Minnesota health care providers this week began laying the groundwork to resume elective surgeries. On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order that allows elective procedures to continue. The latest order covers veterinary and dental procedures, too.
But even before the governor's official orders, health care providers were preparing. Mayo Clinic, for instance, on Monday reopened its orthopedic and sports medicine facility in downtown Minneapolis. The center’s services include orthopedic surgery and primary care sports medicine. In a news release, Mayo officials said that the center will provide rehabilitation and family medicine services.
Allina Health also said it plans to resume previously scheduled elective health care services.
“We continue to work within the governor's mandate and are able to work safely to bring more patients in for needed care as we have more availability of testing, a delayed predicted surge capacity peak and continued effective (evidence based) management of protective personal equipment,” said Dr. Timothy Sielaff, Allina Health’s chief medical office.
HealthPartners, meanwhile, has started to perform “time-sensitive” surgeries with guidance from state and federal regulators.
“Our clinicians are carefully reviewing each patient’s medical situation to make sure that procedures and surgeries continue as necessary for patient safety,” said Dr. Brian Rank, co-executive medical director of Health Partners.
For its part, M Health Fairview said its surgeons are “actively evaluating every individual patient’s medical needs while balancing the realities of this ongoing public health crisis.”
The discontinuation of elective procedures has hit the health care sector hard, with tens of thousands of workers laid off since the start of Covid-19 in the United States. Last month, Walz issued an executive order requiring hospitals to postpone all elective procedures.
Health care providers from the Minnesota Medical Association have asked Walz to alter the executive order so that some procedures can continue with proper protections.
“Our recommendations acknowledge the reality of Covid-19, while also recognizing that there are important health care services Minnesotans need that physicians are in the best position to help assess,” said MMA President Keith Stelter in a statement.