Trump administration advises delaying all 'nonessential' medical procedures

Trump administration advises delaying all 'nonessential' medical procedures
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The Trump administration is looking to ramp up the availability of medical professionals and medical supplies to treat the novel coronavirus.

Officials on Wednesday urged Americans and health care providers to delay elective procedures across the country to ensure medical supplies go where they are most needed.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said her agency will release guidance recommending providers limit all "nonessential" elective medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures.

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"We believe that these recommendations will help surgeons, patients and hospitals prioritize what is essential, while leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of state and local health officials and those clinicians who have direct responsibility to their patients," Verma said during a White House coronavirus task force briefing.

Health officials across the country have expressed concern that without action, the coronavirus could overwhelm the nation's health system, similar to what is happening in Italy.

Some states and cities reported that their hospitals and nursing homes don't have enough of the critical gear to protect doctors, nurses and other front line health providers from the coronavirus.   

Verma said the recommendations "will not only preserve equipment but it also allows doctors and nurses to help those that are on the front lines, and it will protect patients from necessary exposure to the virus."

In addition, Vice President Pence said the Department of Health and Human Services will issue a guidance to allow all doctors and medical professionals to practice across state lines.