Governor halts elective surgeries in New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Governor halts elective surgeries in New Mexico

Medical personnel screen patients at the Presbyterian COVID-19 drive-up testing site at PresNow earlier this month. A dwindling supply of protective gear is a concern for state officials, prompting the end of elective surgeries for now. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an order Wednesday banning health care facilities ranging from dental offices to hospitals in New Mexico from performing “nonessential” surgeries and other procedures for the next three months except in cases in which a delay would put a patient’s health at risk.

The governor cited a dwindling supply of protective gear needed for first responders, nurses and doctors treating coronavirus patients.

“We’re going to do everything we can – everything – to protect those on the front line of this war against COVID-19,” Lujan Grisham said in announcing the order.

The sweeping order applies to hospitals, day-surgery centers, dental, orthodontic and other health care facilities.

It also requires health care providers and facilities to submit their policies on how to comply with the order to the Department of Health within three days and identify which procedures will be deemed essential and which nonessential. Providers were ordered to submit an inventory of their supplies to the state Department of Health.

The ban does not apply to emergency surgeries and other procedures if a delay would present a threat to a patient’s life; cause permanent damage to the patient; make a medical problem worse; or otherwise put patients at undue risk of permanent harm. It also does not apply to prenatal or postnatal care.

Dr. Jason Mitchell, Chief Medical Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said the governor’s decision to postpone all elective procedures “is in line with Presbyterian’s existing approach, and we fully support the decision.”

Mitchell said surgeries that have been delayed include bariatric procedures and total joint replacements.

“Postponing elective procedures will allow critical staff to be redeployed to other areas of our hospital and minimize the use of PPE,” he said.

A spokesman for University of New Mexico Hospital, Mark Rudi, said the hospital has started contacting patients to reschedule surgeries.

Oral surgeons and dentists have been telling patients that procedures are canceled, except in emergency cases.

John Cruickshank, CEO of Lovelace Medical Group, said “Lovelace Health System is following the governor’s new declaration and delaying elective type surgeries and procedures.”

“While some elective surgical cases can be postponed for a period of time, there are circumstances that require immediate and emergent attention.”

He said Lovelace is also following the American College of Surgeons recommendations on elective surgical procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order was not unexpected. The Department of Health had already issued guidelines suggesting that doctors, dentists and other health care providers delay elective surgeries.

While that was due in part to the threat of catching the virus, there have also been concerns about the stockpile of personal protective gear.

The state has received emergency protective gear from the Strategic National Stockpile, but only 25% of the supplies it requested.

The state said it received nearly 20,000 N95 masks, 47,000 face masks, 8,900 face shields, 7,326 gowns and 26,000 gloves as part of the federal Pandemic All Hazards Preparedness and Innovation Act, but Lujan Grisham said in a statement that the equipment that arrived was in poor condition.

She said the state is working to get more equipment from the federal government, but wants “to protect and judiciously use the resources we have now.”

A second order issued by the department prohibits health care providers and wholesale medical suppliers from selling or distributing personal protective equipment without prior state approval.

It does not ban the sale of protective gear, such as protective masks, to individuals, but does prohibit the sale of the equipment to out-of-state parties without the Department of Health’s approval.

Both orders include administrative civil penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.

Journal reporter Colleen Heild contributed to this story.

 

Home » From the newspaper » Governor halts elective surgeries in New Mexico


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Concerns sparked over PRC candidates
ABQnews Seeker
Critics say panel lacks representation from ... Critics say panel lacks representation from northwest region of the state
2
Students rally to provide holiday cheer for homeless youth
ABQnews Seeker
Toy drive was largely pulled together ... Toy drive was largely pulled together by the La Cueva High School dance team
3
Las Vegas woman sought in fatal crash investigation
ABQnews Seeker
Driver and two passengers left the ... Driver and two passengers left the scene on foot after the crash, according to the complaint
4
NM, Mexico sign pact on care for Mexican children
ABQnews Seeker
Updated MOU signed by CYFD, Consulate ... Updated MOU signed by CYFD, Consulate of Mexico
5
The state education department revealed a $4.3 billion budget ...
ABQnews Seeker
PED's proposed budget is a 9% ... PED's proposed budget is a 9% increase for next year
6
NMSU benches players involved in aftermath of teammate's shooting ...
ABQnews Seeker
The three were seen in video ... The three were seen in video footage moments after the fatal shooting
7
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center plans early childhood development facility
ABQnews Seeker
Indigenous cultural education will be part ... Indigenous cultural education will be part of program at the new center
8
Prep notes: Sandia cross country star West wins big ...
Featured Sports
Steven West was already New Mexico's ... Steven West was already New Mexico's cross country star runner this year. But last weekend, the Sand ...
9
Trout expects a motivated foe, hostile crowd in Friday ...
Boxing/MMA
At age 37, Austin Trout could ... At age 37, Austin Trout could spend time pondering the inevitable end of his long and successful com ...