Lawmakers and officials look toward allowing elective surgeries again

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As some hospitals around the country see fewer coronavirus patients, hospitals and doctors hope to get back into the business of elective procedures.

“Performing these elective procedures, including surgeries, is a big source of revenue for hospitals,” Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey said.

Toomey says a majority of hospitals in his state are losing money because they — rightly — have had to focus on the pandemic.

“Now that it’s clear that we’re past the peak, we need to begin to allow these hospitals to resume business,” Toomey said.

It’s a move that White House task force member Seema Verma supports.

“We want to make sure that systems are reopening so that they can stay open and (are) doing that in a very measured way,” Verma said.

But Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey says we should take one step at a time.

“We have to spend a lot more federal dollars on personal protective equipment,” Casey said.

Casey is one of a group of lawmakers who say opening for business too soon, especially in hospitals, could unleash the virus again.

“So, [in] the near term, we have to spend dollars very fast and order supplies wherever they are in the world. That’s got to be priority number one,” Casey said.

“This isn’t going to be like a light switch, it’s more like a sunrise where it’s going to be a gradual process,” Verma said.

Verma says each hospital will have to assess what’s right for its community.

“And healthcare officials across the country and healthcare systems need to decide what services should be made available,” Verma said.

The Trump administration says its top priority for the country is to make a safe shift back to normalcy.

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