The latest information on COVID-19, a novel coronavirus.
MASSACHUSETTS HOSPITALS STAND READY
All Massachusetts hospitals have
established policies for containing and treating contagious diseases and
for dealing with patient surges if the need arises. Hospitals are
dedicated to ensuring safe patient care and providing the men and women
who treat patients the safest possible environments to conduct their
work. MHA and its membership have been in regular contact with the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health and national health
organizations to ensure that the commonwealth is well-prepared to meet
the challenges presented by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
The Most Current Information
These state, federal, and global entities are continually updating their resources to provide the most current information on COVID-19.
The well-respected medical journal, The Lancet, has created a coronavirus research center that brings together content from across The Lancet’s many journals (for example, The Lancet Global Health, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and The Lancet Respiratory Medicine) as it is published. The content on the website is free.
This 5-page list from the federal government details many links to federal agencies and their specific guidance related to COVID-19. It's a valuable resource.
Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
What is it? How does it spread? How do I protect myself? What about my pet and the novel coronavirus? Check here for answers to these and other common questions.
In certain circumstances, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services using section 1135 of the Social Security Act can temporarily modify or waive certain Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or HIPAA requirements, called 1135 waivers. Click here to view a list of waivers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Executive Orders
The Baker Administration under the emergency order issued on March 10 has used its authority to grant a series of emergency orders and guidance documents to ease restrictions on providers responding to the pandemic. Click here for a list of these orders.
MHA’s Strategic Partner, Symmetry Workforce Solutions, is offering MHA members free access to a rapid response option for your supplemental staffing needs via their parent company, Aya Healthcare. Aya is proactively qualifying a workforce of nurses, respiratory therapists, and other staff that may be needed to respond rapidly to the situation. To date, more than 20 state hospital associations are participating and Aya has engaged more than 500,000 clinicians regarding interest and opportunities to serve across the U.S. For information, contact Diane Adams, RN, at email@example.com or (609) 240-5006; Guy Evans, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (732) 245-0212; or MHA’s Jim Vahey at email@example.com.
Caring for the Caregiver: COVID-19 Resources
MHA has assembled resources to support caregiver wellbeing during this challenging time. The list at the link here includes timely webinars, articles, toolkits and more with information on stress management, self-care, and caregiver support.
This section contains operational resources for hospitals that are
updating their airborne isolation plans, personal protective equipment
inventory, among other best practices to employ during widespread
contagion events. The resources are from around the U.S.
Click here for more resources
Ongoing Resources and Best Practices
Check back here frequently for regular updates from health agencies, as well as notable news alerts and stories of interest.
APRIL 30, 2020 – EMTALA FAQs. CMS has issued updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) clarifying requirements and considerations for hospitals and other providers related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQs address questions around patient presentation to the emergency department, EMTALA applicability across facility types, qualified medical professionals, medical screening exams, patient transfer and stabilization, telehealth, and other topics.
APRIL 28, 2020 – BUREAU OF SUBSTANCE ADDICTION SERVICES ISSUES SCREENING GUIDELINES. DPH’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) issued a memo that provides guidance to all of its licensed/contracted programs on screening patients for COVID-19. The guidance offers recommendations on pre-screening, admissions, transfers from other facilities, isolation guidelines, and cleaning protocols.
APRIL 27, 2020 – HHS LAUNCHES COVID-19 UNINSURED PROGRAM PORTAL. Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), launched a new COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal, allowing healthcare providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing or provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 individuals on or after February 4, 2020, to request claims for reimbursement.
APRIL 24, 2020 – BOSTON HOPE EXPANDS MISSION. Boston Hope Medical Center – the field hospital at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center – has expanded its mission to care for appropriate patients in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Emergency Departments, and from the outpatient setting. At this point, Boston Hope is not accepting Nursing Home Residents. This document further explains SNF criteria as well as admission standards for patients from ED and outpatient settings.
APRIL 23, 2020 – U.S. HHS LAUNCHES TELEHEALTH WEBSITE. Yesterday, HHS launched a telehealth website intended to be a one-stop shop for patients and providers seeking information about telehealth. In particular, it contains information about preparing patients for telehealth, telehealth workflows, billing and reimbursement, and a comprehensive telemedicine services provider directory.
APRIL 21, 2020 – TRANSPORTING COVID-19 PATIENTS. A MassHealth Transportation Bulletin explains that wheelchair van and non-emergency ambulance transportation is appropriate for medically necessary transportation for MassHealth members who are persons under investigation or known to have COVID-19.
APRIL 21, 2020 – REVISED CRISIS STANDARDS OF CARE. Yesterday the state released the new version of the Crisis Standards of Care – the document that hospitals can use to help them decide how to allocate resources (such as ventilators) in the dire event that there is not enough equipment to meet the demands from a patient surge.
APRIL 20, 2020 – DMH LIMITS VISITATION. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) has imposed new restrictions on who may enter DMH facilities, prohibiting nearly everyone other than direct clinical staff, DMH personnel, administration, vendors, and core services. Attorneys and Independent Medical Examiners (IME) associated with inpatients who are in criminal, civil commitment, or substituted judgement proceedings must conduct their business by telephone or video conferencing except under extenuating circumstances
APRIL 16, 2020 – FDA RELAXES SOME OVERSIGHT ON COMPOUNDERS.
Because hospitals are having trouble fulfilling orders in the drug supply chain due to the pandemic, the FDA announced today that is does not intend to take action against an outsourcing facility for compounding a drug product that is essentially a copy of an approved drug, for using a bulk drug substance that is not on FDA’s 503B Bulks List, or for not meeting Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements with regard to product stability testing and the establishment of an expiration date, only when a series of circumstances are met. This document explains the new regulation and the requirements to meet it.
APRIL 16, 2020 – EMS CHANGES VENTILATOR PROTOCOL. The state’s Office of Emergency Medical Services has released this document that changes the Statewide Treatment Protocol to the inter-facility transfer (IFT) ventilation protocol, allowing for use of bag-valve-mask ventilation for transport of a ventilator dependent patient, if a transport ventilator is not available due to the COVID-19 emergency. Also the 20-minute transition and observation requirement (to wait for stability on the transport vent) for stable patients has been removed for the duration of the emergency.
Click here for more resources as well as guidance documents that have been superseded by more recent directives.