Dear Colleagues,

Please read below for today’s updates as well as some reminders and links to frequently accessed information.

NEW: COVID-19 Testing Criteria

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) testing guidelines have been expanded. Testing for patients with fever and/or respiratory illness no longer requires prior approval by MA DPH. MA DPH guidance for testing MUST be followed: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-pui-criteria/download. Currently the BMC clinical laboratory is sending most specimens to the ARUP reference lab. In the morning, we will send out a streamlined testing approach for all patients. We have included a brief summary of the new MA DPH testing criteria guidelines at the bottom of this bulletin.

NEW: Elective Surgeries/Procedures and Ambulatory Visits 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and be prepared for a possible surge of patients, we are reducing elective surgeries, ambulatory visits and other elective procedures.  We have deliberate and thoughtful criteria in place to determine what surgeries, procedures, and visits can be safely delayed and are making sure there is a pathway for sick patients that need to be seen in our clinics. We are also leveraging telephonic visits wherever possible.

NEW: Tents 

In addition to the two tents near the ED and Shapiro, a yellow tent has been added on the Menino side of campus in the event we need space for patients requiring screening and testing for COVID-19, or additional Emergency Department space.

NEW: Changes to Epic

There is new functionality in Epic to help with patient screening, status identification, and patient education. Information can be found here.

REMINDERS:

Criteria for Testing for COVID (3/14/2020):

A brief summary of new MA DPH testing criteria guidelines is shown below:

  • Testing for most persons with fever and/or respiratory illness will be sent twice daily and performed at the ARUP reference lab in Salt Lake City Utah.
  • Hospitalized patient with fever and pneumonia/ARDS
  • Healthcare worker/EMT
  • Close contact to confirmed case or part of cluster in congregate setting (school, prison, etc)
  • Close contact in home (must have fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms)
  • Travel from Level 3 area (must have fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms)
  • Provider MUST confirm eligibility at https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-pui-criteria/download
  • If specimen is to be sent to the MDPH state lab, then the Provider MUST FULLY complete the State lab testing form (refer to the link on the test order)
  • Testing for others with fever or mild-moderate respiratory illness not meeting above criteria will be tested by a commercial lab
  • Only risk factor is older age and comorbidities
  • Only risk factor is travel to affected area (US and overseas)