December 4, 2020

Medical City Healthcare Elective Surgery FAQs

At Medical City Healthcare, we have well-established protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases. Our responsibility during this pandemic includes balancing our readiness to care for patients with COVID-19 while ensuring the many other patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care.

The information below is provided in response to the Governor’s Order GA-31 regarding Capacity and Surgery in Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) of High Hospitalization and how it may affect your practice.

What is Executive Order GA-31?

  • In September, Governor Abbott issued an executive order (GA-31) regarding hospital capacity requirements for coping with COVID-19 at hospitals in Trauma Service Areas of High Hospitalization.
  • It is important to note that this order is not the same broad order he first put in place in March, ordering the suspension of elective surgery. The intent of the most recent order remains the preservation of hospital inpatient capacity with the postponement of elective surgery only in the case the surgery would deplete the hospitals’ ability to “cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”

What is a TSA of high hospitalization?

  • A TSA of high hospitalization is an area that has experienced seven consecutive days of COVID-19 patients greater than 15% of hospital capacity.
  • As of December 4, 2020, Medical City Healthcare is included in the trauma service area of “high hospitalization.”

Are we required to stop elective surgery?

  • No. GA-31 calls for the postponement of elective surgeries / procedures only when they would deplete the hospitals’ capacity to “cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”
  • At this time, all Medical City Healthcare hospitals have the bed capacity, supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) we need, which is a requirement under Gov. Abbott’s executive order.
  • We will continue providing surgical care to our community based on meeting the thresholds for care established in GA-31.

Do surgeons at Medical City Healthcare hospitals need to change processes or provide additional documentation?

  • Surgeons may continue to schedule surgeries as needed with no additional documentation or process change required at this time.
  • Hospital leadership teams are completing any state required documentation regarding our capacity.
  • If hospital leadership determines that capacity to care for COVID needs are hindered by the performance of any procedure, the provider will then determine if medical necessity allows for the case to be rescheduled.

How will Medical City Healthcare continue to ensure that we meet the intent of GA-31?

  • We continually monitor our volume of COVID-19 patients daily, along with our ICU capacity, ventilator usage, PPE and lab testing to ensure that we can safely and appropriately meet patient demand.
  • Your facility CEO, in consultation with the Chief of Surgery, Chief of Staff, or CMO, will assess the surgical schedule twice a day (morning and mid-afternoon) and review requirements that surgeries will not deplete the hospital of capacity to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.
  • The CEO will then either:
    • Sign the attestation form outlining that surgeries will not deplete capacity, attach to surgical schedule, and file/retain locally, or
    • Notify division team that surgeries will deplete capacity and create a plan
  • If continued COVID-19 volume changes our availability of needed resources, we will share additional information as soon as possible, along with our plans to ensure we can support you and our community in providing medically necessary care.

If you have questions regarding this guidance, please contact your facility's chief executive officer.