Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced on Monday that their departments have issued guidance to thousands of health care professionals statewide on how to safely evaluate patients who may have COVID-19, and how to care for patients who have the disease in an outpatient office setting.
Health care practitioners including doctors, nurses, physician assistants and respiratory care therapists are being advised to follow best practices set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health when treating patients for COVID-19-related concerns or symptoms. Those practices include using telephone consults to triage patients prior to scheduling office visits, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when evaluating symptomatic patients during in-person visits, and maximizing the delivery of health care services through telemedicine and other alternative methods.
“As gatekeepers to the health care system, office-based health care professionals are vital to responding to the threat posed by COVID-19 and helping to flatten the curve of infections,” said Grewal. “By providing guidance to New Jersey practitioners, we are acting to ensure they follow best practices for evaluating and treating patients during this worldwide pandemic.”
“It is essential that practitioners are mindful of the critical need to avoid overwhelming the health care system by recommending inappropriate referrals or testing,” said Persichilli. “Practitioners’ clinical judgment will be of the greatest value to patients and will help to best conserve our health resources at this critical time.”
The guidance was developed by the Communicable Disease Service within the Department of Health and the Division of Consumer Affairs within the Department of Law & Public Safety.