Considerations to Keep Your Practice Open

Considerations to Keep Your Practice Open

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Considerations to Keep Your Practice Open
September 8, 2020


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Practice Considerations
While most medical practices have already reopened, there are some best practices that should be considered as COVID-19 remains a factor. These include an ongoing assessment of current and future PPE needs, sanitizing procedures, modifying schedules, and limiting visitors to minimize contact. 

The following resources provide valuable guidance that is still relevant to help reduce risk and improve safety:
• American Medical Association (AMA): www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-05/physican-guide-reopening-practices-covid-19.pdf   
• Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-flexibility-reopen-essential-non-covid-services.pdf
• AMA elective procedures chart: Guidelines for elective procedures should also include provisions to cease non-essential procedures if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases. www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-05/state-elective-procedure-chart.pdf
• Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) checklist to reopening practices:  www.mgma.com/MGMA/media/files/pdf/MGMA-Practice-Reopening-Checklist.pdf?ext=.pdf
• In addition, be sure to check the website of national medical specialty organizations. Groups like the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, and American College of Surgeons offer in-depth resources tailored to the needs of their specialties.

COPIC has developed two video presentations: "Returning to Office Practice During COVID-19: Practical Considerations” and “Elective Surgery: Making It Safe to Go Back,” which can be viewed at www.callcopic.com/covid-19-information-and-resources/covid-webinars. You can also download a PDF copy of these presentations from this page. 

Patient Considerations
Remain vigilant about a policy for prescreening patients prior to presentation into the practice, usually through phone triage. The triage call script should include the recommendation for wearing a face mask, information on what the practice is doing to assure social distancing, and limitation of non-patient visitors when appropriate.
• The AMA offers a prescreening template which practices may use. www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-05/physican-guide-reopening-practices-covid-19.pdf 
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines can be used to ensure compliance with face covering recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
• In addition, providers should have knowledge of available COVID-19 testing sites in their location using available local and state public health guidance.  

Staff Considerations
Education and ongoing communication are integral to staff knowledge of changing COVID-19 recommendations to promote a safe working environment. Staff should be educated on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and the importance of not presenting to work if signs and symptoms are present or if they have had direct contact with persons who have tested positive for COVID-19. Staff should be screened regularly, and screening should be kept in a file separate from the employee file. Office administrators should be aware of reporting requirements and the obligation to protect health care professionals during a pandemic. www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/obligations-protect-health-care-professionals  

Operational Challenges
Decreased revenue and employee costs during the pandemic have been a challenge to many practices. AMA has developed resources to help navigate workforce reduction, compensation changes, benefit modifications, and legal compliance during COVID-19. www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/making-tough-decisions-managing-practice-s-employee-costs  

We have prepared brief summaries of state regulations and recent executive orders for the following states:

Arizona
Colorado
Iowa 
Kansas 
Minnesota 
Montana
Nebraska
Oklahoma
North Dakota 
South Dakota 
Utah 
Wisconsin 
Wyoming