Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 109 on Monday, directing the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that are scheduled to take place after 5:00 p.m. on March 27.
The order applies to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist.
“Our new reality calls for aggressive action to reduce the burden on our health care system and protect our frontline medical responders,” said Murphy. “Given the dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment we face, it’s imperative that we work with our partners in health care to strategically preserve supplies and equipment for emergency purposes only.”
In addition to the suspension the order also requires the following:
- Protecting the capacity of hospitals: Physicians and dentists, who are planning to perform surgery or invasive procedures in their offices, must consider the potential burden of post-surgery complications on local hospitals prior to performing any operation.
- Explicit exemption for family planning and termination of pregnancies: The order provides that it shall not be interpreted in any way to limit access to family planning services, including termination of pregnancies.
- Inventory of personal protective equipment to be taken: Any business, non-hospital health care facility, or institution of higher learning in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines not required for the provision of critical health care services shall undertake an inventory of these supplies and send that information to the state by 5:00 pm on March 27. The Office of Emergency Management shall establish a process for affected entities to submit this information.
The order requires facilities to immediately notify patients whose operations have to be suspended.