Reduced restrictions on non-urgent medical and dental procedures

May 21, 2020

On May 18, 2020 Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20.24.1, which provides updated direction on expansion of non-urgent medical and dental procedures.

WSHA is pleased with the direction provided in this proclamation, which recognizes and relies on the expertise of a wide range of health care community leaders in determining level of procedures that can be performed. This work was led by WSHA chair-elect and MultiCare Health System CEO Bill Robertson and Washington State Nurses Association Executive Director Sally Watkins. We deeply appreciate their leadership and expertise.

The proclamation allows medical, dental and dental specialty facilities, practices and practitioners to offer non-urgent health care and dental services, procedures and surgeries, provided they act in good faith and with reasonable clinical judgement.

Key take-aways from the proclamation include:

  • Local health jurisdictions are charged with assessing the status of COVID-19 in their communities.
  • Facilities and providers are required to develop an expansion/contraction of care plan, if they do not already have such a plan in place through surge or emergency operation plans.
  • Local emergency health care coalitions will determine and govern what level of care can be provides through the implementation of “care phases.” The DOH specified that the state is currently in the Contingency Care Phase where all appropriate clinical care can be provided so long as there is sufficient access to PPE and, for hospitals, surge capacity is at least 20 percent.
  • There are a number of criteria for resuming non-urgent procedures. Among these criteria are that practitioners should exercise clinical judgment to determine the need to deliver a health care service in the context of the broader health care needs of patients and communities in the context of the pandemic and within the parameters of their facility’s operations.

We encourage hospitals and health systems to become familiar with the direction provided in the proclamation and believe that this updated guidance with emphasis on clinical judgement will assist clinicians in providing for individual patients and the broader community.

This is a brief overview of the proclamation. I encourage you to read the full document, which is available online.


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