standard for such surgeries or procedures.
On March 26, 2020, the DOH issued another Order, which is not available online but was distributed to ASFs in PA, that directs all ASFs to report all surgeries performed on a daily basis to the DOH using the Ambulatory Surgical Facilities Survey. If you have not received a copy of this Order, please contact the DOH immediately to request it.
PA Dental Offices and Facilities
On March 26, 2020, the DOH revised its Order on dental emergency procedures in Pennsylvania to make it consistent with the CDC’s recommendations for such procedures. Link here: PA DOH Dental Guidance. Previously, the Order effectively forced most dental practices and facilities to close, as it was too restrictive. Now, the DOH is directing all facilities to cease all dental treatment, except for urgent and emergency procedures that the facility can perform in accordance with the DOH’s revised requirements. Please see the Guidance/Order for details. In short, urgent and emergency dental procedures can be performed on asymptomatic patients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, as long as certain screening efforts are taken. For patients who have potential symptoms of COVID-19, the facility is not permitted to perform urgent or emergency dental procedures unless it meets the additional requirements set forth in this Order.
If you have any questions regarding whether your practice or ambulatory surgical facility should stay open to perform certain procedures, please feel free to contact us or knowledgeable legal counsel.