AANEM has received numerous emails and calls from its physician members asking for guidance on how to best handle caring for their neuromuscular patients, many of whom may be immunocompromised, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, there is little evidence-based guidance on COVID-19 or how to handle these vulnerable patients. AANEM has reviewed the currently available resources and guidance published by the most reputable sources of healthcare information to put together some guidance for physicians. AANEM urges its members to adhere to information from public health officials, other government entities as listed below and on the CDC website. This webpage provides information regarding common questions we are receiving.
AANEM Supports the Council of Medical Specialty Societies on PPE
COVID-19 Pandemic: How Some AANEM Members are Handling Patient Care
One of the major questions facing our members is whether or not elective tests or visits or other procedures should be canceled at this time.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in mid-March that all elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures be postponed “until further notice.” On April 7, 2020, CMS released a letter laying out a tiering system for determining which patients should and shouldn't be seen during this crisis. On April 19, 2020, CMS released new guidance allowing for some medical facilities in areas with low incidences of COVID-19 to return to performing elective procedures. For state-specific guidance, please see the AMA's Factsheet. The CDC also provides detailed COVID-19 guidance for Outpatient and Ambulatory Care Settings.
Physicians are encouraged to discuss issues related to patient care with their hospitals and provide their recommendations regarding which patients need to be seen versus those that can be delayed without impact on patient care or outcomes. Physicians should carefully consider when to cancel non-urgent procedures or prioritize their more urgent patients in order to reduce potential exposure and to ensure judicious use of potentially limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). Physicians should check the CDC website for updates to this recommendation given the evolving nature of this situation.
AANEM's Open Letter to Neuromuscular Patients
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