Updated May 11, 2020
April 28, 2020
by Tanya Babitch and Robin Desrocher
As COVID-19 practice restrictions are lifted and practices re-open, please consider the following risk management recommendations when treating patients during the crisis.
- Review and implement the minimum standards for safe practice during COVID-19 as required by the Texas Medical Board.
- Weigh the risks and benefits of scheduling patients for routine visits, elective procedures, and non-urgent medical issues. Consider the potential risks of contracting COVID-19 for patients with specific health conditions. Continue to consider telemedicine when appropriate.
- Continue to encourage social distancing as much as possible. Avoid crowds in waiting rooms and employee areas. Consider having patients wait in their cars until an exam room becomes available.
- Screen patients before scheduling appointments, using TMA and CDC tools.
- Inform patients about potential risks before scheduling, and ask that they follow TMB minimum standards and infection control protocols when arriving at the practice or facility. Educate patients up front about what will be required.
- Supply providers and employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If having difficulties obtaining supplies, the Texas Medical Association has developed resources to assist practices. (TMLT policyholders can check their email for instructions on ordering KN95 masks from a supply obtained by TMLT)
- Follow infection control guidelines supplied by the CDC, the Texas DSHS, and the TMA. Develop protocols and educate staff on how to implement.
- Review the TMB's Minimum Standards of Safe Practice FAQs, DSHS Minimum Recommended Health Protocols for COVID-19, as well as the Information for Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals.
- Include the risks of contracting COVID-19 in the consent discussion for procedures and surgical care, and document this discussion in the medical record.
- Texas Medical Association (TMA) COVID-19 Resource Center
- Texas Medical Board (TMB) COVID-19 page
- Governor’s Executive Order GA 19 related to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 resource page
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 webpage
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 projections
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center