MI Governor Whitmer Issues Executive Order to Re-Open Healthcare Facilities to Perform Non-Essential Medical and Dental Procedures

On May 21, 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-96, which permits outpatient healthcare facilities (e.g., primary care physician offices and dental offices) to re-open and perform non-essential medical and dental procedures. EO 2020-96, in part, rescinds prior EO 2020-17 as of May 28, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., which had required physicians and dentists to postpone any non-essential medical and dental procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, as of May 29, 2020, outpatient healthcare facilities may schedule in-person visits with patients to perform non-essential procedures.

Please note that outpatient healthcare facilities planning to reopen and perform non-essential medical or dental procedures on May 29, 2020, must adhere to the workplace safety rules detailed in EO 2020-97 to ensure patients are properly protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blow is an overview of the safety rules outpatient healthcare facilities will need to adhere to when re-opening.

General Workplace Safety Standards for All Businesses

Pursuant to EO 2020-97, all businesses that re-open pursuant to EO 2020-96 must adhere to the following workplace safety standards, which have the full force and effect of regulations:

  • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with guidance developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
  • Designate a worksite supervisor to implement, monitor and report on COVID-19 control strategies.
  • Provide COVID-19 training to employees, including: (1) workplace infection-control polices, (2) proper use of PPE, (3) steps an employee may notify the business of any symptoms of COVID-19, and (4) how to report unsafe conditions. Note that employers must maintain documentation of adherence to this requirement.
  • Conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees, including a questionnaire with COVID-19 symptoms. Note that employers must maintain documentation of adherence to this requirement.
  • Implement social distancing procedures (e.g., maintain six feet separation from other individuals) and consider PPE (e.g., gloves and facemasks).
  • Use facemasks if social distancing procedures cannot be maintained at the worksite.
  • Adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the facility frequently to limit exposure to COVID-19.
  • When an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19, the employer must notify the local public health department and any co-workers/contractors/suppliers the individual came into contact with within 24 hours. Note that employers must maintain documentation of adherence to this requirement.

Workplace Safety Standards Specific to Outpatient Healthcare Facilities

Additionally, EO 2020-97 provides the following specific procedures for outpatient healthcare facilities (e.g., primary care physician offices or dental offices) to adhere to upon re-opening:

  • Post signage and require patients to wear facemasks while inside.
  • Ensure waiting area occupancy is maintained to an amount necessary to permit social distancing procedures (e.g., patients are able to stay at least six feet away from one another).
  • Mark waiting rooms to enable six feet of social distancing (e.g., place X’s on seats six feet apart).
  • Enable contactless sign-in (e.g., sign in on phone app) as soon as practicable.
  • Add special hours for highly vulnerable patients (e.g., elderly and patients with chronic conditions).
  • Establish a screening protocol for all patients, including temperature and symptom check for COVID-19.
  • Place hand sanitizer and face coverings at patient entrance(s).
  • Require employees to use PPE in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
  • Install physical barriers at sign-in, temperature screening, or other service points that normally require personal interaction (e.g., plexiglass, cardboard, tables).
  • Employ telehealth and telemedicine to the greatest extent possible.
  • Limit the number of appointments to maintain social distancing and allow adequate sanitization.
  • Employ specialized procedures for patients with high temperatures or respiratory symptoms (e.g., special entrances, having them wait in their car) to avoid exposing other patients.
  • Deep clean examination rooms after patients with respiratory symptoms and clean rooms between all patients.
  • Establish procedures for building disinfection if it is suspected that an employee/patient has COVID-19 or if there is a confirmed case, in accordance with CDC guidance.

For any questions regarding the Executive Orders or re-opening an outpatient healthcare facility, please contact Adrienne Dresevic, Esq. at adresevic@thehlp.com, or your regular HLP attorney, or Partners@thehlp.com, or call (248) 996-8510.

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