CMS Issues Updated Guidance for Providing Non-emergent, Non-COVID-19 Health Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued updated guidance on providing essential non-COVID-19 care to patients without symptoms of COVID-19 in regions with low and stable incidence of the virus. This is part of Phase 1 in the Administration’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The American Hospital Association has reviewed both sets of guidance and provide their take and highlights here.

The recommendations update earlier guidance provided by CMS on limiting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures. The new guidelines indicate that when a state has passed the gating criteria articulated in the Administration’s plan for opening America, they can proceed to Phase 1, in which health care organizations can restart care postponed due to COVID-19 in coordination with local and state public health officials. In considering resuming such services, hospitals should review the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies, along with workforce availability, facility readiness, testing capacity and post-acute care capacity in the area. In planning to reopen services, facilities also must recognize the need to be able to rapidly expand care for COVID-19 patients if another surge should come to their