Governor Walz Issues an Executive Order Allowing Reopening of Medical, Dental and Veterinary Clinics for Elective Surgeries and Procedures
On May 5, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-51 which, coupled with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, allows hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and clinics, including dental, veterinary, mobile and other facilities, to perform procedures that utilize PPE or ventilators, provided they comply with the conditions set forth in the Executive Order.
Oversight and Written Plan. Facilities that desire to “reopen” must create and maintain an internal oversight structure and create a written plan that includes the protocol for determining which procedures can be conducted and must consider protection and maintenance compacity for treatment of possible Covid-19 cases. The written protocol must include elements that address:
Prioritization of procedures- This includes an assessment of the risks and benefits of conducting the procedure, a prioritization of cases that pose a high risk to the patient; and must consider the need for pre- and post-operative care. Any decisions regarding whether to proceed with the procedure must be based on professional medical, veterinary, or dental judgment;
Patient considerations- Facilities must share the risk and benefits analysis of proceeding with a procedure with the patient and secure informed consent from the patient regarding those risks;
Community considerations- Facilities must collaborate with other stakeholders and facilities in the community to ensure adequate supplies and capacity;
Screening and testing capabilities and protocols- Facilities must develop protocols to screen all staff patients, and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19. This includes screening staff each shift;
PPE use- Facilities comply with MDH, CDC, and licensing board recommendations on the use of PPE, including the use of respiratory protection during procedures on mucous membranes that carry a high risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. Facilities must also ensure that commercial sources of PPE are adequate to meet the facilities needs; and
Infection protection- Facilities must implement protocols and physical measures to provide for social distancing and minimize crossover between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 areas.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s guidance on these issues can be found here:
Executive Order 20-51 can be found here: