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CDPHE Releases Guidelines for Executive Order Allowing Elective Surgeries to Resume

Gov. Jared Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 045, which allows for the performance of voluntary or elective surgeries or procedures in medical, dental, and veterinary settings, directed CDPHE to identify or develop various protocols and best practice parameters for the resumption of these services. CDPHE has complied with that directive via Public Health Order 20-29 (“PHO 20-29”) titled, “Limited Recommencement of Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and Procedures in Colorado.”

PHO 20-29 begins by identifying priorities that should be used to inform all applicable facilities’ and providers’ actions as they begin resuming elective surgeries and procedures. Some examples of these priorities include assuring that there is adequate PPE and prioritization of procedures. PHO 20-29 further sets out parameters specific to (a) medical and dental facilities; (b) hospital facilities; and (c) veterinary facilities. Each of these parameters is fairly detailed and informs the manner in which different types of facilities should undertake a return to providing elective surgeries and procedures. Examples of the types of requirements discussed for each facility type include the amount of PPE that must be available; social distancing parameters; and, with regard to hospital facilities, daily data sharing with CDPHE and the state Emergency Operations Center. PHO 20-29 further makes general recommendations for all facilities and defines terms that are used throughout the PHO.

Note that PHO 20-29 is very detailed and the requirements to resume the performance of elective procedures and surgeries are much more comprehensive and detailed than the overview of examples provided here. It is imperative that all applicable facilities and providers review PHO 20-29 in its entirety before resuming these services. It is also important to check with local authorities, including county health departments, to understand how and whether elective surgeries and procedures may go forward in your locale.

In addition, it is notable that PHO 20-29 does not apply to “Limited Healthcare Settings,” which are addressed in significant detail in Appendix E to PHO 20-28. Facilities and providers practicing in Limited Healthcare Settings are still subject to additional restriction, including rendering services with 10 or fewer people at a single location at a maximum of 50% occupancy for the location (whichever is less), among other requirements.

Contact Caplan & Earnest with Questions

Healthcare providers and facilities are facing complex and nuanced issues during this unprecedented time. Should you wish to discuss these public health orders in detail, or should you have questions regarding any other aspect of your healthcare operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Meghan Pound, Sheryl Bridges or one of the other attorneys in Caplan & Earnest’s Health Law practice.


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