VERIFY: What allowing ‘elective procedures’ in Arkansas means amid coronavirus pandemic

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Governor Asa Hutchinson introduced his plan on Wednesday to gradually begin the process of reopening the state— beginning with elective procedures.

But it left some professionals in the medical community wondering if that rule applies to everyone.

QUESTION:

Do all medical professionals have to perform elective procedures beginning next week?

Governor Hutchinson said “all of the clinics involved will be impacted in some way.”

In Wednesday’s daily briefing from the governor, he announced the state is lifting restrictions on elective procedures in state hospitals and clinics beginning April 27th.

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So, what does resuming elective procedures mean?

Dr. Nate Smith with the department of health said this applies only those who are not vulnerable— such as not having a lot of underlying medical conditions. Those patients will be required to have not had contact with a positive COVID-19 patient within the last two weeks to receive the care.

“They can’t come in with symptoms consistent of COVID-19. Initially, we’re going to encourage the facilities to start with a smaller volume and to build up and make sure they have adequate supplies of PPE and other measures in place to eliminate the risk,” Dr. Smith said.

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A dentist who has been practicing for 40 years reached out with concerns about reopening his office and resuming procedures.

According to the Arkansas Dentistry Association’s website, the organization’s president and executive director wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking the agency to federally recognize licensed dentists to administer point of service COVID-19 tests.

Dr. Smith said patients at this stage will be required to be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours of that surgical procedure.

As for abortions that is non-medical, they can resume on April 27th if the facility can comply with the requirements in the directive.

VERIFIED:

Not all medical facilities can perform elective procedures beginning next week.

You must first meet the state’s criteria in order to take precautions against the spread of the virus.