Is My State Allowing Elective Surgery?

Healthcare News

Is My State Allowing Elective Surgery?

RxSaver Editors
By RxSaver Editors
May 05, 2020
Busy hallway of hospital with doctors heading into elective surgery

As the wave of new coronavirus cases begins to slow and hospitalization rates are starting to decline in parts of the country, some states are making plans to gradually reopen. In many cases, that means patients and health care providers will be able to resume some elective surgeries.

If you’re someone whose elective surgery was postponed due to COVID-19, you’re probably wondering whether your state is on the list, and what these changes mean for you and your health. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Elective Surgery?

In general, surgery is considered elective if it can be scheduled in advance because it is not an emergency. Many health care providers canceled or postponed elective surgeries during the pandemic in order to free up personnel and resources to care for coronavirus patients and to reduce the risk of healthy patients catching the virus in the hospital.

But just because a surgery is elective doesn’t mean it’s not important or even urgent.

In many cases, the surgery is still medically necessary to prevent a health problem from getting worse or improve the patient’s quality of life. While elective surgery could mean breast reconstruction or wart removal, it also includes things like joint replacement, hernia repair, or heart bypass surgery.

Procedures that are necessary to diagnose conditions like cancer or cardiac problems are also considered elective.

Which States are Allowing Elective Surgery?

Keep in mind that the situation is still evolving. Rules vary from state to state and are being updated regularly. States may allow elective surgeries only for certain conditions, if they are medically necessary, or if hospitals meet certain requirements, such as showing that they have a minimum number of available beds.

Currently, the following states are allowing at least some elective surgeries to resume:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

In addition, some states have said that they will reopen for elective surgeries in May:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Illinois
  • Nebraska
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Check this article for an updated list and details on what’s allowed state by state, or call your health care provider to learn more.

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What to Do Next

If you live in a state that is reopening elective surgery, it may be time to reschedule your procedure. Call your doctor to find out if your surgery can go forward, and to make an appointment. Be prepared for long wait times as hospitals start working through the backlog of patients that are now needing care.

When you schedule your appointment, ask about what to expect when you come in for surgery. Possible changes may include:

  • You may need to answer more screening questions about your health, travel history, and family members
  • The hospital may require you to be screened for COVID-19 before you can come in for surgery.

Family members may be asked to wait in their car or at home, to avoid having crowds of people in waiting rooms.

Just remember that these policies are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the hospital and keep you and other patients safe.

How to Prepare for Elective Surgery

Once you have an appointment scheduled, follow your doctor’s advice for how to prepare for elective surgery. Make sure you follow any instructions, such as what to eat or drink in the hours before your procedure. Ask about what special care or accommodations you will need after surgery, and make sure you have a plan to get any medications you will need. Keep in mind, RxSaver™ is a digital savings platform that offers free coupons on 6,000+ prescription medications.  Search for your medication through the website or download the free app to find coupons at your local pharmacy.

On the day of your surgery, bring identification, any papers or instructions provided by your physicians, a list of the medications you’re taking, and any insurance information. Talk with the person who will be driving you to and from surgery, and make sure they know about visiting policies and where they should wait.

If you’ve had an elective surgery postponed due to coronavirus, you may be worried about the delay and whether it will impact your health. The good news is that more and more states are making the decision that it’s safe to allow elective surgeries to resume. While you may need to plan on delays and be flexible with new procedures, it’s likely that you’ll soon be able to get the surgery you need.

RxSaver Editors

RxSaver Editors

RxSaver Editors are wellness enthusiasts who help you learn how you can save the most on prescription medication costs and other health-related topics.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.