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What You Need To Know About Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order Delaying Non-Essential Surgeries And Procedures

By Michael A. Igel & Alexandra S. Peterson | Categories: Articles, COVID-19 task force, Health Care | Share March 2020

Late in the afternoon of March 20, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-72 (the “Executive Order”), prohibiting “[a]ll hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices, and other health care practitioners’ offices in the State of Florida” from “providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery.” The Executive Order takes effect immediately.

The Executive Order’s prohibitions apply only to such surgeries or procedures that, if delayed, would not place a patient’s immediate health, safety or well-being at risk, or will, if not delayed, contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening condition.  The Executive Order aims to limit the spread of COVID-19, and to conserve personal protective equipment and other critical resources needed by health care professionals and others who are on the front line of the COVID-19 response. 

Emergency surgery, removal of cancerous tumors, organ transplants, limb-threatening vascular surgeries, trauma-related procedures, dental care procedures to relieve pain and manage infection are some of the surgeries and procedures that are expressly permitted.

Additionally, it is important to note that health care providers can continue to provide evaluation and management services to patients.  Also, as noted in a prior client alert, subject to certain guidelines, these services can be provided via telehealth.  Health care providers remain permitted to treat patients with chronic and acute conditions, surgical follow-up, wellness exams, and mental health services as long as none of those services consume personal protective equipment. 

The determination of whether the performance of a particular surgery or procedure is permissible under the Executive Order must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account, amongst other things, the nature of the procedure and the condition of the patient. Special care must be given to ensure appropriate medical record documentation for any such services, including that such services were medically necessary and of an urgent nature or an emergency. If you have any questions regarding the Executive Order’s impact on services you provide, please contact the Johnson Pope Health care Team.


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