On June 3, the Michigan Department of Health and Human services (MDHHS) loosened rules on who can visit patients in certain health care settings and Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced rescissions of executive orders on FOIA, hospital capacity and emergency medical services as regions across Michigan continue to advance under the MI Safe Start plan.
MDHHS Director Robert Gordon issued an epidemic order, “Exceptions to temporary restrictions on entry into certain facilities,” that allows expanded visitation in hospitals, outpatient clinic and doctor’s offices.
“Sometimes a visitor can be just the medicine a hospitalized patient needs to help them through their recovery,” said Gordon. “As long as strong precautions are taken to help ensure the health and safety of visitors, patients and staff, this order allows for exceptions to those restrictions.”
“As we slowly and safely reopen our economy, it’s important to roll back emergency orders designed to deal with the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said. “By rolling back executive orders and allowing more people to visit their loved ones in hospitals, it sends a clear signal we are making progress in the fight against COVID-19 and continue to move in a positive direction.”
Hospitals, outpatient clinic and doctor’s offices are required to:
- Limit visitor entry to designated entrances that allow proper screening;
- Post signage at the visitor entrance instructing visitors to be assessed for symptoms of COVID-19 before entry and instructing persons who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including, but not limited to, fever, cough, or shortness of breath to not enter the facility;
- Perform a health evaluation of all individuals that are not under the care of the facility each time the individual seeks to enter the facility, and deny entry to those individuals who do not meet the evaluation criteria.
- Strongly discourage entering any facility to visit persons at high risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19, including older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions;
- Restrict visitation to the patient’s room or other designated locations;
- Require visitors who are medically able to wear a mask or other cloth face covering for the duration of their visit, and swiftly remove from the facility visitors who fail to abide by this requirement;
- For in-patient stays, make available on-site and off-site alternatives to in-person visits, such as video or audio calls;
- Disallow visitation during aerosol-generating procedures or during collection of respiratory specimens unless deemed necessary by hospital staff for the care and well-being of the patient; and
- Permit visitation only during select hours and limits the number of visitors per resident.
Additionally, Executive Order 2020-38, which extends certain FOIA deadlines due to COVID-19, will be rescinded at 12 am on June 11. Executive Orders 2020-39 (providing temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of emergency medical services) and 2020-82 (providing temporary enhancements to operational capacity and efficiency of health care facilities) are rescinded, effective immediately.