Yesterday, Governor Northam announced he will not extend the Order of Public Health Emergency Two which he signed on March 25 which temporarily banned all elective procedures (that require PPE) at Virginia physician offices and will be allowed to expire by midnight tonight. Based on the Governor’s action, doctors of optometry can resume essential patient care beyond emergencies. Doctors should evaluate the necessity of the care based on clinical needs and prioritize care and high-complexity chronic disease management; however, select preventive services may also be highly necessary.
Please understand and consider the AOA has confirmed twice with the CDC COVID-19 Response Division that the CDC’s March 17 recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in affect and that CMS’s specific guidance on reopening facilities takes precedent. This is not an allowance to pre-COVID business as usual. You are responsible for keeping your patients and staff as safe as possible. With that in mind, the VOA suggests you only open your doors once you have the proper PPE and protocols in place to do so safely and responsibly. Please read and understand the posted CMS, AOA, and VOA guidelines on reopening your office. Please feel free to reach out to the VOA Office for any further questions.
In Virginia, optometry is an “essential” business. As such, your office does not have to wait for Phase 1 to see non-emergency care now that the Governor has allowed his Executive Order of Public Health #2 to expire midnight April 30 provided you abide by the CMS Guidance on Reopening.
A: The VOA does not have any PPE to give to members; however, PPE can be found on our PPE Resources page. Also, you should sign up for the AOA GPO which may be getting PPE soon. We are also in contact with local and state emergency offices for PPE guidance.
Please see above for the VOA's full Guidance to Resuming Practice
Personnel / Patient Flow
Note: enforcing usage of all PPE for staff and patients is up to each practice's discretion, but to reduce your liability, please read and understand the guidance documents from CDC, CMS, AOA, and VOA.
The following slides may assist Optometry offices in seeing urgent patients during COVID. posted with permission from Tusculum University