Member Alert April 24: Reminder: Guidelines for Reopening Healthcare Services; Services Can Begin Monday, April 27

Last evening, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack, M.D. outlined the administration’s guidelines for reopening certain medical services and healthcare facilities. The first phase of reopening, which begins Monday, April 27, will include non-urgent/emergent healthcare services, diagnostic, radiology and lab services in outpatient hospital settings, healthcare clinics and medical offices, physical therapy settings and chiropractic offices, optometrists and dental offices (although with enhanced aerosol protections).

The phased, gradual reopening process may be adjusted should a COVID-19 surge occur. Dr. Stack also stressed that telehealth should continue to be utilized as much as possible. Additional requirements include:

  • No visitors, except when necessary for end-of-life, vulnerable populations, minors, etc., and then only to minimum essential extent.
  • Eliminate traditional waiting rooms/common areas and use non-traditional alternatives, such as a “parking lot lobby.”
  • Maintain social distancing in all settings and install plexiglass barriers when possible.
  • Screen all healthcare workers, patients and others for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival. Sick staff should be required to stay home.
  • Plan for enhanced workplace sanitizing.
  • Plan for and ensure enhanced hand hygiene compliance.
  • Provide easily accessible hand sanitizer throughout the office/building.
  • Each healthcare setting must be able to procure necessary PPE via normal supply chains.

Specific guidance was also outlined in regards to masks:

  • All healthcare providers and staff must wear surgical/procedural masks while in healthcare office/facility.
  • All patients and other persons in healthcare office/facility must:
    • Wear a surgical/procedural mask while in an acute care hospital or ambulatory surgical center.
    • Wear either a surgical/procedural mask or cloth mask/face covering in all other healthcare settings.

The slide deck utilized during the press conference is available here.

No additional guidance was released during the press conference this evening.