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CMS Takes Important Step to Help Patients Access Non-COVID-19-related Care

April 20, 2020

Key Points: 

-For pockets of the country experiencing a low number of cases of COVID-19, the federal government has issued guidance to help health care providers offer non-COVID-19 care (NCC) to patients who do not have the coronavirus.

-This will help Americans who put treatments on pause resume care, empower clinicians to marshal and prioritize their resources based on the situation in their community and provide much needed revenue for health care providers.

-Amid growing evidence that patients suffering emergency health conditions like heart attacks and appendicitis are avoiding hospitals, these recommendations can help hospitals give patients confidence to come in for treatment.

-This is part of the President’s plan for “Opening Up America Again.”

– For the factors necessary to determine if your state or region has passed the Gating Criteria and may proceed to Phase I and this new CMS guidance, click here.


We must lock down the coronavirus without permanently locking down the economy. For areas of the country seeing low cases of COVID-19, CMS is offering direction to help these communities do just that.

According to CMS, this new guidance will allow a “gradual transition” to “encourage health care providers to coordinate with local and state public health officials” on reopening to the general public. Resuming NCC where possible is an important step that will allow patients to receive their treatments and provide financial stability for hospitals. CMS suggests health care providers “review the availability of personal protective equipment and other supplies, workforce availability, facility readiness, and testing capacity when making the decision to re-start or increase in-person care.”

The recommendations can be found here and include considerations such as screening all patients and staff for potential COVID-19 symptoms; using a separate building, or designated rooms or floor with a separate entrance for NCC to reduce crossover with COVID-19 areas; and ensuring there is both an established plan for thorough cleaning and disinfection prior to using spaces or facilities for patients with NCC needs and adequate supplies of equipment, medication and supplies that do not detract for the community ability to respond to a potential surge. By following these safety recommendations, hospitals can give patients confidence to return to our health care system when appropriate.

CMS stressed hospitals that are still experiencing large cases of COVID-19 should continue to follow existing recommendations and continue to limit non-essential care.

Want to read more on the fight against Coronavirus? Read our Coronavirus Bulletin here which contains our extensive FAQ about recent federal actions.

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