Rebuilding Your Practice

AAO-HNS COVID-19 ResourcesGuidance for Return to Practice for Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

As the United States transitions back toward more widespread delivery of healthcare and otolaryngologists expand their practice to include non-emergent and time-sensitive patients, they are seeking consistent guidance and principles to reinstitute diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, with the collaboration of the otolaryngology specialty societies, has developed recommendations for a safe return to practice that are being presented in two parts.

These will be “living documents” that will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available and thusly the information contained herein is subject to change on an ongoing basis.


Updated April 14, 2021

Part One: Contains comprehensive general considerations that are applicable to all practice settings and specialty areas of otolaryngologists’ practice, including testing guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Part Two: Contains specific recommendations encompassing prioritization and special circumstances related to surgical procedures for all specialty areas.

“These documents were prepared by the AAO-HNS Future of Otolaryngology Task Force* with input from the Infectious Disease and Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committees. The AAO-HNS approached the specialty societies within otolaryngology to set up a collaborative process to produce guidance for otolaryngologists that would be consistent, practical, and implementable at the appropriate time, based on local conditions and regulatory guidance. The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), American Broncho-Esophagological Association (ABEA), American Laryngological Association (ALA), American Neurotology Society (ANS), American Otological Society (AOS), American Rhinologic Society (ARS), American Head and Neck Society (AHNS), American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO), and the International Surgical Sleep Society (ISSS) worked with the corresponding AAO-HNS Committee to submit recommendations from their respective areas of expertise. We are extremely grateful for the quick response and true collaborative spirit exhibited during this process. This is a perfect example of how a “We Are One” mentality can succeed and benefit the entire specialty. We will continue to provide you the resources you need for you, your practice, and your patients.”

James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO

*Future of Otolaryngology Task Force:
Gavin Setzen, MD (Chair); Samantha Anne, MD; Eugene G. Brown III, MD; James C. Denneny III, MD; Marc G. Dubin, MD; Stacey L. Ishman, MD, MPH; Ronald B. Kuppersmith, MD, MBA; Richard V. Smith, MD

James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HSN/F Executive Vice President and CEO, is joined by Gavin Setzen, MD, AAO-HNS/F Past President, Chair, AAO-HNS Future of Otolaryngology Task Force, and partner at Albany ENT & Allergy Services; Ronald B. Kuppersmith, MD, MBA, AAO-HNS/F Past President, partner at Texas ENT and Allergy, and Professor of Surgery at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine; Stacey L. Ishman, MD, MPH, Surgical Director for the Upper Airway Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; and Marc G. Dubin, MD, Chair of the Board of Managers of the Centers for Advanced ENT Care in Baltimore, MD, for a discussion on guidance for the return to practice for otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

Gavin Setzen, MD, AAO-HNS/F Past President, Chair, AAO-HNS Future of Otolaryngology Task Force and partner at Albany ENT and Allergy Services is joined by Albert L. Merati, MD, AAO-HNS/F Past President and Chief of Laryngology at UW Medicine’s Head and Neck Surgery Center; Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, AAO-HNS/F Past President, and partner at ENT and Allergy Associates in New York, and Associate Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Cherie-Ann Nathan, MD, President of the American Head and Neck Society and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at LSU Health in Shreveport, LA; Joseph K. Han, MD, President-Elect of the American Rhinologic Society and Medical Director for the Division of Allergy at Eastern Virginia Medical School; and Margo K. McKenna, MD, Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital, to discuss the release of Part 2 of the Academy’s Guidance for Return to Practice document developed in collaboration with our subspecialty society partners.

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