The Trump administration Tuesday, June, 9, 2020 issued new guidelines for health facilities to … [+]
The Trump administration Tuesday issued guidelines for healthcare facilities on how to re-open to serve patients in “states and regions with no evidence of a rebound” of the coronavirus strain Covid-19.
In areas of the U.S. considered “phase 2,” new recommendations were issued to “provide guidance to health systems and patients as COVID-19 cases decline,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The recommendations included warnings that facilities provide areas “newly created” that should designate separate buildings, rooms or floors for Covid-19 patients “with a separate entrance and minimal crossover with COVID-19 care.”
The guidelines didn’t say what areas of the country have “no evidence of a rebound” or whether any states or regions were on the verge of achieving any of the measures provided in the guidelines.
For the most part, the Trump administration is urging health systems to proceed with caution while urging Americans to continue to use telehealth services when they are available with officials continuing to recommend the need to minimize the need for in-person services.”
Hospitals, surgery centers and other facilities for most of March and into April and May put scores of so-called “elective procedures” on hold or cancelled them altogether to free up capacity for Covid-19 patients. Public health experts worried that the healthcare system would be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients if elective procedures were allowed to continue.
Increasingly, however, states and local governments are easing shelter-in-place orders and allowing some businesses to re-open. CMS, which regulates most healthcare facilities that received reimbursement for elderly Medicare patients and millions of poor and low income Americans covered by Medicaid, said all individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness “should continue to shelter in place unless their conditions warrant in-person healthcare,” the guidance said.
Meanwhile, healthcare systems and their clinicians must reserve enough hospital capacity to provide treatment for a potential surge in Covid-19 patients, the guidelines said, “including plans for rapid deployment of alternative care sites through the Hospitals Without Walls program,” which is linked here.
“While telehealth has proven to be a lifeline, nothing can absolutely replace the gold standard: in-person care,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement accompanying the new guidelines. “Americans need their healthcare and our healthcare heroes are working overtime to deliver it safely. Those needing operations, vaccinations, procedures, preventive care, or evaluation for chronic conditions should feel confident seeking in-person care when recommended by their provider.”