COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus: Updates & Resources for Physicians

Precautions & PPE   |   Sourcing PPE    |   Therapeutics   |   Testing   |   Vaccines
Relief Aid   |   Telehealth  |   Billing & Coding  |   Licensure
CME   |   Volunteer Opportunities   |   Other Resources

Last Updated January 24, 2022


Recent Updates to this Page:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a web ordering portal for free at-home test kits via the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS) on January 18 at special.usps.com/testkits. The web page originally expected to house the order form, www.covidtests.gov, will direct patients to the USPS web page. A patient education flyer is available for download.
  • The Maryland Department of Health updated Maryland’s vaccination plan to allow children aged 12-15 to seek booster shots 5 months after their first series as of January 6, 2022.
  • The CDC updated their recommendations for mitigating personnel shortages and HCP return to work.
  • The FDA provided a list of COVID-19 tests which fail to detect the omicron variant.
  • MAb therapy update: Of the three MAb therapies stocked in Maryland, only sotrovimab has been demonstrated to retain activity against omicron. There is a nationwide shortage of sotrovimab, including in Maryland. MDH strongly encourages physicians to prioritize the use of sotrovimab for individuals who are 65 years old and older and individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
  • Antiviral oral therapeutics paxlovid and molnupiravir are available at select pharmacies. Further information is available below under therapeutics.  Read the full clinician letter for details.
  • The new Evusheld (AstraZeneca) MAb became available at select hospital sites on Dec. 30. Evusheld is indicated for moderately to severely immune-compromised patients over the age of 12 who are not currently positive for COVID-19, nor have been recently exposed, and either are contraindicated for COVID-19 vaccination or lacked an adequate immune response to vaccination. Read the full clinician letter for details, including hospital-based treatment sites.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MCMS has offered resources and support to physicians and patients, including timely clinical information and practice support resources. The following is a listing of resources by topic. If your practice needs support or has questions not addressed by these resources, please contact us.

Practice Information: Precautions and OSHA, PPE, Therapeutics, Testing, and Vaccines

Precautions, Exposure Control, and OSHA Recommendations

MCMS Guides for Physician Members

CDC Guidance

Temporary staffing needs? Check out MCMS’s ROI MEDStaffing Service.

Therapeutics

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

  • Of the three MAb therapies currently authorized for use, only sotrovimab has been demonstrated to retain efficacy against omicron.
  • There is a nationwide shortage of sotrovimab, including in Maryland. The state expects to run out in early to mid-January.
  • MDH strongly encourages physicians to prioritize the use of sotrovimab for individuals who are 65 years old and older and individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • To refer a patient for MAb use the CRISP eREFERRAL for Monoclonal Antibody Infusion or use the Maryland Referral Form for Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Treatment and fax it to the preferred site, with fax numbers provided on page four of the referral form.

Antiviral Oral Therapeutics: Paxlovid & Molnupiravir

  • Read the full clinician letter for details. 
  • The federal government is providing initial two-week allocations of 960 courses of Paxlovid and 4,500 courses of Molnupiravir to Maryland.
  • With the initial supply, prioritize the use of these medications to the highest-risk patients, following the National Institute of Health guidance developed for prioritization of monoclonal antibodies.
  • Prescribing: Physicians, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants only. While not a CDS, prescribers must add their DEA number to the prescription to assist in tracking and record-keeping of the medication. If a prescriber does not have a DEA number, one may substitute an NPI number.
  • 32 designated pharmacies have Molnupiravir and 15  designated pharmacies have Paxlovid. In order to avoid sending prescriptions and patients to a pharmacy that has depleted its stock, the State will provide an estimate of inventory by site posted on the MedChi website twice a day.

Evusheld (AstraZeneca) Long-Acting Antibody

  • The new Evusheld (AstraZeneca) MAb became available at select hospital sites on Dec. 30.
  • Evusheld is indicated for moderately to severely immune-compromised patients over the age of 12 who are not currently positive for COVID-19, nor have been recently exposed, and either are contraindicated for COVID-19 vaccination or lacked an adequate immune response to vaccination.
  • Read the full clinician letter for details, including treatment sites.

Sourcing PPE

Project N95 is a national clearinghouse for PPE procurement. Learn more.

Requesting Emergency Equipment and Supplies: To request emergency PPE supplies from MDH, fill out this request form online, or this Emergency Medical Material request form on pages 3 and 4 of this document, then send it to pper.phepr@montgomerycountymd.gov. The online form is the preferred method to submit a request.

HandCraft Services Member Advantage Program: Montgomery County Medical Society and HandCraft Linen & Uniform Services have joined together to provide our members with critical personal protective equipment (PPE) that is currently in shortage, particularly isolation gowns, barrier gowns, and scrubs. Depending on order size and products, your first delivery could arrive within the next few weeks; no upfront fees and no ancillary fees ever (i.e. Delivery, Environmental, and Energy ETC fees.) Learn more.

The following are vendors referred to us that still have stock of some PPE items:

Testing

Testing Information for Physicians

Testing Locations

Vaccines

While guidance continues to evolve and additional details are released each day, the MCMS Immunization Task Force has created this toolkit to provide updates on COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Montgomery County, collate guidance on vaccine handling and storage, promote strong vaccination recommendations to patients, and answer frequently asked questions from physician members.

Practice Economics: Relief Aid, Telemedicine, Billing, and Coding

Relief Aid

Telehealth

From MCMS

From MedChi

  • Telehealth Coding/Billing Guidelines
  • Telemedicine FAQ’s
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) and the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) launched a grant program to provide independent physician practices with five or fewer members, a year of complimentary access to DrFirst’s Backline Telehealth platform for physicians who enroll between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. Fill out the application and return it to MedChi via email to Andrea Mullin or mail to 1211 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 attn. Andrea Mullin.

From the American Medical Association (AMA)

From the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

From SimpleVisit

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Notice from the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Telehealth – OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for non-compliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  Learn more.

Billing and Coding

Licensure & Continuing Medical Education

Maryland Licensure Updates

In Executive Order 21-03-09-03, Governor Hogan postponed the expiration of professional licenses, including physician and other health occupations licenses. The Order extended the expiration date of all licenses through June 30, 2021. On Tuesday, June 15th, an additional “Grace Period” was established through August 15th, but no further. If you have not yet renewed yours, do so promptly.

MCMS’s recent article on licensure updates includes additional details on healthcare workforce flexibility.

COVID-19 CME

Volunteer Opportunities

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps are seeking volunteers to staff clinics and field hospitals. To register for Maryland Responds, please visit the Medical Reserve Corps here.

For the A-Z resource guide, and additional information on how to help – including Red Cross blood donations, Meals on Wheels, and other ways – visit Maryland Unites.

Montgomery County is also looking for volunteers – both clinical and non-clinical. If you are interested in assisting the community, please visit their website here. Physician volunteers are encouraged to contact Jessica Pryor at jessica.pryor@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Bethesda Transit has also provided information on essential transportation updates and how to help local businesses here.

Other Resources

The following is the contact information for clinicians to use for local health departments, if necessary:

COVID-19 Variant Information: The CDC is carefully monitoring COVID-19 variants. For the latest news, visit the CDC’s Science & Research update page.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the World Health Organization (WHO): WHO Coronavirus Home

From the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): Guidance for diagnosis and treatment, updated on a rolling basis.

Local Maryland/Montgomery County Resources

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