Added to the IOA site 3/25/2020 3:00 PM

The IOA recommends that Doctors of Optometry follow both the CDC and IDPH guidelines. We must emphasize the importance of being available to your patience that need urgent or essential care. This will be a benefit to our local hospital emergency rooms, who in the coming days or weeks may not be in a position to treat eye health emergencies. Ultimately, it is up to you, the practitioner to decide what the best practices are for you and your practice.  The CDC and IDPH have not mandated that practices close, they are asking Optometrists and other health care professionals to follow their guidelines and recommendations. Notwithstanding this guidance, please be cognizant of the statutory provisions of abandoning a patient.

The CDC has recommended that routine eyecare visits be postponed and prioritize urgent and emergency visits. Healthcare facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. The following actions can preserve staff, personal protective equipment, and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Delay all elective ambulatory provider visits
  • Reschedule elective and non-urgent admissions
  • Delay inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases
  • Postpone routine dental and eyecare visits

The Illinois Department of Public Health has also recommended guidance for cancelling ALL elective surgeries and procedures to immediately decompress the healthcare system during the COVID-19 response that are considered non-emergent or elective. "Elective" is defined as those procedures that are pre-planned by both the patient and the physician that are advantageous to the patient but are NOT urgent or emergent. Physicians should use their medical judgement to determine the need for surgery. This will prevent unnecessary procedures from occurring and potentially exposing others. During events such as a Pandemic, the healthcare system can easily and quickly become overwhelmed. Healthcare staff can be reallocated elsewhere to care for the ill during a medical surge. Accommodations should be made for the need to continue performing emergent procedures.  Considerations should also be made to reallocate healthcare workers, space, and supplies to accommodate a surge of patients seeking care for COVID-19. 

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