Operating Status Update

Rutgers faculty, staff, and students can schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments at campus locations in Piscataway/New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.

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COVID-19 Resource Center for Health Care Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of daily life for individuals, and communities around the world, but it is our health care providers who are especially impacted during this unprecedented time. We hope this information is helpful to them as they continue to care for patients and themselves. 

Please note: individuals may from time to time be responsible for following the policies and procedures of another organization in a professional services type of arrangement, as outlined in related agreements and contracts or medical staff bylaws or institution policies.

 

University Resources

Both medical schools are providing resources for their respective faculty and clinical staff from testing and PPE use to telemedicine updates.

Return-to-Work Guidance after exposure to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case:

  • High-Risk Exposure*
    1. Asymptomatic HCWs: Continue to work after exposure, subject to discussion by Occupational Health with the supervisor. Approved asymptomatic HCWs may continue working but are required to monitor symptoms for 14 days after the exposure. If any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop, the employee should stop work immediately, notify their supervisor, and contact their personal physician.
  • Positive COVID test
    1. Asymptomatic HCWs who have tested positive for COVID-19 may return to work after ten days have passed since the date the positive test was taken and if no symptoms are
      1. Upon return to work they must monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the positive test
      2. If symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop, they should leave work immediately, notify their supervisor, and contact their personal healthcare provider.
    2. Symptomatic HCWs may return to work after:
      1. ten days have passed since symptoms began,
      2. and have significant symptomatic improvement
      3. and 24 hours have passed without a fever without the use of a fever- reducing

*High-Risk Exposure:

Prolonged close-contact to person with confirmed COVID-19:

  • 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of less than 6 feet to an infected person during a 24-hr period
  • AND Person with confirmed COVID-19 was wearing a face mask AND HCP was not wearing a respirator or face mask
    • OR Person with confirmed COVID-19 was not wearing a face mask AND HCP was not wearing a respirator or face mask
    • OR Person with confirmed COVID-19 was not wearing a face mask AND HCP was wearing a respirator or face mask AND was not wearing eye protection

 

Masking and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance

  • All clinical providers and staff members who perform hospital and/or outpatient direct patient care or direct patient interactions in Rutgers clinical facilities should wear a procedure/surgical mask in clinical areas.
    • All staff members who have direct contact with patients in Rutgers clinical settings but are not working in designated COVID-19 areas, will be provided a single procedure face mask for daily use. Distribution will be controlled through managers and department heads. Distribution is subject to availability.
  • HCPs should don a N95 respirator, gown, gloves, eye/face protection when in high-risk transmission areas or performing procedures such as:
    • Performing testing on suspected COVID-19 patients (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabbing)
    • Intubation of suspected or known COVID-19 patients
    • Performing aerosolizing procedures (sputum induction, suctioning)
    • Caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients requiring ICU level care
    • Giving direct patient care in the ED
    • Caring for all COVID-19 positive and PUIs, when administering an aerosol-generated procedures such as: intubation/extubation, open suctioning, nebulizer treatments, bipap, Venti-mask, proning, chest PT, CPR, trach collar.
    • L&D nurses during second stage of labor
    • OR staff performing surgery on COVID-19/PUIs
       
  • Procedure masks should be given to:
    • All COVID+ and PUI patients when HCP is present in room
    • Patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (respiratory symptoms, GI symptoms, or fever) until further assessed
    • Immunocompromised patients (e.g. transplant patients, oncology patients)
  • All others not covered in the guidance above (including all other patients, visitors, and staff) shall wear a face covering at all times while in Rutgers Health clinical facilities in the presence of others, in accordance with CDC recommendations for individuals to cover their mouth and nose while around other people in public settings. If not instructed to wear a procedure mask, visitors and patients may wear their own cloth face covering upon arrival to the facility.

Specific guidance for UBHC and UCHC:

UCHC:

  • All staff working inside the DOC and JJC facilities are issued procedure masks each day and are required to wear them.
  • Staff working on the medical infirmary units, isolation units, and quarantine units, as well as those who are conducting sick call with high risk patients, are wearing N95 respirators. Additionally staff that are screening DOC employees and civilian staff at the entry points of the prisons are wearing N95 respirator. All inmates are also given procedure masks to wear. 

UBHC: Screening and staff to wear procedure masks with each being given one mask per day (as long as supply lasts). Inpatient use in public spaces, do not have to use in patient’s room. 

 

HIPAA Guidance

During this unprecedented time, we appreciate your continued support in providing the best patient care while maintaining and respecting the privacy of our patients.

General Guidelines

  • Do not share protected health information (PHI) with others who shouldn’t have access, including co-workers or personal acquaintances. During this time of increased stress on the healthcare system and on us as individuals, it’s still important for us to avoid discussing patient cases except as part of the care plan.
  • Avoid accessing a patient’s medical record unless it is needed for your work on the care team or you have written permission from the patient. During a time when the spread of rumors and gossip about infection rates can increase anxiety and panic, it’s even more important for us to focus only on the information we need to provide immediate care and treatment.
  • Minimize the potential for unauthorized personnel to overhear patient information during conversations. All our teams are especially busy right now and the system is stressed. Please remember that our patients must still be treated with respect and that discussions about care and treatment should be managed appropriately.

Minimum Necessary: The "minimum necessary" standard still applies to ensure appropriate and limited distribution of PHI. Healthcare professionals must make reasonable efforts to ensure that any PHI disclosed is restricted to the minimum necessary information to achieve the purpose for which the information is being disclosed.

Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool that offers health care providers new and efficient ways to share information, to debate health care policy and practice issues, to promote health behaviors, to engage with the public, and to educate and interact with patients, caregivers, students, and colleagues. When using social media platforms, we must balance the benefits of the medium against the importance of protecting patient privacy.

As a reminder, the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibits the distribution of PHI on social media networks. That includes information about specific patients as well as images or videos that could result in a patient being identified. PHI can only be included in social media posts if a patient has given their consent, in writing, to allow their PHI to be used and then only for the purpose specifically mentioned in the consent form. Social media channels can be used for posting health tips, details of events, new medical research, bios of staff, and for marketing messages, provided no PHI is included in the posts.

Telecommuting

We must exercise good judgment and caution when working remotely. In particular, records and discussions that include PHI should be handled in the same manner and with the same concern for privacy as they should have been within your office or clinical setting before the current healthcare crisis. Hard copy, sensitive records should be secured both in the alternate worksite and when being transported between that site and your office or clinic.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many of our units are adopting telehealth as a means to interact with patients. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that those patient interactions and the information discussed are not disclosed to those who do not have a need to know.