On Friday, May 15, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy executed Executive Order No. 145, which allows for the resumption of elective surgeries, both medical and dental, starting Tuesday, May 26 at 5:00 a.m. The Order required the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) to issue policies by Monday, May 18, to address where, when and how these surgeries can resume.
Late last night, the DCA issued its Order, which appears to apply to practitioners providing two different types of services in the office: (1) in-person adult and pediatric medically necessary or therapeutic services and (2) elective procedures. The DCA identifies different, but in many cases overlapping, protocols a practitioner must have in place before providing either type of service. For example, for either service, practitioners must, among other things, screen patients and staff and wear the proper PPE. The Order also states that providers cannot perform elective surgeries on any confirmed COVID-19 patients who are symptomatic until after certain time frames. In addition, providers should postpone any elective surgery for confirmed COVID-19 asymptomatic patients if, in the provider’s professional judgment, a postponement will unlikely result in an adverse outcome. As a result, providers will have to test their patients before performing elective surgery.
We are still awaiting the NJDOH’s guidance, and we will modify this blog post as soon as it is released.
Please visit Riker Danzig’s COVID-19 Resource Center to stay up to date on all related legal issues.