News, MSDC Statements, and MSDC Testimony on Health Equity Issues
DC Health Releases New Guidance on Healthcare Workplace and Patients
On Tuesday, DC Health released two new COVID-19 guidance documents aimed at healthcare facilities.
The first guidance document, which you can read in its entirety here, focuses on employers of healthcare personnel (HCP) and all healthcare settings. Some of the updated guidance in the document includes:
- HCPs who meet COVID exposure criteria or community exposure EVEN if asymptomatic should be restricted from in-person work.
- All facilities must implement universal use of eye protection by HCPs in any area where patient care services are provided AND where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained within the facility.
- Safety glasses are not considered appropriate eye protection.
- All HCPs should be screened at the beginning of their shift. If a COVID-19 positive occurs in the facility, staff should be screened at the beginning, middle, and end of their shift. These tests should be documented.
- The guidance includes a chart on how facilities must respond if an HCP is exposed to COVID-19, either at work or through community spread.
- Strategies for mitigating exposure shift to symptom-based and away, generally, from testing-based.
The second set of guidance focuses on "recommendations and requirements for the discontinuation of COVID-19 transmission-based precautions for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases in a healthcare setting". Similar to the previous guidance, DC Health recommends moving to a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy for most patients. You can read the entire new guidance here.
Importantly, DC Health says the following: "If a patient is on quarantine and has a negative COVID-19 test result during their quarantine period, the patient must still complete the 14-day quarantine".
MSDC will update this space with more information as it becomes available.
Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC is Tracking
(See the whole list of bills here)
What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.
MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools
Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and was signed by the Mayor. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.
What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).
MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.
Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.
What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.
MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.
Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.