Coronavirus: Trump administration urges health care facilities to reopen

June 10, 2020

CMS has released new guidelines for patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released guidelines for patients and beneficiaries as part of the Trump administration’s push to reopen the country, according to a news release.

The release says that the guidelines are meant to assist patients as they consider their in-person care options as states start to reopen. Many practices and patients had limited non-emergency in-person care due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but as they begin to reopen the guidelines are meant to ensure that in-person treatment resumes.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma touted the administration’s deregulation of telehealth services for allowing patients to still receive care in the release.

“But while telehealth has proven to be a lifeline, nothing can absolutely replace the gold standard: in-person care,” Verma says in the release. “Americans need their healthcare and our healthcare heroes are working overtime to deliver it safely. Those needing operations, vaccinations, procedures, preventive care, or evaluation for chronic conditions should feel confident seeking in-person care when recommended by their provider.”   

In April, CMS issued the first phase of recommendations for safely resuming in-person care in areas where there were low and stable incidence of COVID-19 cases. The agency is now releasing more information as in-person care delivery expands. The new information includes recommendations on topics including facility considerations, testing and sanitation protocols, personal protective equipment and supplies, and workforce availability, according to the release.

Reopening decisions should be consistent with federal, state, and local orders, CDC guidance, and in collaboration with state and local public health authorities, the release says.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on health care practices across the country as stay-at-home, shelter-in-place orders, and a push to hold off on non-emergency medical care has cut down on in-person patient visits.

A recent survey by The Larry A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative found that 80 percent of patients are limiting their chronic and well visits, while 61 percent of practices have done the same. A further 52 percent of parents are delaying their children’s well visits.