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Mass. Health System Turns Slowly Back To Preventative Care

Hospitals and community health centers will be able to resume offering a limited set of non-emergency services on Monday under the first phase of the state's reopening plan as long as they meet a certain set of criteria, but many other services will remain on hold for the time being.

Hospitals and health centers can begin offering "high-priority preventative services" like pediatric care, immunizations and screenings for at-risk patients, along with urgent procedures for conditions that would worsen significantly if left untreated.

Other non-hospital providers will be able to do the same on May 25.

The reopenings are contingent on hospital bed availability both statewide and at the individual hospital level, and providers must attest to meeting a set of requirements that include having adequate personal protective equipment on hand. For hospitals, that means a 14-day supply.

The types of care that can resume in the first phase include substance use disorder treatment, post-operative physical therapy, chronic disease management visits, placement of implantable contraception, biopsies for potential cancer, and in-person exams for new "concerning symptoms" like chest pain or blurred vision, according to a presentation laying out the state's approach to reopening health and human service providers.

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