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Health Care Providers Required to Collect REALD Data for COVID-19

Section 40-43 of House Bill 4212 (2020) require the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to adopt rules requiring health care providers to collect and report REALD data for all COVID-19 encounters.

Phase 1 of the data collection and reporting of REALD data go into effect October 1, 2020 and is applicable to the following health care providers:

  • Hospitals except for licensed psychiatric hospitals.
  • Health care providers within a health system.
  • Health care providers working in a federally qualified health center.

For more detailed information on how to collect and report data, please review the Oregon Health Authority Fact Sheet and the HB 4212 REALD Temporary Rules.

Basic Health Precautions Are Best Prevention in Coronavirus Preparation

As we continue to read and hear about the new coronavirus that is spreading internationally and in the United States, Samaritan Health Services and Samaritan Health Plans are actively working on preparing to care for any coronavirus patients should the virus come to our region. A coronavirus task force has been assembled and is developing a comprehensive plan of preparedness. This is a rapidly evolving situation and you should anticipate adjustments to our plans as the situation dictates.

Meanwhile, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself, your patients and your staff. We recommend the following steps:

  • Communication is key: Post the Coronavirus Health Alert flyer prominently within your office – patient waiting room, treatment rooms, staff break areas, bathrooms, etc.
  • Provide protective equipment: Have facemasks, hand sanitizer, tissues and waste receptacles readily available.
  • Review office policies with staff: Update your office policies so they reflect any needs related to the coronavirus – illness policy, handwashing, etc.
  • Ask patients about recent travel: Are they currently experiencing respiratory symptoms, have they traveled outside the U.S. in the past two weeks and/or have they have come in contact with anyone who has traveled from China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea?
  • Care for yourself and staff: Health care providers caring for a COVID-19 patients are at increased risk of exposure so please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
  • Encourage the flu vaccination: It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Follow Prevention Tips from the CDC

While there are only a few reported cases of coronavirus in Oregon, cold and flu season is in full swing. The methods to prevent illness from this new virus are generally the same as with influenza. The Oregon Health Authority is tracking coronavirus cases in Oregon and have a newsletter that health care providers can subscribe to at oregon.gov.oha.

As a reminder and to keep this top of mind, the following are prevention tips from the CDC

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see the CDC’s Handwashing information.

For information specific to health care, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings.

For questions regarding travel, please refer to the CDC’s Specific Guidance for Travelers.

There Is Limited Capacity for Testing at this Time

Testing Criteria

The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory (OSPHL) has limited capacity for testing at this time. The Oregon Health Authority has therefore updated their guidance for testing and is requesting that only patients meeting the below criteria have samples sent to the OSPHL.

  1. Patients who require hospital admission or are currently admitted to the hospital
  2. Evidence of viral lower respiratory tract infection
  3. Negative testing for influenza

Outpatients not requiring emergency room evaluation should not be sent to the emergency room for testing.

Commercial and university laboratories are starting to offer testing for COVID-19. Outpatient clinicians are urged to use their clinical judgment to test patients that do not meet the above criteria. All testing for COVID-19 must be performed using airborne and contact precautions with eye protection (N95/PAPR, gown, gloves, eye protection).  To conserve our PPE supplies, please only consider testing for patients with symptoms or exposures that are compatible with COVID-19 or are considered high risk.  

See OHA Testing Guidance for full information from the Oregon Health Authority.