States Lifting Bans on Elective Procedures [COVID-19]

Posted on: April 27, 2020

written by

Barton Team

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused certain states to ban hospitals and other medical facilities from performing elective procedures, we are now seeing some of these bans starting to lift.  Originally intended to help dedicate resources to fighting the virus, the bans will no longer be in effect in the following states. Read on for details:

Please note: This information was last updated on 6/17/2020. We are currently not updating this page. 


Beginning on April 30th, dental, medical, or surgical procedures may proceed unless the State Health Officer or his designee determines that performing such procedures would unacceptably reduce access to PPE or other resources necessary to diagnose and treat COVID-19.
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Alaska has taken a phased-approach to lifting the ban on elective surgeries and procedures, as follows:

  • Effective April 20th, health care facilities are able to resume low-risk, routine-type services that require minimal PPE by complying with specific requirements outlined in the mandate. Some examples of the procedures contemplated include: annual physical exams, prenatal appointments, and routine dental cleanings.
  • Effective May 4th, health care facilities are able to resume elective surgeries and procedures if delay is deemed to cause significant impact on health, livelihood, or quality of life AND the specific conditions outlined in the mandate are met (see link below at Section II for specific conditions). Some examples of the specific conditions include: (1) the facility has adequate PPE on hand and (2) capacity at the facility can accommodate both an increase in both COVID-19 hospitalizations and increased post-procedure hospitalizations. 

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Arizona's stay at home order has been extended to May 15th. 

However, beginning on May 1st, hospitals, dental offices, and other healthcare facilities are still permitted to resume elective surgeries and procedures if they can show they've implemented certain safety measures (see specific measures below). Prior to resuming elective surgeries, however, facilities will need to receive approval from the Department of Health Services.

  • Demonstrating greater than a 14 day supply of PPE;
  • Ensuring adequate staffing and beds;
  • Testing patients prior to surgery and all at-risk health care workers;
  • Ensuring appropriate discharge plans for patients being transferred to nursing care facilities, including diagnostic testing for COVID-19;
  • Implementing a universal symptom screening process for staff, patients, and visitors;
  • Establishing an enhanced cleaning process for waiting areas; and
  • Prioritizing the restart of elective surgeries based on urgency.

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Certain non-essential out-patient procedures are able to resume beginning on April 27th. In accordance with the Arkansas Department of Health's directive, elective procedures (including dental, eye, nasopharyngeal, chest surgery, and colonoscopy) shall be limited as follows:

  • Only outpatients with no plans for overnight stay.
  • An American Society of Anesthesiologists rating of I or II. If II-rating, their disease process should be well controlled.
  • No contact with known COVID-19 patients during the past 14 days.
  • Patients must be asymptomatic for COVID-19 per ADH guidelines.
  • Start with a small initial volume of cases and increase incrementally as PPE availability and number of statewide occurrences dictate.
  • Each institution must have an ample supply of PPE for resuming elective procedures while maintaining a reserve should there be a resurgence of the virus.
  • For an asymptomatic patient to be a candidate for a procedure, he/she must have at least one negative COVID-19 NAAT test within 48 hours prior to the beginning of the procedure.
  • Small rural hospitals under 60 beds and critical access hospitals are excluded from the requirements of the directive. 

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California's Governor Newsom announced on April 22nd during a press conference that restrictions on essential non-emergency surgeries (for example, tumors, heart valves, and chronic disease) are lifted and health care facilities are able to resume scheduling these procedures.

On April 26th, the California Department of Public Health issued an announcement regarding certain considerations and guidelines for resuming elective procedures. Some of the considerations include prevalence of COVID-19, PPE supply, others specific to the setting (e.g., outpatient, dental, skilled nursing facility, etc).

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Under an executive order from Gov. Jared Polis effective April 27, voluntary or elective medical and dental surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols. Facilities performing these procedures must develop a plan to reduce or stop voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures “if there is a surge” of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which they are located. The state’s health department will determine the conditions that constitute a surge. 

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On May 20, Nuvance Health hospitals and ambulatory care centers in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Sharon, Connecticut opened for elective surgeries and endoscopy procedures as the region observes a decrease in the rate of new COVID-19 infections and in accordance with Governor Ned Lamont’s executive order. One of Nuvance Health’s most notable safety measures is mandatory COVID-19 testing for patients scheduled for a surgical procedure.

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District of Columbia:

District of Columbia entered Phase 1 of Reopening on 5/31. The Mayor now allows for elective surgery and procedures to resume with rigorous safeguards to reduce risk for all.

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As of May 4th, Florida hospitals are allowed to resume doing elective surgeries and procedures.

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As of April 20th, elective surgeries and procedures are allowed to resume.

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While Governor Little announced a 4 stage plan to reopen Idaho, his original stay-at-home order did not prevent doctors and hospitals from performing nonessential surgeries and other procedures, but instead was a decision made by hospitals and medical clinics. It will be up to each health provider to decide when to resume offering those services. 

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Beginning on May 11th, hospitals may begin to perform non-essential procedures so long as certain specific criteria have been met.

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On April 21st, as part of a revised stay-at-home order, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb loosened restrictions on elective surgeries, stating that hospitals can conduct medically necessary procedures, including determining cancer diagnoses and cardiac issues, provided sufficient personal protective equipment, staff and other supplies are available for the COVID-19 response.

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Iowa’s ban on non-essential procedures and surgeries will be lifted for certain healthcare facilities effective as of April 27th at 5:00 am. Specifically, hospitals and outpatient surgery/procedure providers who meet the below requirements may conduct: (1) in-patient surgeries and procedures that, if further delayed, will pose a significant risk to quality of life and (2) any outpatient surgeries or procedures. 

  • A hospital or provider must have (a) adequate inventories of PPE and access to a reliable supply chain without relying on state or local government PPE stockpiles to support continued operations and respond to an unexpected surge in a timely manner and (b) a plan to conserve PPE consistent with guidance from the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health;
  • A hospital or provider must have a plan for timely COVID-19 testing of symptomatic patients and staff to rapidly mitigate potential clusters of infection and as otherwise clinically indicated. Providers must comply with any relevant guidance related to testing requirements for patients and staff issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the CDC, or a provider’s professional specialty society. For scheduled surgeries patients should have a negative COVID-19 test performed within 48 hours of surgery date. If a COVID-19 test is not available, a hospital or provider should consider alternative methods to determine the patient’s probability of COVID-19. If the patient has symptoms of fever, cough, or low oxygen saturation, then postponing the surgery is recommended. 
  • A hospital must continue to accept and treat COVID-19 patients and must not transfer COVID-19 patients to create capacity for elective procedures.
  • A hospital must reserve at least 30% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 30% of medical/surgical beds for COVID-19 patients.

Aside from the above, the remainder of the original proclamation banning non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures as well as elective dental procedures will expire on April 30th. Accordingly, unless the original proclamation is extended again or a new one is issued, all elective surgeries and procedures and all elective dental procedures are able to resume beginning on May 1st. 

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Kansas does not yet appear to have issued an order regarding elective procedures. Decisions on whether or not to reopen will be left up to individual facilities. More Information


Beginning on April 27th, health care practitioners can resume non-urgent/emergent health care services, diagnostic radiology and lab services in: (1) hospital outpatient setting, (2) health care clinics and medical offices, (3) physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices, and optometrists, and (4) dental offices with enhanced aerosol protections. This is considered phase 1 of Kentucky's health care services reopening. Elective surgeries and procedures will be addressed at a subsequent phase. 

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Beginning on April 27th, certain medical, surgical, and dental procedures will be permitted to resume under specific conditions. This includes medical, surgical, and dental procedures for treatment of emergency medical conditions, to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease, or for treatment of time-sensitive medical conditions. More information 

On May 14, Gov. Edwards formally declared that Louisiana will enter into Phase One of its Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana on Friday, May 15. The Stay at Home order will be lifted and more businesses will be allowed to open with strict social distancing, enhanced sanitation and required masks for employees helping the public. It is still unclear how Phase One impacts elective procedures.


Elective procedures can resume starting May 1st, but you must meet certain requirements. Criteria is based on need.

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Gov. Hogan said elective medical procedures, including dentistry, that have been on hold for weeks will be allowed beginning Thursday. (May 7) 

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On June 6, the Commonwealth issued new guidelines allowing health care providers at the start of Phase 2 to incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits, and vision care, subject to ongoing compliance with public health and safety standards. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may resume, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs, which will be a part of Phase 3.

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Starting May 29, Ascension Michigan is planning to resume elective surgical procedures and other vital healthcare services at its sites of care using a phased and thoughtful approach with a focus on health and safety in alignment with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order.

Ascension Michigan hospitals and outpatient facilities will begin scheduled surgeries and procedures, prioritizing those that are most urgent, while simultaneously ensuring continued capability and safety to provide care for patients with COVID-19.

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On Tuesday , May 5 Gov. Walz lifted a suspension of elective surgeries. He ordered that hospitals, surgery centers and clinics — including dental and veterinary clinics — could resume elective procedures the following week if they put social distancing plans in place to protect workers and patients.

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Gov. Reeves issued an order that requires all licensed health care professionals and health care facilities to immediately delay “all non-essential adult elective surgeries and medical procedures” until April 27, 2020.

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All counties but Hall, Merrick, Hamilton and Dakota will enter Phase 3 of the state's reopening on 6/22. Elective surgeries will no longer be restricted at all.

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    Nevada hospitals will begin to schedule medically necessary outpatient and low acuity inpatient surgeries as of May 4. Nevada hospitals will provide medically necessary procedures based on an established plan to safely phase-in procedures based on:

    • Clinical judgement
    • Established guidelines
    • Sufficient availability of personal protective equipment
    • Flexible policies permitting immediate response to any COVID-19 surge
    • Alignment with established guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and other regulatory agencies.

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    New Hampshire

    The reopening plan released Friday (5/1), which Sununu dubbed “Stay At Home 2.0,” allows health care facilities to begin resuming elective and other time-sensitive procedures on May 4. Employees and patients will be screened for coronavirus symptoms before being allowed to enter any facility, and all providers are asked to monitor their levels of PPE to ensure adequate supplies. 

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    New Jersey

    Beginning at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the suspension on elective surgeries and invasive procedures
    instituted in Executive Order No. 109 (2020) is rescinded. New Jersey health officials are expected to provide additional information, including which medical facilities are eligible, what procedures must be prioritized and additional protocols for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

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    New Mexico:

    On 5/21, the New Mexico Medical Advisory Team revised their guidelines for reopening medical offices.

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    New York:

    Update: On Tuesday May 19th, Nassau County is allowed to restart elective surgeries and return to the ambulatory care of patients other than those with COVID-19 and Suffolk County has already been authorized to perform such elective procedures.

    Hospitals in certain counties in New York can resume performing elective outpatient treatments beginning on April 28, 2020. ( so long as the hospital capacity is over 25 percent for the county and there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days) 

    There are some additional conditions, as follows:

    • If a hospital is located in a county eligible to resume elective outpatient treatments, but that hospital has a capacity under 25 percent or has had more than 10 new hospitalizations in the past 10 days, that hospital is not eligible to resume elective surgeries.
    • If a county or hospital that has resumed elective surgery experiences a decrease in hospital capacity below the 25 percent threshold or an increase of 10 or more new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, elective surgeries must cease.
    • Patients must test negative for COVID-19 prior to any elective outpatient treatment.  
    • Restrictions on elective surgery will remain in place in Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Clinton, Yates, Westchester, Albany, Richmond, Schuyler, Kings, Suffolk, New York, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster, Erie, Orange and Rensselaer Counties.

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    North Carolina:

    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a letter on March 20, 2020, requesting that effective March 23, 2020, all hospitals and ASCs suspend all elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures. These are defined as “any procedure or surgery that if not done within the next four weeks would cause harm to the patient.” The letter also notes that hospitals and ASCs, starting on March 20, 2020, should institute an explicit, real-time review of all non-time-sensitive surgeries and procedure.

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    North Dakota:

    North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said he doesn’t plan to stop elective procedures because he wants the decision to be made by local providers.

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    As per the Governor’s announcement on April 27, 2020, dental offices are permitted to open on May 1, 2020 to provide dental services. Dental healthcare providers are advised to exercise the utmost caution and strictly adhere to infection control protocols and guidelines from the CDC to maintain a safe environment and to minimize patient-to-patient contact. 

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    As of April 24th, Governor Kevin Stitt will allow any procedure for conditions that are not life-threatening — and which would have the potential for increasing disease or death if not provided — to be performed.

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    Elective surgeries and procedures are allowed to resume beginning on May 1st as long as certain criteria are met. There are two separate "frameworks" that outline the specific criteria for hospital and ambulatory surgical centers on the one hand and medical and dental offices on the other.

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    Beginning on April 27th, ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs) may begin performing elective surgeries and procedures if the ASF makes an affirmative decision that it is able to do so without jeopardizing the safety of patients and staff or the ASF's ability to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

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    Rhode Island

    Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced Monday 4/27 that all Rhode Island hospitals have submitted plans on how they will safely resume non-critical procedures and surgeries. In her briefing, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced it was time for Rhode Island hospitals “to get back into the business” of performing some non-critical surgeries (read more)

    On May 11th, following a decline in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections, the Lifespan hospital group on Monday announced plans to lift restrictions on scheduling elective surgical procedures that were halted because of the coronavirus outbreak in Rhode Island. 

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    South Carolina

    Gov. Henry McMaster's spokesman, Brian Symmes, said Thursday morning that the Republican governor is working with the South Carolina Hospital Association to "determine when and how hospitals can gradually resume elective surgeries while keeping South Carolinians safe." (Apr 17th). This comes after House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford of Columbia called for hospitals to resume elective procedures. According to DHEC, more than 5,000 hospital beds are currently available in South Carolina. However, the bed-utilization rate has crept up from 50.7% to 54.7% in just three days. 

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    South Dakota

    South Dakota does not have a stay-at-home order. Some elective procedures occurred through March and April, and on May 31st healthcare providers will be allowed to begin performing all nonessential, elective surgeries, which they have been asked to postpone to preserve personal protective equipment.

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    Tennessee resumed elective procedures in phases starting Friday, May 1. This comes as hospitals have been conserving resources during the COVID-19 pandemic to address a potential surge in patients.

    Dr. Wendy Long with the Tennessee Hospitals Association called bringing back elective surgeries a "cautious return." The association worked with the state's Unified Command on the future return of elective surgeries to make sure hospitals are methodical about prioritizing their resources.

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    Beginning on May 1, the only COVID-specific limitations on practicing medicine/dentistry include:  

    (1) All licensed health care professionals shall be limited by and must comply with any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster; and

    (2) All hospitals licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health and Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

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    On April 21, the executive director of the Utah Department of Health issued a state public health order, which allows some elective medical procedures to resume. Each hospital and surgery center in Utah must follow the protocols developed by the Utah Hospital Association

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    Outpatient clinic visits and diagnostic imaging can resume immediately, allowing providers to demonstrate they are adhering to physical distancing and other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around infection control and prevention. Providers may also begin to perform outpatient surgeries and procedures that have a minimal impact on inpatient hospital bed capacity and personal protective equipment levels. According to Scott, providers should adhere to the same mitigation requirements for outpatient clinic visits and diagnostic imaging.

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    Elective surgeries are allowed to resume as of May 1st.

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    Under the governor’s new guidelines:

    ▪ Procedures can be performed if delaying them would worsen a life-threatening or debilitating prognosis.

    ▪ Doctors can determine the need for elective procedures as long as they prioritize harm to patients.

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