The Virginia Department of Health, Office of EMS has issued a white paper entitled " pdf Transportation of Patients of Alternate Care Sites (201 KB) ." This paper addresses transport to sites such as urgent care centers, renal care centers, etc.
The current Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has put stress on healthcare providers all over the world. In addition, patients are crowding (and often overcrowding) healthcare facilities and especially Emergency Departments (ED) located in those facilities. On March 30, 2020, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released notification of the issuance of several temporary regulatory waivers to allow for maximum flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in that notification is an expansion of the list of allowable destinations for ambulance transports, including any destination that is able to provide treatment to the patient in a manner consistent with state and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) protocols in use where the services are being furnished.
In an effort to reduce the number of patients being transported to ED that could receive appropriate care at an alternate (non-emergency department) medical facility, the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) is providing guidance in the form of a white paper to both EMS agencies and facilities considered to be allowable destinations for ambulance transports under the CMS guidance.
The white paper includes guidelines for agencies transporting patients to alternative sites, the protocols that outline the transportation options, funding for transportation to an alternate site, as well as further considerations for transportation to an alternate site.
Please be aware that your agency should not transport to any alternate care site unless and until this is approved by your agency's OMD!