Federal Lawsuit Could Put Michigan Elective Surgery Medical Practices Back in Business After COVID-19 Shutdown

If you’re a Michigan-based physician for a small- to medium-sized health care clinic that provides elective surgery, you’ve probably suffered a dearth of business because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A newly filed federal lawsuit wants to change that, saying that Whitmer’s March 10, 2020, emergency declaration is unconstitutional — and that patients’ lives are at stake because it.

This is a case we at Chapman Law Group are watching very closely, as this will affect how and when several of our clients — licensed health care professionals who perform elective surgery, such as physicians, pain care specialists, cosmetologists and weight-loss clinicians — are to be able to proceed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Whitmer’s ‘Unconstitutionally Vague’ Orders a ‘Time Bomb’ for Elective Surgery Patients

As background, Whitmer’s March 10, 2020, state of emergency declaration effectively shut down health care facilities offering procedures that are considered “non-essential.”

But according to the lawsuit — filed May 12, 2020, by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation on behalf of four Western Michigan medical providers and a man who was scheduled for a March 20 knee surgery until Whitmer’s order put a halt to it — the executive orders “are unconstitutionally vague; they violate procedural and substantive due process; and they violate the dormant commerce clause.”

Further, patients are in “agonizing pain” or have been forced to wait too long for care, to the point where their condition “has progressed far beyond a state in which it would have been easily treatable. … For example, patients are obtaining surgery only after their gallbladder is gangrenous or their appendix is ruptured, instead of obtaining care when their condition was in a much less severe state.”

Dr. Randal Baker of Grand Rapids-based Grand Health Partners, which is one of the plaintiffs, told The Washington Times that the elective-procedure ban, and its resulting backlog of surgeries, “is now a time bomb.”

In addition, per the complaint, “medical providers are on the brink of financial ruin, facing extreme revenue shortages caused by the Governor’s order forcing the postponement or cancellation of so-called ‘non-essential’ procedures. Thousands of healthcare workers across Michigan have been furloughed or laid off.”

The plaintiffs seek preliminary and permanent injunction of Whitmer’s executive order, allowing these medical centers to continue their normal business operations.

Put Your Elective Surgery Practice in the Right Hands: Ours

The Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly created a maelstrom for health care practices in terms of staying within the law and in compliance — especially when many rules and regulations have been altered over the course of it.

As attorneys who focus solely on the health care profession, we at Chapman Law Group are here to advise and guide you and your clinic, medical center or specialty practice throughout COVID-19 — whether it’s for regulatory compliance, health care fraud accusations or licensing issues.

And if this lawsuit comes to pass, we are here to help your health care practice, if it was limited or fully shut down, with what you need to know about staying within the law. You have enough to be concerned with for your patients who may have waited longer than they should have for their needed medical care or elective surgery; we will give you the support you need for keeping in compliance when you’re doing so.

Contact us today for the trusted guidance you need.

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