COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

COVID 19 Vaccine Updates

sccfreevax.com
VACCINE APPOINTMENTS

Due to limited quantities of vaccine, health systems in Santa Clara County must limit vaccination to those individuals who meet criteria set forth by the CDC and California Department of Public Health.

As the process continues, guidance is changing frequently; we encourage you to monitor the County’s COVID-19 website www.sccfreevax.com for the latest information on eligibility and online vaccination appointment scheduling options.

The State of California has now authorized all healthcare systems statewide to vaccinate any persons age 65 and older, in addition to continuing vaccinations for healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. However, due to the limited supply of vaccine, most healthcare systems in our County are offering vaccination only to people age 75 and older at this time.

We recommend eligible patients with internet access use the online scheduling portal options on www.sccfreevax.com. Eligible patients without internet access should call the Santa Clara County Health Department COVID Vaccination Line at (408) 970-2000 for assistance scheduling their vaccine.

SCCIPA Patient

To stay informed of current on Shelter-In-Place (SIP) orders and other guidance on testing and vaccinations during the pandemic please visit the SCC Public Health, CDC and other local resources:

Santa Clara County Public Health Department

CDC

Mercury News

SF Chronicle: (including Coronavirus Tracker)

When you do have to go out for essential items (i.e. food, medications), please take every precaution as noted here:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Don’t neglect the web areas between the fingers and thumbs.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face; particularly your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you are sick, but not sick enough to seek medical attention, stay home to limit possible spread to others.
  • When you have to travel outside the home, wear a facemask.

SCCIPA Health Care Provider

VACCINE UPDATE 01/07/2021

Providers, Thank you for all you have done to support the SCCIPA community during this pandemic! We are grateful for all that our physicians are doing and glad to support you wherever we can in these extraordinary times.

SCCIPA has inquiries out with the state and local agencies asking about getting our providers vaccinated early in the process. We recognize that independent providers were not considered initially, but have pushed to ensure that such a key portion of the healthcare community is accounted for in the process.

Our efforts seem to have paid off as we have just been informed that healthcare workers who are not patients of Kaiser, PAMF, Stanford, or Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics can soon be vaccinated through the County’s Health and Hospital System OR El Camino Health – First Street Clinic. For more information from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department on scheduling a vaccine appointment, please visit https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/pages/covid19-vaccine-information-for-public.aspx

If you have any questions, please contact your Provider Relations Representative, or email us at providersrv@PPMSI.com


TELEMEDICINE UPDATES 3/18/2020

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On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, CMS broadened access to telehealth services on a temporary and emergency basis to Medicare beneficiaries so they can receive services from their doctors without having to travel to a doctor’s office. With the emergence of COVID-19, the expanding use of technology allows people to maintain access to care while limiting community spread of the virus. SCCIPA wishes to ensure patient access to care is maintained during this health crisis and will reimburse providers for telehealth services for both Commercial HMO and Medicare Advantage patients alike.

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SHELTER IN PLACE, ELECTIVE PROCEDURES & TELEMEDICINE UPDATES 3/16/2020

Click for more information [https://www.sccipa.com/documents/Provider_Notice_COVID19_3.16.2020.pdf]

The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly. San Francisco Bay Area counties will be placed on a “shelter in place” order for the following counties: San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda. It is to take effect 12:01AM Tuesday March 17, 2020 and stay in place until at least April 7, 2020. All of this panic in our county, our country and our world are placing a huge burden on the Healthcare System and everyone’s medical practice. We want you to know that SCCIPA/PPMSI is well aware of your crisis and is here to help in any way possible. To support the order, PPMSI has executed its remote workforce business continuity plan to ensure the team is faithfully doing all the tasks you have come to expect from SCCIPA including but not limited to processing authorizations, paying claims and performing case management. The following are thoughts to help with your practice during this crisis:

  • Use your office space to help create Social Distancing
  • Keep the examination and consultation rooms full with individual patients and those who came with them to help reduce crowding in the waiting room.
  • When the waiting room gets crowded have patients wait in their car and notify them by cell phone when it is their turn to come to the office and keep them informed during this process.
  • Use telemedicine as much as possible. Be sure to document details of the call in the patient record. SCCIPA will pay for codes 99441, 99442, 99443 at CMS rates when billed with the requisite Modifier (GT, GQ, GO or 95) to denote the type of technology used along with Place of Service Code ’02’ Telehealth.

COVID-19 testing in Santa Clara County is still not easily available but for sure it will not be done in the physician’s office in the near term. Use telemedicine to direct appropriate symptomatic patients and exposed high risk patients to known testing sites such as Hospital ER’s and please let the ER’s know when you are sending a patient for testing.

The American College of Surgeons and the U.S. Surgeon General have sent out recommendations for surgeons in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Their goal: to preserve acute care hospitals’ capacity to provide services to COVID-19 patients. To effect that goal, they asked that hospitals, hospital systems, and surgeons “thoughtfully review all scheduled elective procedures.” Consistent with those recommendations, please consider postponing, for at least 30 days, any surgery or procedure that meets the following criteria:

(a) it is to be performed in one of our acute care hospitals; and (b) its postponement will not, in your judgment, adversely affect the patient’s short or long-term health. Contact facility schedulers to assist with rescheduling any surgery or procedure that meets these criteria.


SCREENING 3/11/2020

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Importantly, the CDC has updated information for healthcare professionals. We encourage you to check their website regularly for the latest advice: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html. In brief, it is recommended that when assessing suspect persons with or without symptoms, every effort should be made to interview the Persons Under Investigation (PUI) by telephone, text, or video. Additionally, taken directly from the CDC website: Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness.

Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza. Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset. LabCorp and Quest have testing capability, but lab personnel cannot collect specimens. Tests must be ordered, and specimens collected, by a physician or other authorized healthcare provider. Further information related to lab testing can be found here: https://www.labcorp.com/information-labcorp-about-coronavirus-disease-2019- covid-19.