Reopening Massachusetts Health and Human Services
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
During the COVID-19 public health emergency to date, in order to ensure Massachusetts’ health care system had the capacity to address the pandemic, some health care services and procedures needed to be limited or put on hold temporarily, while many services were conducted remotely using telehealth. Emergency services and other essential health and human services continued during this time.
As of May 18th, the Commonwealth is issuing new guidelines to hospitals and health care providers in accordance with the state’s four-phase reopening plan, to allow some non-emergency procedures or deferred care that may now need attention. Hospitals and Hospital-Licensed and Federally Qualified Health Centers may begin this reopening starting on May 18th, and all other providers may begin starting on May 25th.
Under these guidelines, high-priority preventative services and urgent procedures that, if left untreated, would lead to high risk or significant worsening of the patient's condition, based on the provider's clinical judgment, may resume.
Relevant examples of in-person services that should start in Phase 1:
- Diagnostic procedures where delay would lead to high risk
Example: Biopsy for concerning lesions/potential cancers
- Medical procedures that if deferred lead to substantial worsening of condition
Example: Removal of malignant skin lesions
In this phase, providers will continue to maximize telehealth and provide services virtually whenever possible.
To begin offering these in-person services, providers must attest that they are able to deliver these services safely while preserving the healthcare system’s ability to treat COVID-19. This includes specific safety standards such as social distancing, personal protective equipment use, and infection control. More information on those requirements HERE.
Read the Health & Human Services One-Pager Here!