Which Medical Procedures Are Allowed During COVID-19 Outbreak?
Minnesota governor Tim Walz signed an executive order on March 19 banning non-essential or elective medical procedures, including dental work, that require a ventilator or personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, beginning this past Monday, March 23. But what, exactly, does that mean for patients?
Can You Still go to the Doctors?
The Minnesota Department of Health says an elective surgery is “one that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency.” They recommend using the Elective Surgery Acuity Scale to determine whether or not a surgery should be postponed. That scale has three tiers; the lowest tier includes procedures like carpal tunnel surgery or colonoscopies, which should be postponed, while the highest includes most cancer procedures, which should not.
Other medical procedures and appointments still allowed include ones that risk death or disability if they aren’t performed.
North Memorial Heath, which runs North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale and Maple Grove Hospital, advises patients to expect the following medical visits, among others, to be postponed:
- Routine screening exams
- Well-checks for children more than 18 months old
- Medicare Wellness Exams
- Pre-operative appointments for elective surgeries
- Annual specialist appointments, such as routine cardiology checkups
- Annual scheduled testing
- Non-urgent clinic visits
- Non-urgent or elective surgeries.
North Memorial will contact patients if their upcoming appointments need to be postponed. To avoid people making appointments for procedures that the governor banned, online scheduling has been disabled. North Memorial patients with urgent medical needs should call 763-581-2273
Allina Health, which has a clinic in Plymouth as well as the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, has instituted similar restrictions. Allina is using an “urgency ranking system” to decide which scheduled procedures will be cancelled. They stress that patients do not need to contact them to find out if their appointment will be cancelled – if your procedure is postponed, Allina will contact you.
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Brandon Bankston, Reporting