The Trump administration cleared the way Monday to immediately use outpatient surgery centers, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, hotels and even dormitories as makeshift hospitals, health care centers or quarantine sites during the coronavirus crisis.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it is temporarily waiving a range of rules, thereby allowing doctors to care for more patients.
Hospitals and health systems overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients will be able to transfer people with other medical needs to the nation’s 5,000 outpatient surgery centers, about half of which are affiliated with hospitals. This will give the country thousands of additional hospital beds and operating rooms, some of which have ventilators or anesthesia gas machines that could be repurposed as ventilators.
Outpatient surgery centers will be allowed to treat patients with other critical needs — such as serious injuries, cancer or heart attacks — unrelated to COVID-19, allowing hospitals to conserve scarce resources