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The MOA has been working diligently to educate and inform the Governor and other Government officials of the importance of safe orthopaedic care for patients during the pandemic.  Recently, MOA President, Walter Stanwood, MD, wrote to the Governor on behalf of the orthopaedic community and their patients requesting reconsideration of the two month postponement of surgical care, to allow for safe surgical treatment in accordance with CDC guidelines. 

We are encouraged by today’s announcement by Governor Baker that beginning on May 25, 2020, health care providers that have met public health and safety standards may begin certain procedures and services.  “Orthopaedic procedures for significant functional impairment” may proceed as long as all public health and safety standard are met and documented and attestation form is completed and kept on file.  

Examples of Services That Can be Delivered In-Person in Phase 1

Examples below are illustrative only and not comprehensive. Providers should use their clinical judgment in determining which services are appropriate for patients consistent with the criteria.

  • Medical procedures that if deferred lead to substantial worsening of disease, e.g., excision of malignant skin lesions, orthopedic procedures for significant functional impairment

Those surgeons that have met the Public Health and Safety Standards as described in in the Reopen Approach for Health Care Providers document by DPH (attached or click link https://www.mass.gov/lists/reopening-health-and-human-services-in-massachusetts#reopening-guidance-) will be eligible to move into Phase 1: Start if the statewide capacity criteria continue to be met. 

CRITICAL FOR EVERY OFFICE TO:

  • Identify Urgent Patients & Surgical Care Based on Clinical Determination.
  • Complete Reopen Attestation Form as Required by DPH. 
    • The Form can be completed for the entire practice, provided the individual designated the compliance lead is able and appropriate to monitor compliance across the practice (this could look different for different providers based on your structure).  
    • The same applies to a group of practices – if multiple sites included, the compliance lead needs to be able to monitor compliance across the settings.  DPH requests each site keep a copy of the signed attestation on site, but they each need not complete their own. 
  • Ensure All Required Public Health & Safety Standards are in Place:
    • Workforce Safety
    • Patient Safety
    • Infection Control
  • Designate a Compliance Leader
  • Develop & Maintain Written Policies and Protocols
  • Identify Urgent Patients & Surgical Care Based on Clinical Determination.

DPH strongly suggests that, “As health care providers begin planning to provide deferred or delayed care, they should develop a strategy to identify the patients and services that, based on the clinical determination of the provider, are most urgent. Such strategy should incorporate considerations such as chronic illness, disability, or risk factors related to the social determinants of health, without regard for a patient’s insurance type.”

  • Complete Reopen Attestation Form as Required by DPH.

Prior to May 25th, all orthopaedic surgeons are required to complete the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Health Care Provider Phase 1 Reopen Attestation form (attached or click link above).  The completed form must be kept on file for inspection by DPH upon request. 

  • Ensure All Required Public Health & Safety Standards are in Place:

In order to provide the services outlined in Section III of the Reopen Approach for Health Care Providers document by DPH in Phase 1: Start, health care providers must meet specific criteria related as detailed on pp. 4-6:
a) personal protective equipment (PPE); 
b) workforce safety; 
c) patient safety; and
d) infection control. 

  • Develop & Maintain Written Policies and Protocols and Designate a Compliance Leader

Each health care provider must develop written policies and procedures that meet or exceed the requirements found in Section IV or incorporate the requirements of the Section into its existing policies and protocols. Health care providers must designate a compliance leader at the highest level of the organization to ensure compliance with the clinical and safety standards outlined in this guidance. 

As we all work to provide safe orthopaedic surgical care and treatment, the MOA will continue to provide helpful information and timely updates on the reopening phases and how they impact the orthopaedic community and patients.  

If you have any questions you would like to submit or any areas we can be of assistance, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 860-690-1146.  We will work to find the best resource to help answer your questions and address your concerns. 

Thank you and best wishes for continued good health.



Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association, Inc. • 860-690-1146 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.