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Re-Open DC Advisory Group Issues Recommendations on Path Forward for District May 21, 2020

Written by MSDC Staff

On Thursday, the Mayor's special task force to think through how DC can recover from COVID-19 issued its final report. The recommendations span social, educational, medical, and entertainment areas.

Most of the reports about the recommendations focus on the impact on the social life of residents as well as plans for schools. Undoubtedly these are significant. For example, recommendations for restaurants include having dinners include information such as full name and time entering when eating at a restaurant, to assist with contact tracing.

The medical recommendations primarily fall under two areas: Human Services, Social Services, and Health Committee; and Public Health Innovation and Workforce Committee. That said, health recommendations were included throughout.

Recommendations of note from the Equity and Vulnerable Populations Committee

  • Underserved communities should be a focus for contact tracing, medical care, and medical literacy programming
  • Medical providers and other frontline workers should have 24/7 access to mental and behavioral health services
  • Telehealth services should be accessible to all and covered by insurance (assumption being this is individual/group plans)

Recommendations of note from the Human Services, Social Services, and Health Committee

  • Stage 1 of re-opening would include a reliance on "alternate" care models and care would be prioritized by urgency and necessity of face-to-face care
  • All elective or non-emergency surgeries and procedures would be permitted at Stage 2, with only procedures with low PPE usage and timely procedures permitted in Stage 1.
  • Preventative care would be promoted in Stage 1 BUT must be done safely
  • The District should consider creating a funding pool to purchase PPE for front line workers
  • The District should promote digital equality to ensure all residents can access telehealth services.
  • The District should reclassify telehealth equipment as "durable medical equipment" for Medicaid reimbursement
  • The District should allow practitioners to practice in DC if they have a license in another state and are undergoing the DC licensure process.

Recommendations of note from the Public Health Innovation and Workforce Committee

  • The District should create public-private partnerships to ensure a comprehensive testing strategy across the District
  • The District should consider subsidizing PPE for non-government organizations serving at-risk populations