ALERT: Amended COVID Administrative Order on Masking and Physician Practice Operations
With the new AO in place these very dated requirements are NO LONGER IN EFFECT in physician practices:
- Utilize telemedicine to the greatest extent possible
- Allow only one companion
- Stagger staff schedules and space appointments to minimize number of people in the office
- Install barriers between staff
- Clean high touch areas after each use
- Masks for staff in breakrooms
- Remove magazines from waiting rooms
In order to “practice in a manner consistent with the COVID guidance,” it is important to understand what the CDC recommends:
- Here’s the most updated CDC guidance for healthcare workers who have, or have been exposed to, COVID-19.
- Here’s the most updated CDC guidance for infection prevention in healthcare settings (including doctors’ offices, hospitals and home care).
The CDC still recommends:
- Signage in offices on infection control.
- Screening – but method is discretionary and no mandates on how to do it.
- Masking: see more below.
- Physical distancing: see more below
High Community Transmission:
Patients/Physicians and Staff: Required masking/physical distance for patients and all health care staff regardless of vaccination status during high transmission.
Low/Moderate Community Transmission:
Patients: You may allow exceptions for masking/physical distance for patients who are up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses in healthcare settings during low/moderate transmission.
And to make it more confusing:
Staff: Generally - Physicians and staff who are up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses:
- May choose not to wear masks or physically distance when they are in well-defined areas that are restricted from patient access (e.g., staff meeting rooms, kitchen).
- They should wear maskswhen they are in areas of the office where they could encounter patients (e.g., hospital cafeteria, exam rooms, waiting rooms, common halls/corridors).