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Nebraska DHHS authorizes new directed health measure, suspends some services at Nebraska Medicine

Nebraska Medical Center NE Med Center Coronavirus Ebola
Posted at 1:25 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 14:25:44-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services issued a directed health measure order that will affect Nebraska Medicine.

The directed health measure is consistent with Nebraska Medicine's declaration of Crises Standards of Care on Thursday in terms of operations changes. This includes the suspension of pre-scheduled, non-emergency surgeries and other elective procedures.

"The objectives of this order are to reduce morbidity and mortality; ensure sufficient hospital capacity to meet public health needs; protect health care personnel and preserve health care system functioning," read an introductory paragraph of Directed Health Measure Order 2022-NM-001.

However, Nebraska Medicine wants people to communicate plans with their doctors who are working on a case-by-case assessment basis.

"Current operations are consistent with the directed health measure, so any necessary care will not be delayed," said Taylor Wilson, senior media relations coordinator for Nebraska Medicine, in an email. "Patients should continue to access care as they’ve planned unless they hear from their physician."

The Omaha hospital will be following the directed health measure beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and extending through Feb. 13.

"All inpatient and outpatient Class C, D & E surgeries must be postponed until further notice. For the purposes of this Order, this means surgery or procedure that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency. Surgeries or procedures that must be done to preserve the patient's life or physical health, but do not need to be performed immediately, are allowed on a case-by-case determination of the medical provider," specified the DHHS order.

Wilson further reiterated this point on Friday. "The actions we are taking ensure we are prioritizing care for patients with the most urgent medical needs. As outlined in the directed health measure, our medical providers will continue to make case-by-case determinations on surgeries and procedures that must be done to preserve the patient’s life or physical health."

Failure to comply with the order will result in legal action and enforcement by "civil and/or criminal remedies" including law enforcement as well as municipal and local public health department personnel to assist the DHHS in carrying out the order.

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