Expanding Medical and Surgical Procedures/ Minimizing Liability


LDH issued new guidance on 4/21/20 expanding medical and surgical procedures allowed during COVID-19.


The revised guidance, which goes into effect April 27, states that medical and surgical procedures shall only be performed under the following conditions:

  • In order to treat an emergency medical condition
  • To avoid further harm from an underlying condition or disease
  • For time-sensitive conditions

LDH has issued a summary of the requirements that you can access here and the complete order here.

As your organization moves toward expanding procedures, in keeping with previous recommendations, we advise the following in order to minimize liability:

Only a physician can determine medical necessity based upon their best professional medical opinion. To avoid liability, the patient's record should contain documentation as to why the procedure is required to avoid further harm to a patient due to an underlying condition, including the potential consequences to the patient if the procedure is postponed or that it is time-sensitive. Conversely, if a procedure is postponed, it should be documented that there is no emergency medical condition or the delay will not adversely affect the particular patient or the underlying disease process.

Telemedicine should be offered when postponement is appropriate and should be documented.

The order also requires testing (if available) for COVID-19 and follow-up with the patient 10-14 days after the procedure. Again, the patient's record should contain test results or documentation that testing was not available along with post-procedure follow-up.



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