Elective Procedures, Recovery Plans, Funds for Telehealth and CARES Act Q & A
Elective Procedures to Resume May 1
Gov. Mike DeWine announced that on May 1 Ohio would resume all elective surgeries and procedures which do not require an overnight medical stay or inpatient admission. The governor said providers would not be required to test patients ahead of performing medical procedures, however, each patient should be pre-screened for COVID-19.
This new mandate nullifies a March 17 order in which the Ohio Department of Health prohibited all non-urgent surgeries and procedures—with a few exceptions—in an effort to conserve personal protection equipment (PPE) and give hospitals time to prepare in case the state sustained a widespread coronavirus outbreak. That outbreak has not occurred though the governor says he remains concerned over the level of PPE that is available.
Dental offices will return to full service on May 1.
The governor also said that on May 4, all construction, distribution, manufacturing businesses and general offices that were shuttered by earlier orders due to the pandemic can now reopen. And consumer, retail and service businesses will reopen on May 12.
All employees and customers will be asked to wear facial coverings and the state will maintain its six-foot social distancing guidelines, furniture and office equipment must be regularly cleaned and sanitized, and an order barring gatherings of more than 10 people will remain in place.
Recovery Plan for Ophthalmology Practices
With many states beginning to reopen their economies, medical practices should also begin to develop a plan for how to recover and return to normal business. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says this process should include six crucial steps for successful implementation:
- Identify the challenge
- Envision strategies
- Communicate with the team
- Develop the plan
- Pay attention to the timing of your plan
- Anticipate modifications
Funds Available for Telehealth Services
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still accepting applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The program will provide $200 million in funding to support eligible health care providers purchasing telecommunications services, information services and devices necessary to enable the provision of telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide selected applicants with full funding for eligible telehealth services and devices.
In order to receive funding, eligible health care providers must submit an application to the FCC for this program. The FCC will award funds to selected applicants on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.
CARES Act Questions and Answers
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted new Frequently Asked Questions regarding the second tranche of disbursement of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.
Please note there is conflicting information about whether a provider who hasn’t previously received money from the first round of funding can apply for this round. The American Medical Association is trying to clarify this and other questions with HHS.
To share your COVID-19 experience or ask a question, contact OOS Director Reginald Fields.
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