NCMS + NCHA Task Force: Guidance on Re-Opening the Economy and Resuming Certain Health Services

April 24, 2020


Today the joint NCMS and NC Healthcare Association (NCHA) Task Force on Virus Mitigation in an Open Economy, which includes physicians from a variety of specialties and representatives from the NCHA, issued a media statement on resuming economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Task force members emphasized the need, above all, to protect public health through continued social distancing and other efforts to slow the spread of the virus and recognized that a thoughtful and measured approach to resuming business activities is necessary. Read the media statement on reopening the economy.

The Task Force also agreed on another document outlining the principles for resuming health services during the pandemic. In drafting the principles, which are meant to broadly encompass surgical, specialty and primary care practices, the task force was adamant that patients are the top priority in considering how to move forward and resume time-sensitive procedures or treatments.

“Patients should be triaged for priority and a standard of medical necessity must be applied before each service,” the document states and goes on to outline considerations such as having adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and other resources available before resuming such treatment.

The Task Force also was highly aware that these decisions must be made at the local level.

“The specific approach to restarting and continuing to perform such services is most appropriately developed and implemented at the health care community or region level, taking into account the extent of COVID-19 disease in the region and any resource constraints within facilities,” the document states.

Read the “Principles for Health Services During Covid-19 Pandemic” here.

Also today, Governor Roy Cooper outlined a phased approach to gradually loosening his stay-at-home order, possibly allowing more businesses to reopen starting May 9. In order to move to the first phase in lifting some of the current restrictions, data trends outlined by NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, must show declines or sustained leveling in the number of COVID-19 cases and other metrics. The state must also have at least 30 days of testing and PPE capacity to safely begin the process, she said. Here are the slides from the Governor and Secretary Cohen’s presentation, which outline each of the metrics the state will use to determine lifting restrictions.