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Kentucky Sets Detailed Timeline for Phased Reopening of Healthcare Providers

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) has released a four-stage plan for reopening Kentucky’s health care services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with the first phase beginning on April 27, 2020, and the fourth and final stage being implemented on May 27, 2020. The intention is to gradually loosen restrictions on services while providing requirements that must be met in order to mitigate against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Breaking News

Phase I
Phase 1 is set to begin on Monday, April 27, 2020, with non-emergent and non-urgent outpatient services resuming. This will include “high-touch” settings such as physical therapy and chiropractic services and will require enhanced PPE such as gloves and eye protection. This phase also includes “high-aerosol” settings such as dentistry, oral surgery, anesthesia, and pulmonary services. These cases will require enhanced aerosol mitigation as proposed by their respective professional associations.
Phase 2
Phase 2 is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, and will reintroduce outpatient and ambulatory surgeries as well as invasive procedures. In this phase, all patients must have COVID-19 pre-procedure testing in-line with professional association guidelines that are consistent with the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Additionally, facilities must keep a 14-day supply of necessary PPE based on the facility’s projected 14-day burn rate. Facility-specific procedure priorities and oversight will determine the type and timing of cases. Acute care hospitals must maintain at least 30% bed capacity per the facility surge plan.

Phase 3
Phase 3 is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, and will allow for non-emergent and non-urgent inpatient surgeries to begin at 50% of pre-COVID 19 shutdown volume. The Phase 2 requirements for COVID-19 pre-procedure testing, maintaining a 14-day supply of necessary PPE, prioritization of cases, and maintenance of 30% of bed capacity in acute care hospitals remains in place during Phase 3.

Phase 4
The fourth and final phase is scheduled to begin Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Phase 4 removes the 50% volume stipulation in Phase 3 and allows for non-emergent and non-urgent inpatient surgeries to resume at a volume determined by each facility.  The Phase 2 and 3 requirements for COVID-19 pre-procedure testing, maintaining a 14-day supply of necessary PPE, prioritization of cases, and maintenance of 30% of bed capacity in acute care hospitals remains in place during Phase 4.

Guidelines for Implementation
The Kentucky Department for Public Health also adopted guidelines that are in place during the implementation of all four phases. These guidelines include (1)  using telehealth when possible;  (2)  screening for fever and COVID-19 symptoms upon entering healthcare facilities; (3)  wearing masks for those working in person-to-person contact situation; (4)  practicing enhanced sanitizing and disinfecting of surroundings; (5)  procuring PPE through commercial vendors;  and (6) eliminating visitors with the exception of end-of-life cases and those assisting vulnerable populations.
   
Conclusion
These requirements and guidelines are subject to change as the pandemic abates or surges according to the KDPH. Best and most prudent practices mandate that providers have a plan in place along with policies and procedures that incorporate the guidelines along with training of employees.  

If you have questions about how to manage the reopening of your healthcare practice in a manner consistent with this guidance, contact the healthcare attorneys at McBrayer.


Lisa English Hinkle is a Member of McBrayer law. Ms. Hinkle chairs the healthcare law practice and is located in the firm’s Lexington office. Contact Ms. Hinkle at lhinkle@mcbrayerfirm.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 1256.

Services may be performed by others.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Lexington, KYLouisville, KYFrankfort, KY: MML&K Government SolutionsWashington, D.C.