The CORE Institute’s Position Statement: Elective Surgery During COVID-19 National Outbreak

Both the State of Arizona and Federal government have declared a public health emergency to address the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is anticipated that in the coming months there will be an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. As an organization, we recognize that the most critical of these infections will require hospitalization, with a high degree of resource utilization, specifically as it relates to ICU beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), including N-95 masks, surgical masks, surgical gloves and protective gowns necessary for the protection of patients and healthcare professionals. Because of this concern, Governor Ducey has ordered that, effective Saturday March 21 at 8:00, AM all non-essential or elective surgeries shall not be performed throughout the State of Arizona.

The CORE Institute Specialty Hospital has abided by this order and has postponed all elective surgeries. However, there are certain procedures that are not elective, and are in fact urgent or emergent based on specific criteria. These urgent or emergent procedures are being performed only if (a) a postponement for the anticipated duration of the public health emergency likely would result in undue harm, worsened outcome, or permanent disability to the patient, and (b) the patient agrees to go ahead with the procedure, following a discussion with the surgeon regarding the risks of going ahead with the procedure versus delaying the procedure. In order to determine whether a surgery is urgent or emergent, The CORE Institute has developed, in collaboration with physician leaders, ethicists, and other healthcare experts, a two-step scoring system for all providers considering performing surgeries at The CORE Institute Specialty Hospital. Step 1 is a scoring system helping providers determine the patient’s health and risk profile. Step 2 consists of criteria used to determine if that patient is at risk of undue harm or permanent dysfunction is a procedure is delayed.

All procedures are selected and performed in accordance with the Executive Order by Governor Ducey, as well as the recommendations by the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the Federal Government.

To determine if your procedure qualifies as urgent or essential, and to determine if undue harm could occur with delay, please speak to your physician or licensed medical professional. Our providers remain committed to providing our treasured patients the most appropriate care. If your surgery needs to be delayed, we will make certain that we provide you with the best conservative care in the meantime, in order to reduce the risks associated with the delay. We thank you for your trust in us and are grateful for the honor of caring for you and your loved ones.