What Physicians Should Know About Resuming Non-Emergent Care as Reopening Begins

Last Updated: Jun 2, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pennsylvania took steps to limit the transmission and impact of the virus by implementing stay-at-home orders and directing physicians to postpone non-emergent surgeries and procedures.

As stay-at-home orders are lifted and the process of reopening begins, new guidance has been issued regarding resuming non-urgent medical care and procedures.

medical-exam-masksDOH Guidance for Resuming Non-Emergent Care and Procedures

Last month the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced that non-emergent surgeries and procedures may resume in hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs)  provided that it can do so without jeopardizing safety of patients and staff or the ability to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. To review DOH’s guidance for hospitals, click here. To review DOH’s guidance for ASFs, click here.

Shortly thereafter, DOH also released guidance for health care providers on performing non-emergent and elective procedures.

This guidance for health care providers can be accessed here and is applicable for all health care provider settings (except hospitals, ASFs, and dental practices), this would include physician practices. Similar to hospitals and ASFs, providers may resume non-urgent and elective care when appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and telemedicine is not sufficient. DOH recommends screening patients for symptoms.

Note that DOH’s guidance for health care providers applies to all practices regardless of what phase or color designation the practice’s county is in currently within Governor Wolf’s phased reopening plan.

Additional Resources

PAMED offers a resource with best practices for reopening a medical practice. It includes details on steps to take prior to reopening, financial considerations, staffing considerations, universal safety precautions, and more. Get the resource at www.pamedsoc.org/reopen.

And, find all of PAMED’s coronavirus resources at www.pamedsoc.org/coronavirus.

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