MDHHS Director Gordon Releases Additional Exceptions to Visitation Restrictions
This afternoon, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon signed an Emergency Order providing additional guidance to the previously issued visitation restrictions in residential care facilities, including nursing facilities and assisted living settings.
This order expands upon the June 30, 2020 order, leaving in place the visitation permitted under that prior order and allowing additional visitations to these facilities, based upon the recommendations of the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force and upon the Department's review of epidemiological data over recent weeks and practice in other states. The Emergency Order becomes effective on September 15, 2020 and remains in effect until rescinded.
This order offers the opportunity to permit outside visitation, given a facility meets criteria that includes;
- No new COVID cases in staff or residents, originating in the facility within the prior 14 days
- Local health department confirmation that local epidemiological conditions allow for safe outside visitation
- Controls, that include social distancing, disinfection of surfaces between uses, protection from adverse weather, and supervision by an employee trained in infection control measures
- Window visits may continue, when a barrier is maintained between the resident and visitor. Accommodations shall be made for residents without access to a ground floor window or a window that does not open to an area accessible by a visitor
Facilities allowing visitation must permit the visits by appointment only and may impose reasonable time limits. Visitors must log in and out, provide contact information, and attest in writing they will notify the facility if they develop signs & symptoms of COVID within of visiting. Visitors are limited to no more than two persons, they must undergo screening prior to entry and utilize face masks and other PPE as appropriate for the visit.
In addition to the allowance of outside visits, the order also addresses the entry of other service providers. Medical service providers such as hospice, podiatry, dental, durable medical equipment (DME), mental health, therapy, and other specialists are now being included in the definition of essential workers. They will be allowed to enter facilities under the same Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing requirements as other staff working within a building.
Visitation restrictions do not apply to non-medical service providers such as beauticians, when it is determined there will be an actual or potential negative impact on the resident if the services are not provided. These services may be provided to residents who have never been diagnosed with COVID or are COVID recovered based on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Non-medical service providers are subject to the same PPE requirements as other staff. In addition, if these individuals are in a facility for more than 8 hours per week they are also subject to the same testing requirements as other staff working in the facility.
Other individuals exempted from the visitation requirements include Resident physicians, clinical students, and volunteers who have been trained in infection control measures and are serving as facilitators of outdoor visits. Each of these individuals are subject to the same PPE and testing requirements as other staff working in the facility.
Watch for another MCAL ONLY member alert this evening with other key information!
For questions or concerns please contact Cathy Sunlin at CathySunlin@HCAM.org or Linda Lawther at LindaLawther@michcal.com.
Sept. 10, 2020