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This year brings with it the hope that life will return to normal, from being able to go back to the office and send children to school to being able to travel and socialize again. To ensure these activities are safe, enough people need to get vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is thought that we need 75 to 85% coverage by mid-year to reach a herd immunity level that would allow a sense of normalcy by the end of 2021. Read on to learn how multiple COVID-19 vaccines, different storage requirements, and social perception will add to the challenges of vaccine management this year. The good news is that there is a way for health practices to overcome these obstacles more easily.
1. Demonstrating the Importance of Vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccination program is more complex and on a greater scale than anything we’ve ever experienced. By comparison, the flu vaccine is a success with around 40 to 50% coverage. In the US alone, we will need to administer over 100 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines to reach the required herd immunity level to end this pandemic. Although walk-ins make it easier for members of the general public to get vaccinated and can ensure higher rates of immunization, this may not be an option for the COVID-19 vaccine due to limited stock, social distancing requirements, and state communication and regulations.
The key to encouraging the population to get vaccinated will be through advocacy and awareness campaigns. This is essential for any vaccination program, but especially the COVID-19 vaccine. Fear of these new vaccines and misinformation about them could result in patients opting out and slowing down the coverage needed for success. As a practice, you have likely felt the strain from the pandemic and are working hard to secure the vaccinations that will put it to an end. Promoting the importance of immunization and easing concerns can ensure your patients make and keep their appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.
2. Managing Multiple Vaccine Manufacturers
In addition to flu vaccines, Vaccines for Children (VFC), and other vaccines, there are multiple COVID-19 manufacturers to manage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already authorized and recommended two vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna). Two additional vaccines are being prepared for Phase 3 clinical trials in the US and there are multiple other vaccines in development. In the end, there could be more than half a dozen COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers.
Each of these manufacturers has created a vaccine that requires a different storage temperature and either one or two doses within a specific timeframe. Tracking lots is part of any vaccine stock management program, but with the limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines it will be even more important to know how many doses are available at your practice at any time. Being able to move vaccines around when there isn’t a steady supply will be essential to issuing booster doses to the right patient at the right time. The two-dose requirement is even more stringent when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, adding yet another challenge for practices.
COVID-19 vaccine recipients will also need to be proven eligible based on their age, occupation, and preexisting conditions and according to the phased allocation plan. Practices will need to schedule appointments and follow-ups with the utmost care, all while maintaining compliance and performing all their other health services.
3. Keeping Vaccines Safely Stored
Like over 90% of vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines need to be stored at specific temperatures to remain safe and effective. Balancing different vaccine temperature needs from refrigerated (between 2 and 8°C) through frozen (between -15° and -25°C) to ultra-cold (between -60° and -80°C) will become complicated yet critical at your practice. Preparation and staff training on the new COVID-19 vaccines will be necessary for effective storage and handling.
Practices may need multiple units to accommodate the larger inventory and different temperature requirements of their vaccines. What’s more, each of these units must provide accurate temperature control and monitoring to prevent temperature excursion events that can damage the vaccines. Unfortunately, many vaccine stock management systems require users to store, track, and monitor inventory manually, which takes time and makes it difficult to scale. These legacy systems are also subject to human error and mechanical failure.
With advanced cold storage systems, vaccines can remain effective without any manual efforts until patients are ready and allowed to get them. This can ensure peace of mind and extra time for both patients and practices during the busy COVID-19 vaccine rollout period.
How Your Practice Can Overcome These Challenges
You need to consider how your practice will manage and store your vaccines as safely and effectively as possible. The key to this is a centralized system that allows you to automate the entire vaccination process, from receipt to patient administration, so you can focus on patient care and vaccine advocacy.
The AccuShelf Inventory Management System allows you to manage and monitor vaccines across various storage temperature requirements with ease. The technology captures the lot, expiry, and dose of every vaccine through a wireless scanner. Automatic updates help you keep track of puncture times, dose counts, and second shots, as well as low or expiring inventory. Integrated digital data loggers can be attached to any cold storage device to provide real-time temperature monitoring and alerts. With cloud-based reports and complete vaccination data, your inventory is always stored and administered correctly.
The AccuVax Vaccine Management System also helps you overcome the challenges of COVID-19 vaccine storage and workflows. As a purpose-built vaccine system and emerging standard in vaccine stock management, this technology guarantees temperature control for frozen and refrigerated vaccines. With a built-in battery pack, you can ensure your vaccines are still kept safe for up to 15 hours after a power outage. Real-time inventory tracking helps you monitor every single vial and stay on top of compliance.
Find out how you can prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine and improve your vaccine stock management in 2021. Request a demo now to see how the AccuShelf and AccuVax systems can help your practice get ready for the rollout.
Complete COVID-19 Provider Agreement and Profile
If you are already enrolled in ImmPRINT, the Provider Agreement and Profile MUST still be completed. Utilize and follow the instructional video(s): “Initial Site Enrollment” and “COVID-19 Special Project Enrollment”
COVID-19 Provider Agreement Requirements Summary
- Administer vaccine in accordance with all CDC requirements and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Enter all COVID-19 vaccine administered doses required data elements within 24 hours into ImmPRINT. Please include the patient’s email for second dose reminder
- Preserve administration records for a minimum of 3 years
- Do not sell or seek reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccine and any adjuvant, syringes, needles, or other constituent products and ancillary supplies provided by federal government
- Administer COVID-19 vaccine regardless of the vaccine recipient’s ability to pay COVID-19 vaccine administration fees
- Provide EUA fact sheet or Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) before administering COVID-19 vaccine
- Conduct COVID-19 vaccination services in compliance with CDC’s Guidance, including https://vaccinefinder.org/ daily inventory, for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic for safe delivery of vaccines.
- Comply with CDC requirements for COVID-19 vaccine management
- Store an handle COVID-19 vaccines properly, maintain cold chain conditions, and chain of custody at all times
- Monitor vaccine-storage-unit temperatures at all times. ADPH will provide when available for ultra-cold vaccine
- Comply with AL’s Immunization Division guidance for temperature excursions supplied by IMM field staff
- Monitor and comply with COVID-19 vaccine expiration dates
- Report the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine and adjuvants that were unused, spoiled, expired, or wasted in ImmPRINT when available.
- Comply with all federal instructions and timelines for disposing COVID-19 vaccine and adjuvant when available
- Report moderate and severe adverse events following vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), https://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index.jsp.
- Provide a completed COVID-19 vaccination record card to every COVID-19 vaccine recipient as a reminder for second dose if applicable
Utilize and follow the instructional video titled Vaccine Ordering Management System on the ADPH website (link below)
- Link to the ImmPRINT roadmap: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/assets/immprint_registration_roadmap.pdf
- COVID-19 Vaccine Expiration Date Tracking Tool: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/assets/covid19_pfizervaccine_expiration_tracking.pdf
- View the CDC video “COVID-19 Vaccine Training Module- General Overview of Immunization Best Practices for Healthcare Providers” https://www2.cdc.gov/vaccines/ed/covid19/
- View the ADPH Video “ Ordering COVID-19 Vaccine” https://youtu.be/IJ2FgLcAtF4
- Administrative cost for vaccine for the uninsured will be covered by HRSA – https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim and FAQs for COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment and Vaccine Administration | Official web site of the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (hrsa.gov)
Charles White, CEO of Franklin Primary Health Center welcomes students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine for their third and fourth years of clinical clerkships.
AMEC began sending its Pipeline students for their third and fourth year clerkships to the Franklin Clinic prior to the ACOM’s establishment. ACOM students have been going to Franklin Clinic for their clerkships since 2015-2016.
Students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine were welcomed by Franklin Clinic CEO, Charles White, and Chief Medical Director, Dr. Prince Uzoije, in 2018.
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TO: All Medicaid Enrolled Providers, FQHCs, and RHCs
RE: Patient 1st Program to End September 30, 2019
Alabama Coordinated Health Networks (ACHNs) will begin operation on October 1, 2019, and the Patient 1st Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) Program will end on September 30, 2019.
Important Dates to Remember:
July 15, 2019 Last day that DXC will accept Patient 1st Enrollment Agreements
August 14, 2019 Last day that a PMP may add or remove a recipient to or from their patient roster
October 4, 2019 Last day that a PMP will receive Patient 1st adjustments (first checkwrite in October)
If you have any questions about the Patient 1st program, please contact Latonda Cunningham at 334-353-4122 or email her at Latonda.email@example.com.
Prepare Now for the ACHN Program:
Schedule appointments as soon as possible with those patients on your panel, especially those that have not been seen in the previous 2 years, in order to ensure your provided services are considered when patients are attributed in October 2019.
If you have questions about the ACHN program, please email: ACHN@medicaid.alabama.gov and/or you may review ACHN information on the website at the following link: https://www.medicaid.alabama.gov/content/2.0_Newsroom/2.7_Special_Initiatives/2.7.6_ACHN.aspx.
Consumers’ Checkbook has created a tool to assist consumers with ACA marketplace options. The 2019 Benefits Summary has a side-by-side comparison of all 2019 plans available in each county in Alabama. You can access the guide for your state here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/svf18jynndg2t15/AADK7keIyJ9teHVhYciQXcRia?dl=0
Each county has its own excel file and includes tabs for each metal level of marketplace plans (Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, CSR Silver, Gold, and Platinum). As you’ll see in the first tab, it is noted that the information included in this resource may not be 100% accurate if there are errors in the source data. If you learn of more accurate information for any particular plan, you are able to go in and edit the document accordingly. The first tab also includes an explanation about the plan information included in each tab and how you can use this guide.
Those who download the guides, please share your contact information with Consumers’ Checkbook so that they can follow up and get feedback on ways to improve this tool over time. Assisters can submit their contact info here: https://tinyurl.com/Checkbook2019PlanBenefits
HHS is soliciting written comments on the proposed objectives for Healthy People 2030. They invite comments on the proposed Healthy People 2030 objectives, and the public can also propose their own objectives.
Previous public comments on the proposed Healthy People 2030 framework helped shape the vision, mission, foundational principles, plan of action, and overarching goals for Healthy People 2030. In this public comment period, HHS would like input on the proposed Core, Developmental, and Research objectives.
In response to stakeholder input, Healthy People 2030 will be a streamlined set of national health objectives guiding the nation in efforts to improve health. Heathy People 2030 will continue to represent critical public health priorities by addressing the leading causes of morbidity and mortality and driving action at the national, state, and local levels.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE): Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care (IBHPC) funding opportunity. The application cycle closes on January 28, 2019. The purpose of this program is to fund innovative training programs that integrate behavioral health care into primary care, particularly in rural and underserved settings with a special emphasis on the treatment of opioid use disorder.
This program supports HRSA’s priority around combatting the opioid crisis, as well as priorities around enhancing access to mental health services, by transforming the health workforce.
Applicants are tasked with enhancing primary care training using the Framework for Levels of Integrated Healthcare, establishing or enhancing training in opioid and other substance use disorders, and developing and implementing a systematic approach to improve trainee and provider wellness.
Approximately $4 million will be awarded to fund up to 10 grants. Applicants can apply for up to $250,000 per year for single projects and up to 400,000 for collaborative projects per year.