Gov. Beshear Details Next Phases In Reopening Of Health Care Industry

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 6:21 AM

By Gov. Andy Beshear, news release

The Governor added that more industry reopening dates would be announced soon.

(Frankfort, Ky.) – As Kentucky took the first step in reopening its health care industry Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear offered new details on restarting the sector while continuing to keep Kentuckians safe from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

“Going through this tonight, I hope gives you an idea on how we are going to gradually do this with strict compliance to guidelines, and to make sure we can do it in a smart and a safe way,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is the way that we are going to move into a broader Phase 1 reopening.”

Gov. Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, outlined a four-phase structure to gradually bring more health care services back online.

This phased reopening of health care services is the first step under the Healthy at Work initiative the Governor introduced to help businesses restart operations safely when the time is right. The initiative set out public health benchmarks for reopening Kentucky’s economy. These benchmarks closely follow the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.

Today, under Phase 1, health care practitioners can resume non-urgent/emergent health care services, diagnostic radiology and lab services in:

  • Hospital outpatient settings;
  • Health care clinics and medical offices;
  • Physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices and optometrists;
  • Dental offices (but with enhanced aerosol protections)

This initial Phase 1 does not apply to long-term care settings, prisons and other industries or other settings, nor does it apply to elective surgeries or procedures.

Phase 2 is set to begin Wednesday, May 6. At that time, outpatient surgeries and other invasive procedures can resume, though hospital and care facilities will have to meet strict guidelines.

Phase 3 is scheduled to start Wednesday, May 13. Hospitals and care facilities can begin doing non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume.

Officials want the final stage, Phase 4, to being Wednesday, May 27. At that point, most of the restrictions on types of procedures and volume will be left to the facilities to determine. However, oversight and guidelines meant to ensure that capacity remains in the system will continue.

Dr. Stack emphasized that this is a phased, gradual reopening of services and that any COVID-19 resurgence may require adjustment. For full guidance on criteria for reopening and new best practices, click here. The Governor added that more industry reopening dates would be announced soon.

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