March 29, 2020
Today, the TMB updated its FAQs regarding non-urgent, elective surgeries and procedures originally issued following Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-09 ("GA-09"), which directs facilities and licensed healthcare professionals to postpone through April 21, 2020 all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who, without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure, would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.
The updated FAQs includes additional guidance to address any confusion resulting from Executive Order GA-09, the TMB emergency rules and the initial TMB FAQs. While the TMB cannot specifically tell physicians what to do, answer questions about whether or not to provide certain care, nor provide an exhaustive list of approved or prohibited surgeries/procedures, the TMB does provide the following 10 tips:
- GA 09 and the TMB rules allow providers to use their judgment in determining whether a surgery or procedure will prevent serious adverse medical consequences or death;
- If you normally could or would wait a few weeks to provide the surgery or procedure being considered for a specific patient based on the patient’s unique circumstances, then that might help you decide what to do;
- If you normally could not or would not wait a few weeks to provide the surgery or procedure being considered for a specific patient based on the patient’s unique circumstances, then that might help you decide what to do;
- If you do proceed with a surgery or procedure during this time, then be sure to clearly document why you made that decision;
- Referencing legitimate literature and guidelines, such as the CDC, CMS, or specialty guidelines will be very helpful;
- The TMB cannot put anyone in jail;
- The decision to hold a temporary suspension or restriction hearing will meet the same standard as before the COVID-19 disaster;
- The TMB understands the importance of having as many safe licensees available as possible during this time;
- The TMB Board Members include 12 physicians that also must navigate these times, the Executive Order, and the rules while providing safe patient care; and
- The TMB is and will continue to be understanding that these are unprecedented times.
The TMB also clarified that any surgeries or procedures that will not deplete hospital capacity or the supply of personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster are allowed to proceed.
To access the TMB FAQs related to elective surgeries and procedures performed in the State of Texas, please visit