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COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions CMA has received during the COVID-19 outbreak. By default, the most recent answers will appear up top. You can also filter the FAQ by category. We will update this resource regularly.

More questions? Email communications@cmadocs.org.


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Archive by category: ReopeningReturn
There are many factors that physicians should consider when reopening their practices, particularly with respect to employment issues. Physicians should first review state and local governmental guidance on the rules related to reopening, and what precautionary measures should be in place before resuming operations. Physician employers, in consultation with their professional liability carrier or practice attorney, should also develop and institute plans for workplace and patient safety, to incl...
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| Categories: Labor and Personnel, Reopening
While certain shelter-in-place restrictions have been lifted under Stage 2 of Governor Newsom’s statewide reopening plan, individual counties may have kept more restrictive orders in place. Employers and employees should review both state and local guidance when determining if employees are eligible for emergency paid sick leave solely because they are subject to an isolation order. Importantly, even in counties who are safely reopening under Stage 2, employees at businesses that are allow...
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| Categories: Labor and Personnel, Reopening
While many practices are in the process of resuming onsite business operations, some physician employers may wish to continue to allow certain operations and employees to work remotely. Given the rapid onset of the pandemic, some employers may have allowed remote work without a formal policy or procedure. As practices begin to reopen, employers who wish to continue to allow employees to work remotely should evaluate whether they have the proper technological infrastructure (to include sufficient...
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| Categories: Labor and Personnel, Reopening
There is not one statewide date on which practices can reopen. It is controlled by local conditions, including orders from county public health officers and availability of resources. For counties that have local orders, CMA has compiled them here. The Health Officers Association of California is also compiling answers to FAQs from physicians by county.  See their website, available here. 
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| Categories: Reopening
Health care providers who are unable to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) from their regular suppliers may request resources through the Medical Health Operational Area Coordination Program (MHOAC). MHOAC distributes available local resources according to an assessment of need and priority. It will determine if the resource need is immediate and significant (or anticipated to be so), whether the supply of the resource requested has been exhausted or exhaustion is imminent, and whether ...
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| Categories: Safety Protocols
The State of California has launched this website, which allows physicians and patients to search for and map to the closes testing sites.
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| Categories: Testing, Reopening
Yes. Physicians should contact patients telephonically before they come in and perform a screening interview for potential COVID-19 symptoms. Practices that use a patient portal can also develop a brief questionnaire to be used for this purpose.The American Medical Association has provided a pre-visit patient screening template that practices can use for identifying possible COVID-19 patients. It is available here (pages 4 and 5 of the document).
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| Categories: Reopening, Safety Protocols
As practices reopen, it is a good idea to continue seeing patients via telehealth as medically appropriate. This preserves office space and exam rooms for patients that need to be seen in person for screenings, vaccinations, etc. It is also a good idea to place strict limits on visitors and guests that enter the practice.For a more comprehensive list of CMA’s recommendations for maintaining social distancing in your practice, please see CMA’s Best Practices for Reopening a Medical Pr...
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| Categories: Telehealth, Reopening, Safety Protocols
Physicians and staff over the age of 60 are at higher risk for infection and complications. Practices should accommodate them to the extent possible.For example, if a practice is planning to continue seeing some patients via telehealth, they can schedule those visits with older physicians, leaving the in-person visits for younger physicians. For office staff, older staff members should continue to work remotely if possible. Office functions that must be done in person should be assigned to young...
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| Categories: Labor and Personnel, Reopening, Safety Protocols

Should practices require patients to wear masks?

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It is a best practice to ask patients to wear face coverings when they come to the office. Asymptomatic patients, however, only need to wear cloth face coverings. They do not need N95 or surgical masks, which should be reserved for health care workers.Physicians should also be aware of the needs of patients with respiratory illnesses who may have difficulty with restricted airflow. Also, pediatricians may find that face coverings are difficult for young children, both physically and emotionally.
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| Categories: Reopening, Safety Protocols
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Your use of the CMA website, including information provided on the COVID 19 Resource Page is governed by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy linked below.  All CMA Content, including COVID 19 related content, is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice, or as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician or the legal advice of an attorney. Physicians should contact their professional liability and other insurers and an attorney for specific advice.

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