Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of May 25
Posted on May 30, 2020
The MHA has continued to keep members apprised of developments during the COVID-19 pandemic through regular email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates on how the pandemic is affecting Michigan hospitals are outlined below.
Healthcare-related Executive Orders Issued/Replaced
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-91 May 18, outlining a list of requirements for all Michigan businesses to follow in preparation for the eventual expiration of the stay-home order. It included requirements for employee training, sanitation, social distancing, submitting written plans to the state, and more. That order was rescinded May 21 and replaced with EO 2020-97, which adds specific requirements for outpatient healthcare settings.
Several state departments have collaborated to develop guidance to supplement EO 2020-97 and related orders and guidelines. Support was provided May 29 specifically for ambulatory care settings and for outpatient healthcare facilities in general. The MHA is reviewing the guidance, but has no reason to believe hospitals that have remained open throughout the pandemic are exempt from EO 2020-97. Until further clarification is available, the MHA recommends hospitals and health systems adhere to the order’s requirements for both office and outpatient care settings.
May 29 marked the expiration of EO 2020-17, which since March has restricted nonessential medical procedures done in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and dentists’ offices. There are no restrictions accompanying the expiration of the order, but hospitals are urged to monitor personal protective equipment levels, testing capacity and more as additional elective procedures are made available. The MHA will continue to run its television and social media ad campaign through June, urging Michiganders to not delay care and assuring them hospitals are safe.
EO 2020-72, which limits visitors in health, nursing, congregate care and juvenile justice facilities, is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET May 31. It is likely that the governor will extend the order.
The governor signed EO 2020-104 May 26 to expand the types of medical personnel (such as nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants) who can order a COVID-19 test and to create a new category of community testing sites. These sites can offer testing to anyone who has reason to be tested without an advance provider order and without charging an out-of-pocket cost, thereby increasing access for Michigan communities. The order loosens restrictions on who is eligible for testing to those who:
- Exhibit any symptom of COVID-19, including mild symptoms.
- Has been exposed to a person with COVID-19.
- Has been working outside their home for at least 10 days.
- Resides in any congregate setting, such as a long-term care facility, prison or jail, homeless shelter or migrant camp.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) also issued a memo officially expanding testing priorities, echoing some of the testing outlined in EO 2020-104. The memo was included in the MHA’s May 26 update emailed to members.
The governor issued EO 2020-95 May 20, extending protections and requirements for long-term care (LTC) residents and employees of LTC facilities. The order expands on protections provided in EOs 2020-50 and 2020-84 and provides clear procedures for facilities and hospitals to follow when residents test positive for or experience symptoms of COVID-19. The order took immediate effect and continues through June 17.
U.S. Senators Discuss COVID-19 with MHA Board Members
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills) joined a majority of the members of the MHA Board of Trustees via conference call May 28 for a conversation about a variety of COVID-19 issues facing hospitals. The MHA and board members told the senators about the need to support Medicare accelerated payment loan forgiveness, the continued challenges in obtaining testing supplies, the financial impact the pandemic has had on both urban and rural hospitals, and the need for COVID-19 funding mechanisms to include inpatient behavioral health providers.
The MHA reminds hospitals of the importance of sending detailed messages regarding their need for specific testing supplies to the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories.
Hospitals Warned of Imposter Unemployment Claims
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) recently warned of attempts to file imposter unemployment claims by criminals who may pose as self-employed workers or independent contractors to illegally obtain benefits. The UIA has developed additional fraud protections, which may impact both new and existing claimants. Those impacted will receive instructions from the UIA on how to submit the necessary additional information to avoid or nullify “Stop Payment” notices.
As of May 27, Michigan was not listed as a state that has been targeted. Those who suspect an imposter claim has been filed in their name should contact the UIA immediately. Members with questions may contact Neil MacVicar at the MHA.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. If staff members at MHA-member facilities are not receiving necessary information from the MHA, they are asked to check the spam/junk mail folders in their email systems or ask their information technology departments to ensure MHA messages are not being blocked.
Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC). Members with MHA-specific questions should contact the following MHA staff members:
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News, Top Issues - Healthcare