Ricketts says Nebraska Medicine shouldn't perform non-emergency surgeries


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said on Friday that the state has issued a new health measure suspending some categories of inpatient and outpatient surgeries at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

OMAHA -- Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday said the state has issued a new health measure suspending some inpatient and outpatient surgeries at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha a day after Nebraska Medicine began operating under its crisis plan. 

The directed health measure suspends what are known as Class C, D and E inpatient and outpatient surgeries at the medical center effective 5 p.m. Friday. The measure is expected to remain in place through Feb. 13.

Nebraska Medicine officials said Thursday that they were activating the crisis plan, known as crisis standards of care, for the first time in the health system's history in the face of a growing demand for health care and a shortage of staff to provide it. 

"Hospitals that decide to operate under a crisis standard of care should not be performing non-emergency surgeries," Ricketts said in a statement. "Today's DHM makes sure the Nebraska Medical Center remains focused on prioritizing care for patients with the most urgent medical needs."

The health measure cites state law and administrative code as giving the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services the authority to order health measures to prevent the spread of communicable disease and illness.

The measure says that the state health department finds that the "current hospital capacity and health care resources at the Nebraska Medical Center are reaching near capacity as noted in the activation of the NMC Crisis Standards of Care plan, and that the immediate implementation of the following Directed Health Measure is necessary to preserve sufficient hospital capacity and health care resources to ensure public health needs can be met."