On March 16, Connecticut agencies released two important guidance documents for state health care providers and organizations confronting the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS) – the entity responsible for overseeing Certificate of Need reviews and approvals – issued new CON Guidance that allows OHS to temporarily waive CON review requirements of transactions intended to promote the State’s response and management of COVID-19. The Guidance also mandates that all public hearings related to pending CON projects will be conducted remotely until further notice, with further guidance to follow for specific parties.
a. In order to receive a temporary waiver of CON review, applicants must submit a letter describing the project to OHS Director Vicki Veltri that describes the proposal (including how it will support or enhance the State’s ability to manage COVID-19), and includes an attestation that any facility, service or equipment covered by the waiver is intended to be used to manage or treat COVID-19.
b. OHS will review and issue a decision within 24 business hours of receipt of a complete request for a waiver.
c. Waivers of CON requirements issued by OHS under this Guidance will only be effective until the public health emergency is lifted by Governor Lamont, at which time continued use of the facilities or equipment would require a CON application (if applicable).
2. The Department of Public Health issued new Guidance with “important information” for Physicians, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, and Nurses on the current management and treatment of the COVID-19 outbreak in Connecticut. The DPH Guidance includes the following information:
a. Guidance for outpatient evaluations of patients with possible COVID-19;
b. Strategies for preserving and efficiently using protective equipment;
c. Ideas for alternative models of care delivery, such as telemedicine;
d. Guidance for hospital evaluations of patients with possible COVID-19; and
e. Case reporting of positive patients to DPH.
Health care providers and organizations in Connecticut would be well-advised to review the guidance and consider whether a temporary CON waiver may be necessary or helpful in connection with efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.