Elective Surgical and Procedural
Services Recapture

Considerations for Bringing Your Patients Back Safely and Efficiently

Hospitals across the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic quickly, efficiently and selflessly. To prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients, most organizations suspended virtually all elective procedures in mid-March with a twofold purpose: to stop the spread of the virus to patients and staff, and to conserve critically important personal protective equipment (PPE), intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators. This necessary action resulted in a backlog of patients awaiting “elective,” but not “optional” procedures. In addition, many of the nation’s hospitals, whose operating margin is directly dependent on their surgical volume, found themselves in a significant financial downturn that continues to worsen every day. As communities across the United States begin their recovery, health systems must consider the following 10 actions to bring elective procedures back in a way that prioritizes safety of the patients and hospital staff.

1. Track current federal, state, and local government directives and guidelines issued by professional societies daily:

2. Establish clear guidelines for ICU bed allocation based on the following considerations:

3. Establish and continuously assure par levels of PPE to prepare for potential COVID-19 waves:

4. Implement a plan to pursue system-wide testing capabilities and set testing guidelines for patients and staff to allow elective cases to be posted. Implement guidelines for testing based on the following considerations:

5. Institute an interdisciplinary Surgical and Procedural Recapture Task Force to oversee and triage all elective procedures:

6. Realign clinical and non-clinical staff to support all procedural areas including protocols for:

7. Prioritize reopening standalone ambulatory surgery centers or well-separated hospital outpatient department (HOPD) operating rooms to hospital's main operating rooms based on the following considerations:

8. Leverage telehealth to advance pre-operative and post-operative care rapidly:

9. Implement a focused patient outreach and engagement program to:

10. Implement focused interdisciplinary programs to support:

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. healthcare organizations are facing an unprecedented dilemma in that many will emerge severely damaged economically while also needing to position themselves as leaders in their communities. To respond to the clinical needs of patients and consumers, healthcare organizations must accelerate welcoming back patients in need of elective procedures. However, they must do so in a way that acknowledges patients’ fear of COVID-19 exposure, produces a system of care focused on patients’ needs and safety, respects joint decision making (especially in situations where testing may not be readily available), creates diligent readiness for the likely unavoidable waves and overall considers this challenging time a unique opportunity to transform the clinical care delivery model.


Mark Krivopal, MD
[email protected]

Bonny Chattopadhyay
Engagement Manager
[email protected]