Once the coronavirus diseases 2019, otherwise abbreviated as “COVID-19” was declared a pandemic, every healthcare system was affected. In the U.S, President Trump considered it a national emergency hence giving an okay for certain implementations to be conducted by the Health and Human Services department.
Medical programs like Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare had some of their participatory requirements waived as per Section 1135 of the Social Security Act.
To control the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establishes that:
- Healthcare providers should implement an infection control procedure that includes prevention policies.
- State Survey Agencies and Accrediting Organizations like hospitals and nursing homes are suspended until further notice. They will only operate when addressing infection control and other emergency health safety issues.
- When addressing Covid-19 patients (known or suspected), healthcare providers should consider the level of risk. This way, patients with the highest risk of experiencing a severe outcome are addressed first.
- As a measure for Covid-19 preparedness, proper screening of all visitors and patients for Covid-19 is needed. This guidance is for home care providers, long-term care facilities, and hospitals.
- A nursing home can only accept Covid-19 patients if it can abide by the CDC guidelines as a precaution for transmission.
- There’s a strict process for healthcare providers to follow when transferring patients with diagnosed or suspected cases of Covid-19.
- The Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention by Hospice Agencies and in Home Health Agencies are available.
- Hospitals are to assess Covid-19 patients’ needs in the event post-hospital services are needed.
- Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and skilled-nursing institutions should restrict visitors and limit the access of non-essential personnel into the facilities. An exception is placed in compassionate cases like demise for the protection of the elderly.
- A Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System is available so laboratories can bill COVID-19 tests.
- Waivers of Section 1135 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP conditions have been done for flexibility to ensure timely access to medical care.
- The CDC and FDA are on a multi-pronged approach to ensure enough medical supplies for mitigation fraud and other disruptive issues.
Healthcare providers should protect their employees by issuing pandemic preparedness guidance, protocols for protection, and how to make it amid the impact of Covid-19.