by Kate Alfano, CMS Communications Coordinator

It is difficult to quantify just how much has changed in the two months since COVID-19 was first confirmed in Colorado. Certainly many measure the vast economic impacts to the travel, restaurant and entertainment industries, and sports fans long for afternoons at the baseball field rooting for the home team. But at the Colorado Medical Society our concerns include practices struggling to stay afloat during the weeks without elective procedures or surgeries, with drastically lower patient visits or with lesser reimbursements from telehealth, plus challenges with testing, supplies of personal protective equipment, and concern for self, family and friends.

What is demonstrated throughout this issue of Colorado Medicine is that Colorado physicians are resilient, collaborative and creative, quickly pivoting to continue to serve patients and communities in this time of public health crisis. Though more time must pass and certain milestones must be achieved before returning to some semblance of normalcy, this timeline serves to show just how far Colorado has come.

March 5, 2020

  • CDPHE’s public health laboratory confirmed the first presumptive positive COVID-19 test result from Colorado

March 9, 2020

  • DOI issued a rule instructing insurance companies not to charge copays or deductibles for medical care related to testing for COVID-19

March 10, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis declared a disaster emergency due to the presence of coronavirus disease; the corresponding executive order was issued March 11

March 11, 2020

  • CDPHE opened the first drive-up testing center at the state lab in Lowry

March 12, 2020

  • CDPHE issued a public health order restricting visitors at all Colorado skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residencies and intermediate care facilities

March 13, 2020

  • CDPHE reported the first death from COVID-19 in El Paso County; reopened drive-up testing at Denver Coliseum
  • CMS Board of Directors met, suspending all in-person meetings and moving the CMS staff to remote work, launching the COVID-19 Basecamp discussion forum and launching the dedicated CMS.org COVID-19 micro website

March 14, 2020

  • Colorado General Assembly suspended session
  • Gov. Jared Polis ordered the closure of all downhill ski resorts
  • Total confirmed cases to date: 109; hospitalizations: 18; deaths: 4

March 15, 2020

  • CDPHE recommended canceling or postponing in-person events of 50 people or more

March 16, 2020

  • CDPHE issued a public health order to close all bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms and casinos

March 17, 2020

  • CMS sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis urging action to support health care workers

March 18, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis ordered the suspension of in-person instruction at all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the state of Colorado
  • CMS hosted the first virtual Physicians’ Town Hall meeting

March 19, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis ordered the temporary cessation of all elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures to preserve PPE and ventilators
  • DOI issued an emergency regulation opening a special health insurance enrollment period

March 21, 2020

  • CDPHE amended its statewide public health order on social distancing to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people

March 22, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order implementing a 50 percent reduction in non-essential business in-person work

March 24, 2020

  • Total confirmed cases to date: 1,081; hospitalizations: 221; deaths: 48

March 25, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective March 26
  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine hosted virtual Physicians’ Town Hall
  • CMS joined the American Medical Association (AMA) in a letter about supporting physician practices with the federal stimulus bill

March 27, 2020

  • Congress approved and President Donald Trump signed the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package
  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine released a statement on the ordering, prescribing and dispensing of COVID-19 medications; updated April 2
  • CMS and Foothills Medical Society hosted a webinar on telehealth
  • Colorado Physician Health Program, with the support of CMS, COPIC and the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) launched COVID-19 Care Line for Physicians: 720-810-9131

April 1, 2020

  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine hosted virtual Physicians’ Town Hall
  • CMS sent a letter to CDPHE urging the expansion of COVID-19 testing for health care workers

April 3, 2020

  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis urging him to expand liability protections for Colorado health care professionals
  • CMS hosted a webinar on financial assistance
  • DOI issued emergency regulation requiring insurance carriers to reimburse providers for telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency

April 5, 2020

  • The Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee (GEEERC) approved revised crisis standards of care for Colorado
  • Total confirmed cases to date: 5,150; hospitalizations: 1,262; deaths: 310

April 6, 2020

  • Gov. Jared Polis extended the statewide stay-at-home order through April 26

April 7, 2020

  • CDPHE activated crisis standards of care for personal protective equipment
  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine hosted virtual Physicians’ Town Hall
  • CMS joined the AMA in a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide one month of revenue to each physician enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid

April 8, 2020

  • CDPHE activated crisis standards of care for emergency medical services

April 10, 2020

  • CMS and the Colorado Psychiatric Society hosted a webinar on physician well-being
  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis in support of the crisis standards of care plan

April 13, 2020

  • CMS and CHA hosted Virtual Grand Rounds: Crisis Standards of Care

April 14, 2020

  • CHA and Colorado House of Medicine issued a joint statement in support of crisis standards of care for PPE

April 15, 2020

  • CMS and the Colorado House of Medicine hosted virtual Physicians’ Town Hall

April 18, 2020

  • DOI issued an emergency regulation requiring insurance carriers to reimburse providers for emergency services related to COVID-19, including out-of-network providers

April 20, 2020

  • Total confirmed cases to date: 10,106; people tested: 47,466; hospitalizations: 1,880; deaths: 449

April 26, 2020

  • Statewide stay-at-home order ended

April 27, 2020

  • Elective surgeries and procedures allowed to resume

May 4, 2020

  • Total confirmed cases to date: 16,635; people tested: 81,352; hospitalizations: 2,799; deaths: 842


Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Cover Story, Resources, COVID