How Non-Acute Care Facilities Met Challenges and Enacted Solutions During COVID-19

October 7, 2020
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Are you curious about what your peers in non-acute care were most concerned about during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you wonder what facility modifications they made to help mitigate the spread of the virus? Provista surveyed its members to find the answers to these and other questions.

Non-acute facilities have been in various stages of reopening and providing care during the pandemic. They were affected by a variety of new and changing industry requirements, some of which differed by state, along with evolving best practices.


Ambulatory surgery center (ASC) facilities experienced a lot of disruption during the pandemic. Non-essential surgeries, including elective surgeries, were delayed as ASCs shut down some or all of their operations. Once surgeries resumed, ASC facilities had to determine how to prioritize them while addressing patient concerns about the coronavirus.

Provista asked its ASC members, “What are you most worried about when planning to reopen/start elective procedures again?” They answered:

  • Supply chain issues.
  • Second wave of COVID-19.
  • Choosing the appropriate caseload for the time period.
  • COVID-19 testing turnaround time.
  • Patient willingness to return.
  • Social distancing/CDC guidelines.
  • Staff safety.

The survey results show a range of concerns, from having a smoothly functioning healthcare supply chain, to keeping staff safe, to ongoing issues such as testing and guidelines for COVID-19. 


Healthcare providers continue to take various precautions and make changes to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. To that end, Provista asked its members, “What facility modifications are you making to allow for better infection control?”
ASCs, clinics and urgent care facilities had these answers in common:

  • Air filtration.
  • Workspace dividers.
  • Elimination of waiting rooms.
  • Glass walls/dividers.
  • Requiring face masks.

Members were also asked, “What scheduling modifications will be in place, if any?” Clinics and urgent care facilities answered:

  • Seeing only patients in the clinic who require an in-person visit.
  • Allowing specific procedures only.
  • Slow ramp-up as social distancing measures relax.
  • Reduced schedules to minimize the number of people in the office.

Criteria used to prioritize patients and determine scheduling will probably continue to change as facilities catch up on their backlog of procedures and as best practices continue to evolve. 

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical distribution is critical for many non-acute providers. As part of its survey, Provista asked, “What operational changes to the pharmacy have you made to accommodate infection prevention?” Home infusion members said:

  • Scattered scheduling.
  • Work from home.
  • Social distancing.

These answers reflect common approaches that many businesses, even outside of non-acute healthcare, are taking during the pandemic.


The Provista survey shows that providers are taking active measures during the pandemic to address patient and staff safety. Members shared their top concerns and how they were working to create environments designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These changes can build patient confidence about returning to clinics for in-person visits and treatments.

Facilities can work with their group purchasing organization (GPO) to help organize and streamline procurement processes. For example, Provista is actively working behind the scenes to support members during COVID-19. In addition, its contracting partner Vizient continuously works with federal agencies, including HHS, CMS, FDA and FEMA, to advocate for changes that would enable members to better manage disruptions in the supply chain due to the coronavirus. 

The Vizient CEO has met with members of the White House Administration, healthcare providers and other stakeholders to discuss solutions to product shortages during the pandemic. Provista is also working with Vizient to mitigate supplier fraud by creating a list of suppliers, outside of the contract portfolio, it has investigated and validated registration with either the FDA or NIOSH as potential vendors members can do business with. 

GPOs can also help providers that want to modify their facilities. For example, Provista has contracts with remodeling consultants who can help design offices and rooms that promote social distancing and prevent unnecessary physical contact.

Non-acute care facilities that want to change what they’re buying or how their offices are designed should start by talking to their GPO. That call could save providers considerable time, money and headaches trying to solve problems on their own instead of leveraging proven GPO solutions.

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