COVID-19 Surge - ASC Response
COVID-19 Surge - ASC Response
As the state experiences a devastating surge in COVID-19 infections, we realize the many impacts this has upon your ASC operations and staff. Many CASA members have expressed concern regarding how the surge may impact elective procedures, as well as the desire for ASCs to be a resource for your community as it responds to the crisis. CASA has been in communication with state leaders, regulators and medical associations highlighting how ASCs are a critical component of the California healthcare infrastructure, and that during this crisis they provide an even more important option for surgical care. CASA has sent a letter to Governor Newsom specifically encouraging the state to:
- Ensure that ASCs can remain open and continue to provide patients with necessary procedures and treatments during the weeks ahead.
- Adopt waivers to enable ASCs to provide further support to hospitals.
- Include ASC staff as part of the healthcare workforce that is being prioritized for the initial phase of COVID-19 vaccinations.
As each individual county responds to the current COVID-19 surge, ASCs should continue to reach out to their county health department and their Medical Health Operations Area Coordinator (MHOAC) to ensure you are included in regional planning and aligned with their COVID-19 response.
In addition, CASA is working with the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), which is conducting a survey regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on ASCs across the country. Please take a few moments to complete this survey so that California-specific information is included. This data will be used in advocacy efforts at the national level.
New Cal/OSHA Emergency Standard
California’s Office of Administrative Law has approved a new Cal/OSHA emergency standard. This standard became effective on November 30, 2020 and will expire in six months unless readopted for up to two consecutive 90-day periods. ASCs have been administering the majority of these protocols for months, but we encourage you to review the standard and ensure you are in compliance.
Under the regulation employers, starting immediately, must develop, implement and maintain a written COVID Prevention Program, either as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or as a stand-alone document. They must identify, evaluate, and correct COVID hazards in the workplace, and employees and their representatives must be allowed to participate in the identification and evaluation procedures.
Additionally, employers must investigate and “respond effectively” to COVID cases and notify employees who might be exposed within one day, offering them testing at no cost. COVID cases in the workplace also must be reported to local health authorities. For employees who are infected with COVID, the regulation has specific return-to-work criteria.
The rule includes additional and more stringent requirements for multiple COVID infections and outbreaks in the workplace.