The American Society of General Surgeon’s (ASGS) dedicated to achieving the political, economic, and educational changes that benefit the welfare of General Surgeons and their patients. Therefore, ASGS’s guidance is for our members to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines pertaining to COVID-19. As of this date, the CDC guidelines include rescheduling elective surgeries, as necessary, at inpatient facilities and rescheduling non-urgent outpatient visits, as necessary. The term “outpatient visits” includes surgeries and procedures. Additional supporting guidelines are in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines. Those guidelines, as of this date, propose a tiered framework based on the urgency of the procedure. ASGS agrees with the intent and interpretation of the CDC and CMS guidelines which is for licensees to postpone all non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures in inpatient and outpatient settings to help limit the spread of COVID-19 until the CDC guidelines change.
The ASGS understands and appreciates the guidance by CMS, however, we urge states and institutions to allow decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis based upon knowledge and understanding of the condition and the individual patient, through a defined shared-decision making process at each institution that allows input from the surgeon on the final decision.