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PANDEMIC: COVID-19 RESOURCES & UPDATES

Ongoing COVID-19 Practice Challenges

Posted/Updated on 5/17/21 7:30 AM

As we emerge from the pandemic, medical practices must balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risks to patients and healthcare providers and mitigating financial impact. Awareness of COVID-19’s progression in your community remains critical. Health care organizations must remain prepared to meet patient needs to the greatest extent possible. As the situation changes, continue planning for best utilization of your facilities, equipment, and consumables while minimizing the risk of infection.

Vaccinations, Surgery, and Preventative Care

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients have cancelled preventative care appointments and surgery, and have fallen behind on vaccinations. Appointments that were cancelled as a result of previous practice closure and appointments that were postponed (possibly due to fear of presenting in person for healthcare) should be reviewed in detail to ensure patient safety. A strong follow-up and recall system will aid in this process. If your practice has not yet developed a system, this is highly recommended as a means of assuring important chronic conditions are managed, and screenings, vaccinations and other preventive care services continue on schedule.

Resources:

Patient Protection and Exposure

Enforcing mask-wearing, changing waiting area furniture arrangements, reducing the number of patients scheduled from the number seen pre-pandemic, and separating well-patient services and sick patient services, either by facility set-up or through scheduling are all strategies for reducing potential exposure among patients, healthcare providers, and visitors.  Communicating with patients at the time the appointment is made, and closer to the time of the appointment date and time is critical for assuring patients understand infection control processes and procedures.  Providing information through various mediums, such as phone calls, email, text, and your practice website may be helpful for reinforcing this information.

Resources:

  • NORCAL Group: Facemask Guidance
    This webpage provides guidance on mask use recommendations and patient requests for exceptions and includes a sample mask policy for patients and visitors, mask policy recommendations and resource links.

  • NORCAL Group: Potential Patient Exposure to COVID-19 by a Healthcare Provider
    This webpage provides strategies for responding to potential exposure to patients when a healthcare provider tests positive for COVID-19.

  • NORCAL Group: COVID-19 Informed Consent Issues
    This webpage includes recommendations for educating patients about the COVID-19 infection risks inherent in healthcare delivery and sample COVID-19 infection risk statements for informed consent forms.

  • NORCAL Group: Mobile COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Units
    This webpage provides strategies for deploying mobile units in a manner designed to safeguard patient safety and minimize liability risk.


Managing Operations

It is likely that the pandemic has changed the delivery of healthcare forever. Some changes are already apparent with the adoption of telehealth and virtual meetings. It is important to prepare for new challenges and learn from past successes and failures.

Resources:


Healthcare Workforce Protection, Exposure, and Wellness

In addition to managing interruptions to healthcare operations and healthcare delivery, and reducing the risk of patient infection, protecting both your clinical and non-clinical staff remains critical. Healthcare Personnel providing onsite services must ensure their health and wellness for the safety of your patients and for other members of the workforce. Vaccine hesitancy among members of the healthcare workforce is a continuing challenge.

Resources:

 

Human Resources

The pandemic has affected hiring, firing, furloughing and/or laying people off as well as re-hiring and returning furloughed employees to work, which may implicate employee protections such as FMLA leave, emergency leave, and workers’ compensation. Accommodating additional time off for illness and dependent care and facilitating remote work strategies are new challenges that can make maintaining safe staffing levels challenging. Questions about incentivizing and mandating vaccination present additional challenges

Resource:

  • NORCAL Group: Human Resources
    This webpage contains links to COVID-19 resources from OSHA, US Department of Labor, and National Law Firm analyses of relevant workforce laws.

Topics: COVID-19

← Back to Pandemic: COVID-19 ExchaNGe

The information provided on this site offers risk management recommendations and resource links. Guidance and recommendations contained in this website are not intended to determine the standard of care, but are provided as risk management advice only. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any method of care must be made by the healthcare professional. The information does not constitute a legal opinion, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. Legal inquiries about this topic should be directed to an attorney. NORCAL Group makes no representation regarding compliance with state or federal law by offering these resources. These documents and links are provided for your convenience and reference only, and the provision of these materials does not mean NORCAL Group is affiliated or associated with these organizations.