COVID-19: TIPS FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
As COVID-19 concerns continue to grow, we have been receiving more and more inquiries regarding matters that impact our clients’ businesses. Below are some tips we hope you find useful. We remain ready and willing to answer your questions as they arise.
Tips for Health Care Providers:
(1) Check the CDC and your state’s Department of Health website frequently for industry guidance and implement appropriate policies and procedures. There are several resources available and they are being updated almost daily.
(2) Consider a daily call with staff to discuss questions, new guidelines, how to handle new issues that arise, etc.
(3) Move visits to telehealth where possible. Consider limiting vendor access.
(4) Contact your insurance carriers to determine what interim measures they are implementing to allow and pay for telehealth visits.
(5) Create a screening mechanism for employees, patients, and vendors. Consider adding release language to your standard forms.
(6) Identify and mitigate risk areas in your space:
- Ensure workspaces have adequate separation (keep personnel 6 feet apart or more where possible). Consider designated workspaces versus shared workspaces;
- Develop a regular cleaning/disinfecting schedule. Have a conversation with your cleaning staff to ensure they are thoroughly cleaning areas that are frequently touched (e.g., doorknobs, copy machines, etc.) and using appropriate disinfecting chemicals. Do not just assume this is being done correctly;
- Are doors frequently closed or is there a keypad everyone has to touch when coming into the office? Consider propping doors open temporarily during the day with increased security monitoring to avoid having people touch these common items over and over; and
- Do not assume your patients, staff, etc. know how to properly wash their hands. Post instructions and reminders about proper handwashing for at least 20 seconds in bathrooms and other common areas.
(7) Implement appropriate screening. Have your patients and visitors fill out screening paperwork regarding recent travel, fevers, respiratory issues, and other factors. Ask symptomatic patients and visitors to schedule telehealth visits where possible.
(8) Limit visitors and other non-patients in your facilities. Consider having families with multiple members who come to a visit wait in the car and text them when it is time to go back to an exam room. Communicate with patients and families to limit the number of extra people coming to doctor visits.
(9) Talk to your staff about preparing for childcare options now to avoid short-staffing issues. Many children will be off from school. Consider what additional assistance you can offer your staff in this regard.
(10) Consider flexible PTO options, PTO advances, etc. If employees are worried about using PTO or not getting paid, they are more likely to come to work sick. Congress is working on sick leave legislation, should be finalized in the upcoming days. Employers should closely monitor this legislation and start preparing for its potential impact.