TAMPA, FL — As Florida faced the harsh truth that a deluge of COVID-19 cases could exhaust its medical system, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all elective medical procedures to be postponed.
In an Executive Order signed on March 20th, DeSantis put a stop to all “non-essential elective medical procedures.” The order would last until the end of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, which was declared two weeks earlier.
Now nearly five weeks later, doctors and health leaders around the state are eager to get patients back to the office for elective surgeries. Elective surgeries are defined as procedures that, if not done in the immediate future, do not pose a significant health risk to the patient. Common elective procedures include cataract and lens surgeries, orthopedic procedures and cosmetic procedures.
But doctors whose financial health often depend on these non-emergency procedures warn patients that once restrictions are lifted next month, “it will be a new ballgame for providers and for patients,” said Dr. David Shapiro, an anesthesiologist and board member of Florida’s Society of Ambulatory Centers (FSASC).
“I think things will look a lot different to patients,” he said.
Coming up tonight, Reporter Katie LaGrone details how hospitals and surgery centers are gearing up to welcome back patients and what patients will need to know before rescheduling their elective health procedures.