On March 18th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommended hospitals and other healthcare providers pause all non-essential (elective) procedures in anticipation of possible surges in capacity resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. As part of the president’s “Opening Up America Again” plan announced on April 16th, some states are considering resuming these procedures using a phased approach.
CMS has released recommendations for facilities that are reopening for non-emergent, non-COVID-19 services, including meeting the gating criteria as outlined by the president’s plan. In addition, considerations specific to hospital preparedness, including the use of PPE and supplies, workforce availability, facility considerations, and sanitation protocols are provided.
Another key component for resuming these services is that hospitals have the capacity to test and screen patients and staff members. To meet the screening requirements, hospitals are partnering with CipherHealth to implement automated calls and texts that ask about symptoms and can connect the patient or staff member with additional resources as needed.
By leveraging technology, hospitals and health systems can meet CMS recommendations while preserving critical staff resources for direct patient care. Additionally, the in-depth reports provided by CipherInsights identify areas for improvement and can assist in further crisis response planning.
Although there is a path forward to resuming elective procedures, CMS still encourages the use of telehealth and recommends prioritizing surgical/procedural care and high-complexity chronic disease management.