Minnesota Report

Here is information on the release for restart of elective surgeries.

Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-51, providing a roadmap for safely restarting elective surgeries. Starting next week, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians who create a plan to keep patients and healthcare professionals safe may begin offering these procedures, which can treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease, and relieve chronic pain

Executive Order 20-51 will allow hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics – whether veterinary, medical, or dental – to resume many currently-delayed procedures once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors.

“Minnesota has made significant progress in building up critical resources to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “We’re proud that this progress will allow our medical professionals to safely resume certain procedures to keep Minnesotans healthy and improve their quality of life.”

“We remain committed to preserving and acquiring protective equipment to protect our front-line employees from COVID-19,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “But health conditions haven’t been put on hold during this pandemic. This action will help Minnesotans get care for chronic pain, treat and prevent disease, and address their health concerns.”

Executive Orders 20-09 and 20-17 delayed non-essential and elective surgeries, consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing health care facilities to preserve resources and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Since these Executive Orders were issued, Minnesota has made and continues to make significant headway in securing additional personal protective equipment and improving testing and hospital surge capacity.

Although postponement of non-essential or elective procedures has proven to be an effective means of preserving essential healthcare resources for the COVID-19 response, Minnesota Department of Health guidance recognizes that extended delays in the provision of certain care may pose substantial risks to patients. Non-essential or elective procedures are often clinically necessary to treat chronic pain and conditions, or to prevent, cure, or slow the progression of diseases.

This Executive Order is effective immediately upon approval by the Minnesota Executive Council.

The Republican response came from Senate Deputy Majority leader Michelle Benson (R-31, Ham Lake), highlighting the letter sent to Walz on this matter last week.

“The governor’s order offers a ray of light to the people who have been waiting for necessary medical care,” said Senator Benson. “Countless hospital staff have been furloughed, leaving our healthcare system vulnerable, hundreds of citizens without work, and many care centers at risk of permanent closure. The first two weeks of the order were necessary for pandemic preparation – stocking up on PPE and increasing ICU bed capacity. We reached those milestones quickly, but restrictions on elective care continued, causing immense damage. I am pleased that Minnesotans can finally look forward to getting their physical pain and worry relieved, and healthcare professionals can return to their vocations.”