The association that represents Virginia hospitals is calling upon Governor Northam to permit a resumption of non-emergency procedures. The executive order that put a temporary halt to such procedures is set to expire tomorrow. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association says there are plenty of beds and respirators available for COVID-19 patients, and the many Virginians awaiting needed medical procedures should not have to wait any longer.
VHHC NEWS RELEASE: The order has accomplished its purpose of preserving personal protective equipment and freeing up additional bed space in preparation for the COVID-19 response so there is no need to extend it beyond tomorrow. Any extension would prevent patients with chronic conditions, and those with immediate medical needs, from receiving timely surgical care, which could have negative implications for their health. At this point, it is estimated that 15,000 inpatient and outpatient medical procedures are being deferred each week in Virginia as a result of the existing order. In addition to impacting patients, any potential continuation of the order also impacts health care providers and employees who have been furloughed during the pandemic.
Allowing the order to expire would put Virginia on similar footing with at least 17 other states which as of today (Thursday, April 23) have lifted restrictions on non-emergency procedures: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
Also as of today (Thursday, April 23), Virginia hospitals are treating 1,379 COVID-19 patients, have 5,327 beds available, and have 2,264 ventilators available to provide respiratory support to patients, per the VHHA COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
Virginia hospitals and health systems have the capacity to meet the medical treatment needs of patients who need procedures that have been postponed due to the pandemic while also maintaining a high level of care for COVID-19 patients.
Virginia’s hospitals have also established a framework (see attached guidance document) for re-opening the health care delivery system in a responsible manner consistent with the Open Up America Again Guidance document recently issued by the Administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as similar guidance issued by other national health care organizations such as the American College of Surgeons.