Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of June 1
Posted on June 05, 2020
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced June 1 that certain sectors of Michigan’s economy would reopen across the state and the “safer at home” executive order was rescinded effective immediately. In a June 5 news conference, the governor stated that, effective June 10, the Upper Peninsula and 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula can allow larger numbers of people to gather if social distancing guidelines are observed. In addition, personal care services such as hair salons and gyms that follow safety guidelines will be allowed to reopen statewide effective June 15.
As these changes take place, the MHA will continue to keep members apprised of these and other 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.
State Directives Affect Healthcare Facility Visitors, Emergency Certificates of Need
The governor has extended Executive Order (EO) 2020-108 regulating visitors entering health facilities through June 26. However, a June 3 order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) effectively creates a separate set of visitor restrictions for the facilities to which it applies (hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices). The new visitor policy does not prohibit providers from implementing additional restrictions; however, antidiscrimination/disability requirements apply to people who provide support for disabled or impaired patients. In addition, the MDHHS order applies only to people visiting patients and not to employees or contractors of the facility, who are addressed by other orders. MHA members with questions about the MDHHS guidelines should contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.
The order that allowed for swift approval of emergency certificates of need (CON) to increase hospital capacity was rescinded June 3, effective immediately. Hospitals that set up emergency CON beds/capacities under EO 2020-82 may retain them through July 31. The MHA is seeking further clarification on spaces that were set up under EO 2020-82 and will inform members of any additional guidance received. Those with question should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
In addition, the state has launched the MI Symptoms web portal that allows individuals to create an account and track their possible COVID-19 symptoms, find testing information and more. The MDHHS also announced June 5 that the state’s coronavirus webpage now contains data that conveys information in several additional categories.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Extends Prior Authorization Suspension
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) recently announced it will extend through June 12 its prior authorization suspension for all inpatient acute-care hospital admissions for all diagnoses. Prior authorization has also been suspended through June 30 for the first three days of all skilled nursing facility admissions for patients who transfer from an acute-care hospital. BCBSM has provided guidance regarding its temporary utilization management program changes. Members with questions may contact Jason Jorkasky at the MHA.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 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:
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