As the United States and Puerto Rico begins a phased reopening and non-essential procedures resume, it’s crucial that your medical practice knows the steps needed to reopen with guidance of experts.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance on providing essential non-COVID-19 care to patients without symptoms of COVID-19 in regions with low and stable incidence of COVID-19.  

  • The new recommendations are specifically targeted to communities that are in Phase 1 of the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again with low incidence or relatively low and stable incidence of COVID-19 cases.
  • The recommendations update earlier guidance provided by CMS on limiting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures.
  • The new CMS guidelines recommend a gradual transition and encourage health care providers to coordinate with local and state public health officials, and to review the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies, workforce availability, facility readiness, and testing capacity when making the decision to re-start or increase in-person care.

The government of Puerto Rico has also issued additional guidance and a plan for reopening the economy in 4 phases.

  • In addition to the CMS guidelines, the Puerto Rico Task Force states that with the opening of each sector, both owners, administrators and any supervisory staff should be oriented on the “modifications that will have to be adapted in order to carry out the economic activity while maintaining the recommendations of physical-social estrangement and hygiene measures”.
  • At the same time, they emphasized maximizing remote work in all industries that allow it and modifying schedules that decrease the number of employees within the same space.
  • The recommendation, in essence, seek to establish a system in which trade restrictions are gradually relaxed and that, in the event that contagions increase and exceed 12% in the infection rate, the current social estrangement measures contained in the executive orders signed by the governor will be suddenly reactivated.

The Puerto Rico Task Force recommendations can be found here:

The new CMS recommendations can be found here:

The Guidelines for Opening Up United States Again can be found here:

To keep up with the important work the USA Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

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