COVID-19 Resources

OPW continues to receive daily inquiries on COVID-19 issues, often centering on procedures for reopening for non-emergent patients. In response to this and other questions, we are now sending a weekly digest of COVID-19 updates via email.  Please take the time to read these updates and check this webpage frequently. You can also send questions to: kjones@eyes.org

As a reminder, OPW is not a regulatory body and does not have the authority to prescribe when or how our members return to their practices. We will continue to provide information from state regulators to assist members in making their own decisions regarding their practices.  

UPDATE 5.19.2020 

On May 18, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee released Proclamation 20-24.1., "Reducing Restrictions on, and Safe Expansion of, Non-Urgent Medical and Dental Procedures."  This allows non-urgent optometric care to resume, contingent upon meeting the criteria described in the Proclamation. Each optometrist will need to assess their own readiness and their community's COVID-19 activity to determine whether, and to what degree, they will resume patient care.

Several key points of the proclamation are:

  1. The exercise of clinical judgement is crucial: Doctors must balance the need for optometric services with broader health care needs of patients and their communities in the context of a pandemic.
  2. Assess the COVID-19 status in your community: This is an important part of allowing non-urgent care is assessing the level of COVID-19 in your community. Useful tools for this are located on the Department of Health website. We suggest looking at the "Data Downloads" link for COVID-19 status and hospitalization by county.
  3. Develop an Expansion/Contraction of Care Plan: Base this on your community's COVID-19 assessment and the clinical and operational capabilities and capacities of your practice. Outline a plan for each situation and how you will adjust your practice to respond to a surge and/or a flattening of virus activity. This plan should also be influenced by your region's emergency healthcare coalition which will determine the phase of care in your community (Conventional, Contingency, or Crisis). This phase is determined by factors such as PPE availability, and hospital surge capacity.
  4. Adhere closely to all the criteria listed in the proclamation which includes infection control guidance, worker policies, practice policies, and other factors.
  5. PPE: Inherent in all the points made in this proclamation is the stipulation that doctors must have an adequate supply of PPE (face masks, face shields or goggles, gloves, etc). If not, resuming practice must be delayed until you do. DOH has released guidelines for PPE use and extended use.

As direct result of the grassroots efforts of OPW members, we participated in the Governor's task force for restarting Washington's health care system which provided advice on the content of this proclamation. We were successful in advocating for language that allows for the use of professional judgement while also considering the regional nature of the pandemic.  This Proclamation was made in the context of a state of emergency; therefore, it has criminal penalties for non-adherence. OPW cannot dictate the details of your return to practice, however, we will continue to provide information and forums for discussion.

SAFE RETURN TO PRACTICE PROTOCOLS 

For Schedule of COVID-19 Webinars, Society Webinars, and other programs, CLICK HERE.

For recordings of previous webinars, click here.  

The OPW COVID-19 TASK FORCE     

Cynthia Ruggeiro, OD, MPH, FAAO - Chair
Brett Bence, OD, FAAO  
Judy Chan, OD   
Dana Cocke', OD, MPH
James DeVleming, OD
Mike Matsunami, OD
David Stanfield, OD, FAAO
Heidi Sutter, OD, MPH