FDA EUA & CDC Recommendation: Pfizer 6m-4y and Moderna 6m-5y

The following update information concerning vaccine rollout in North Carolina was provided by Ryan Jury, RN, MBA, COVID-19 Vaccine Program Director, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:

  1. State Provider Communication sent on Tuesday, June 21st.
  2. State Press Release from Saturday
  3. The provider/community toolkit will be released in the coming days.
  4. The Statewide Standing Order FDA EUA Pfizer 6m-4y and Moderna 6m-5y are now published online and available.
  5. Please read and review the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers:

HIPAA Privacy and Coronavirus

2020 Alliance sponsor feature article courtesy of Total Medical Compliance

While preparing and treating patients that have or might have novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV), it is important to remember your patient’s privacy rights. HIPAA permits the sharing of patient’s protected health information (PHI) for public health activities such as this without a patient authorization.

With whom and when can you share PHI for public health activities? Generally, PHI can be shared with:

  • entities that are permitted by law to collect and receive health information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease such as the CDC or a state or local health department,
  • organizations such as the American Red Cross,
  • others at risk of contracting or spreading a disease or condition if state law authorizes the covered entity to notify others as necessary to prevent or control the spread of the disease, and
  • others involved in the patient’s care such as family and friends. Providers should use their professional judgement here and obtain verbal consent from the patient, if possible.

PHI should not be shared with the media or others not involved in a patient’s care without the patient’s authorization.

The HIPAA minimum necessary standard still applies to the use and disclosure of PHI. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that entities may rely on representations from the CDC or other public health department that the PHI requested by them about all patients exposed to or suspected or confirmed to have novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is the minimum necessary. In addition, a covered entity should continue to limit access to PHI to only those workforce members who need it to carry out their duties.

NC DHHS COVID-19 Healthcare Professional Webinar Series

NC DHHS COVID-19 Healthcare
Professional Webinar Series

in partnership with CCNC and AHEC

CCNC and NC AHEC are working together with NC DHHS to help North Carolina’s healthcare providers address the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring subject-matter experts from CCNC, NC AHEC and representatives of the NC DHHS, this weekly webinar series will address new options for telephonic and telehealth delivery of care for Medicaid beneficiaries, provide a one-stop location gathering the latest information from NC DHHS and the CDC, and deliver practice support coaching to help practices implement new clinical workflows in response to the changing demands of COVID-19.

Register in advance for this webinar:

2020 NCMGMA Annual Conference Statement on Coronavirus

2020 NCMGMA Annual Conference Statement on Coronavirus

We understand many of you have concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to be as transparent as possible and share information about how we are following developments relating to the coronavirus and what we are doing to prepare for our upcoming Conference in Myrtle Beach.

Our NCMGMA Annual Conference is currently scheduled to proceed May 13-15, 2020 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Since this meeting is not slated to occur for another two months – we believe that it would be premature at this juncture to postpone or cancel the meeting. Accordingly, registration for the conference remains open and you are able to make hotel reservations under the block. We do want to assure you, however, that we recognize that this is an extremely fluid and rapidly evolving situation and that NCMGMA will continue to actively monitor the situation and heed guidance provided by the CDC and NCDHHS.

Situation Monitoring

  • NCMGMA is committed to hosting a safe and successful conference. Our top priority is the health and safety of all participants, including attendees, sponsors/exhibitors, staff, and others involved in the conference.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has publicly deemed the health risk of coronavirus for the general American public to be low at this time.
  • NCMGMA is actively monitoring CDC and HHS updates for further information.
  • NCMGMA staff is working closely with our hotel partner, Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, and local Myrtle Beach authorities to evaluate the situation and implement best practices.

We are committed to making the 2020 NCMGMA Annual Conference a safe, healthy and successful event. We will continue to keep you apprised as developments relating to the coronavirus occur. If you have any questions about the upcoming event, please contact us at info@ncmgm.org.

COVID-19: What to Know as a Healthcare Provider

Originally published in the March 5, 2020 issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

As Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, it is critical that the healthcare community remains informed on the latest guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including CDC clinical criteria for “persons under investigation” and treatment guidelines for confirmed COVID-19 cases. As the Administration takes steps to mitigate growing concerns around the virus, Congress is working to pass supplemental funding to contain and treat its associated illness. The “Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act” includes a provision to allow the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to waive certain Medicare telehealth restrictions during the coronavirus public emergency. MGMA Government Affairs will continue to monitor and report on this issue as it develops.

Governor’s Task Force Encourages North Carolinians to Increase Preparedness Measures for COVID-19

February 26, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Task Force continues to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 infections occurring in North Carolina and is encouraging businesses, schools, health care providers, communities and individuals to prepare as well. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that Americans should be anticipating and preparing for the possibility of widespread COVID-19 in the United States. Since late January, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services(NCDHHS) and NC Emergency Management (NCEM) have been operating a team to coordinate efforts around the state’s response. In early February, Governor Cooper formalized this effort with the creation of the COVID-19 Task Force.

“NCDHHS has been coordinating with the CDC and state and local partners to prepare for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak in China,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for NCDHHS. “We are asking North Carolinians to continue to plan ahead for the possibility of the spread of the infection, while the risk for North Carolina is currently low.”

NCDHHS and NCEM are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to any potential isolated cases that might occur in the state and prepare North Carolinians to be ready in the event of more widespread, national COVID-19 transmission. The Task Force is developing response plans that address a range of possible scenarios. NCDHHS continues to host regular calls with local health providers and partners, develop and disseminate information and guidance and respond to questions from providers and communities.

“We have been working closely with our Public Health and Office of Emergency Medical Services partners to ensure our preparedness for all scenarios as it relates to COVID-19 infection,” said Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, who co-chairs the Governor’s Task Force with Dr. Tilson. “We would rather be over prepared to protect the health and well-being of North Carolinians.”

The following are common-sense measures all North Carolinians can take to prepare for potential widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the state:

Individuals, Families and Communities

  • NCDHHS recommends everyone continue taking precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses, which includes COVID-19.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • It is also good practice to start being more aware of the number of times a day your hands touch an object or hard surface and then touch your face without being washed. Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
  • Have a plan in case you need to miss work or other responsibilities due to personal illness or to care for a sick family member.
  • For pregnant women and children, review the information and guidance available on the CDC website.

Businesses and Employers

  • Practice good hand hygiene and encourage your employees and patrons to take common-sense precautions to protect themselves from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review your policies and procedures for remote or teleworking where possible.
    Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences.
  • Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Look for more updates and guidance for businesses available on the CDC website.

Health Care Providers and Hospitals

  • Review policies and procedures for infection prevention and mitigation, and make sure that all employees are aware of and following the appropriate steps.
  • Consider how to maximize the use of telemedicine, nurse triage lines and other options to prevent sick people from coming to clinics and emergency rooms if they have mild illness and do not need treatment.
  • Continue implementing the NCDHHS and CDC guidance for COVID-19 and continue working closely with your local health department and NCDHHS.
  • Look for more updates and information for health care professionals on the CDC website.

College, Universities, K-12 Schools and Child Care Facilities

  • Make sure all students, faculty and staff are aware of and practicing good hand hygiene and taking common-sense precautions to protect from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review absenteeism policies and procedures to make sure students or children, faculty and staff are not being encouraged to attend or work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Learn more about COVID-19 on the CDC website, and look for updates and information for schools, colleges and childcare.

No one group, ethnicity or population in the US is at a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 infection than others. While some people may be worried or have concerns about COVID-19, it is important to not let fear and anxiety lead to social stigma towards friends, neighbors or members of the community. Treat all people with compassion and speak up if you hear others making statements that cause stigma against people in your community.

All North Carolinians can better prepare for COVID-19 by getting up-to-date information directly from reliable sources like NCDHHS and the CDC. The COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a global flood of misinformation from unreliable sources. Be thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus and make sure you are separating rumor from fact before you act.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

If you have questions or concerns, call the COVID-19 Helpline toll free at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”

Governor Cooper Directs Creation of Novel Coronavirus Task Force to Continue Protective Efforts

February 11, 2020

Today, Governor Roy Cooper formalized the state’s ongoing effort to monitor, prepare for and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus (CoVID-19) with a state Novel Coronavirus Task Force. The task force will continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and coordinate across state agencies to protect the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians.

The task force will be chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, North Carolina State Health Director and the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Mike Sprayberry, Director of North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), for the Department of Public Safety.

“Though currently the risk to North Carolinians is low, we are taking a proactive approach and are prepared for potential scenarios,” said Governor Cooper. “This task force will continue coordination between our agencies and federal partners so we can keep the public informed and safe.”

Currently, DHHS is working with local health departments and clinicians to evaluate any potential cases and coordinate care and testing as needed. Working closely with the CDC, the department is coordinating health information sharing as this situation continues to evolve. North Carolina has not had any confirmed cases of the virus.

The task force agencies will continue coordinating communications with local entities through the Department of Public Safety and its NCEM division’s traditional channels as needed.

The risk to the general public in North Carolina, especially without history of travel to China, is still considered very low at this time. Remember that the steps to take to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold could also help prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like 2019-nCoV:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are ill.

People who have questions or concerns related to 2019-nCoV can call 866-462-3821 for more information. Press 1 for English or to ask for a language interpreter. Spanish speakers should press 2. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “Chat.”

There are also resources available on the Division of Public Health website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and on the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.