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Governor loosens restrictions on elective procedures

April 17, 2020

Editor’s note: This is a developing issue and we will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has loosened the restrictions on elective procedures that he put in place in March to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The revisions — effective from April 22 to May 9 — include new exceptions to the rules for postponing procedures.

According to the governor’s order, physicians and facilities must continue to postpone all surgeries and procedures “that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death as determined by a patient's physician.”

However, exceptions to this rule now include:

  • “Any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19, or
  • Any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to Texas HHSC both (1) that it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, and (2) that it will not request any PPE from any public source — whether federal, state, or local — for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster.” 


Full text of these revisions can be found in the Governor’s Executive Order (GA-15) published on April 17. See also "Governor loosens surgery restrictions in plan to reopen the state" from the Texas Medical Association.


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