March 30, 2020
Editor’s note: Please see the TMB’s COVID-19 Elective Surgery FAQs (expired link) for more information. Please check these FAQs for updates often.
See also the updated TMA White Paper explaining the non-urgent surgeries rule.
The TMB has issued new FAQs (expired link) about the emergency rules they published last week that enforce Governor Abbott’s order to postpone all non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures.
The revised FAQs (expired link) include the following guidance and tips.
“I have read everything and I am still confused. In plain English, what I am supposed to do?
Unfortunately, TMB cannot tell you exactly what to do. TMB understands these are very difficult emotional, societal, cultural, and financial times for everyone around the world. While TMB has a duty to enforce the law, TMB also wants to help patients and licensees navigate providing care as much as possible. TMB cannot provide an exhaustive list of approved or prohibited surgeries and procedures during this time. Nor can TMB answer specific questions about whether or not to provide certain care. However, TMB can provide these 10 Tips:
- GA 09 and the TMB rules allow providers to use their judgment in determining whether a surgery or procedure will prevent serious adverse medical consequences or death;
- If you normally could or would wait a few weeks to provide the surgery or procedure being considered for a specific patient based on the patient’s unique circumstances, then that might help you decide what to do;
- If you normally could not or would not wait a few weeks to provide the surgery or procedure being considered for a specific patient based on the patient’s unique circumstances, then that might help you decide what to do;
- If you do proceed with a surgery or procedure during this time, then be sure to clearly document why you made that decision;
- Referencing legitimate literature and guidelines, such as the CDC, CMS,or specialty guidelines will be very helpful;
- TMB cannot put anyone in jail;
- The decision to hold a temporary suspension or restriction hearing will meet the same standard as before the COVID-19 disaster;
- TMB understands the importance of having as many safe licensees available as possible during this time;
- The TMB Board Members include 12 physicians that also must navigate these times, the Executive Order, and the rules while providing safe patient care; and
- TMB is and will continue to be understanding that these are unprecedented times.”
This is a developing issue, and we encourage you to use the following resources to stay informed with the most up-to-date and reliable information:
- Texas Medical Association (TMA) COVID-19 Resource Center
- Texas Medical Board (TMB) COVID-19 page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 resource page
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 webpage
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 projections
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
- TMLT Resource Hub - Coronavirus updates and resources