New Jersey tweaks COVID-19 testing rules for ASCs — 4 things to know

New Jersey's health department modified COVID-19 testing rules for ASCs resuming elective surgeries and invasive diagnostic procedures, according to Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti.

Four key updates:

1. The modified guidance still requires all ASC patients to be tested for COVID-19 within six days of surgery, but a procedure can now move forward under certain conditions if the patient's test result hasn't come back negative by day six.

2. In the absence of a COVID-19 test result, physicians must evaluate the risk involved if the patient being operated on does indeed have COVID-19. The reasoning behind proceeding without a test result must be noted in the medical record, along with testimony that further delay will endanger the patient's health.

3. Only molecular tests that detect the genetic material of the virus may be used to screen patients for COVID-19. Antigen tests, which detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus, are not acceptable under the new guidance. All tests used must either be FDA-approved, FDA-authorized through an emergency use authorization and/or approved by the New Jersey Clinical Laboratory Improvement Services.

4. Except in urgent cases, ASCs may not operate on patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

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