CMS Publishes New Recommendations for Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare To Include SARS COV-2 Testing or 14-Day Isolation

On June 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued recommendations on re-opening healthcare facilities to provide non-emergent non-COVID-19 (NCC) healthcare.  CMS stated that these recommendations are applicable only to facilities in states and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy Phase II of the White House Gating Criteria.  Subject to more specific and applicable state-based requirements (such as the Kentucky guidance for healthcare facilities), the new CMS guidance sets forth specific recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission when providing in-person NCC care.  One such recommendation is that facilities conduct SARS COV-2 testing 24 hours prior to an NCC procedure or admission, including patients in the labor and delivery areas.  If testing is not available, CMS recommends that the patient self-isolate for 14 days before receiving NCC care.  Among the other recommendations in this new CMS guidance are that staff wear surgical face masks or N95 masks (as appropriate) at all times, that the facility conduct daily screening of staff for COVID-19 symptoms to ensure future workforce availability, that facilities have a cleaning and disinfection plan for any areas where patients will receive NCC care, and that facilities adopt procedures to minimize contact between patients in waiting and other areas of the facility.  (Note: The CMS document contains a broken link to the White House Gating Criteria which can be accessed above or here: White House Gating Criteria.)

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