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Scheduled Surgeries Might Be Delayed Due To Coronavirus

(Mladen Antonov AFP via Getty Images)
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The federal government is asking hospitals to limit non-urgent medical and dental procedures to ensure that medical equipment and staff are available to treat the coronavirus.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance this week saying hospitals should consider delaying elective procedures like knee replacements and even some cancer treatments.

The agency says life-saving surgeries should go forward. But elective surgeries that can be scheduled in advance should be postponed if the patient can wait.

The ultimate decision is up to the provider.

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The federal government hopes to conserve the limited supply of personal protective gear like masks and gowns. Some hospitals in California don't have enough of the critical gear to protect health providers from the coronavirus.

The guidelines are also intended to help hospitals decide which surgeries are higher priority as they ramp up for a potential surge of coronavirus patients.


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