Medical Coalition Advocates for Converting Operating Rooms to ICUs Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 26, 2020 at 02:25 am by pj


Operating Room Anesthesia Machines to be Adapted as Ventilators


COVIDvent, a Nationwide coalition of anesthesiologists, healthcare providers, and others working to save lives duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, is advocating for all hospitals and surgery centers across the country to immediately transform every available operating room into intensive care units to prepare for the onslaught of COVID-19 patients that will inevitably cripple the country’s healthcare system.


This coalition, led by anesthesiologist and clinical assistant professor at Stanford School of Medicine Adam Schlifke, MD, MBA, was formed under COVIDvent and is dedicated to advocating for this transformation of our healthcare facilities to ensure medical professionals have enough ventilators to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Currently, hospitals do not have enough ventilators to address the crush of patients who will be in need of these life-saving devices. 


COVIDvent has identified a solution and guidelines to help offset this crisis: Cease all non-essential surgeries and procedures and convert all hospitals operating rooms and ambulatory surgery centers into intensive care units for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing health care workers with the equipment, supplies, and ventilators essential to save lives. 


The group has crowdsourced the development of an operational blueprint for healthcare administrators and medical staff to rapidly transform operating rooms and surgery centers into ICUs. The guidelines are available on the COVIDvent website.


Valuable resources are being wasted that will be in short supply in the coming weeks. However, according to Dr. Mary Peterson, President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, there are 70,000 ventilators that can be retrofitted to accommodate the additional required COVID-19 intensive care units. 


“We have no time to waste and must act now,” said Dr. Adam Schlifke. “Healthcare decision-makers across the nation need to immediately repurpose every available resource to fight this pandemic, and operating rooms are a great solution. Much of the equipment needed for patient treatment are already in place.”


Although a handful of leading institutions and several states have ceased performing non-essential surgeries and procedures, COVIDvent is urging all states to comply immediately.


As an enforcing measure, COVIDvent is advocating for the temporary halt of all Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payments for non-essential procedures and redirecting CMS finances to redeploy the resources to ambulatory surgery centers for critical care purposes. 


These measures need to be put in place immediately to ensure hospitals and medical centers are as prepared as possible. COVIDvent is relying on medical professionals, hospital administrators, and legislators at the state and federal levels to implement this change. 


About COVIDvent

COVIDvent is a nationwide coalition of anesthesiologists, health care providers, and others working to save lives by facilitating the conversion of pre-op, IR, EP, Cath Lab, Neuro IR, and Surgery Centers to ICUs for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about this initiative, visit