Many of our members are reaching out to us at the Quality Institute to share their concerns as the spread of COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing. We’re eager to learn about the issues you’re facing; we can provide resources and also connect you to the experts and officials who can help.
We’re hearing that our members want greater guidance to address the growing need for capacity in our hospitals — and on how to protect those most medically vulnerable. They also want greater latitude to respond to this public health emergency with flexible polices that are patient-centered and medically based. Members from multiple facilities cited the need for emergency orders and guidance, such as:
- Expanded use of dialysis right in the nursing homes to avoid transporting people who may be elderly or medically fragile to dialysis centers.
- An order lifting joint protocol limitations on Advanced Practice Nurse Anesthetists to address the growing need for these nurses’ services and maximum staffing flexibility at this time.
- Unified guidance over all the state’s labor and delivery units to keep them safe during the pandemic while also recognizing and maintaining a patient’s need for support during the birthing process.
Several of our members have specifically pointed to emergency orders issued in New York as valuable guidelines that could be used here. Now is the time to take best practices and guidance from other states and use them here when they make sense. Let’s learn from our neighboring states as well as share our best practices.
We’re seeing other emergency actions to help fight COVID-19. Federal and state regulators have moved aside the many bureaucratic barriers that previously hindered the growth of telehealth. Telehealth has been key to fighting the epidemic, and I believe we will emerge from this crisis with telehealth firmly entrenched in our health care system. To help consumers now, we will soon release a patient guide to the different telehealth programs and benefits offered by New Jersey insurers in response to the pandemic.
And, finally, we are developing a weekly webinar series to share advice on critical topics. Our first webinar topic was “COVID-19 Best Practices for Your Medical Office,” and featured Stavros Christoudias, M.D., who shared ways to keep medical providers and patients safe while continuing to provide care both virtually and in the office.
Like all of you, we’re finding creative ways to continue advancing our mission during the COVID-19 crisis. We believe our work to advance health care quality, safety and affordability is more important than ever. We’re here for you. Please reach out. And stay safe and well until we can all be together again on the other side of the crisis.