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January 8, 2021


 
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SPECIAL EDITION ISSUE

Maine DHHS, MMA, and MOA Collaborate to Offer COVID-19 Vaccine to Community Medical Practice Personnel

Key Points:

  • Maine DHHS is now on Phase 1a, Group 1, of its vaccination plan, which includes all outpatient acute care practices
  • The MMA and Maine Osteopathic Association have stepped forward to help coordinate administration
  • Reach out to MMA staff, if you haven’t already. They will help coordinate a vaccination site for you and your staff to contact ASAP

The State of Maine is working to vaccinate all eligible Maine residents as soon as possible. Maine is in the fourth week of vaccinations and has received just over 81,000 doses from the federal government—which covers roughly 6 percent of state residents. As of this writing, over 46,000 vaccines have been administered in state. That includes over 43,300 first doses and over 3,200 second doses. 

To date, the State has been guided by recommendations from the U.S. CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on how to allocate this limited supply. ACIP suggested that the initial distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 1a be used for health care personnel, including outpatient medical practices, and residents of long-term care facilities. Maine DHHS further refined Phase 1a into three groups within Phase 1a, including Group 1: Health Care Personnel Needed to Preserve Critical Health Care ServicesGroup 1 includes outpatient clinicians and their staff who provide care to patients at risk of hospitalization such as providers in medical practices providing acute care, dialysis centers, and oncology practices, regardless of employment status. 

The Maine Medical Association (MMA) and Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA) have stepped forward to help coordinate vaccinations for medical practice providers and patient-facing staff who are within Phase 1a, Group 1 as noted above. 

Specifically, the MMA and MOA have each engaged independent member practices to compile a needs assessment of the number and location of patient-facing clinicians and staff to vaccinate. In addition, a number of health systems, community hospitals, certain federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and larger independent physician locations have begun to reach out to community physicians. With this needs assessment, the MMA and MOA can connect patient-facing personnel with sites able to vaccinate them. This process should soon provide access to COVID-19 vaccines for physicians and their patient-facing staff, recognizing that this will depend on the supply of vaccine Maine receives from the federal government as well as through-put at vaccination sites. 

If you or your practice has already reached out to the MMA regarding COVID-19 vaccine, you should be contacted soon with information on organizations in your area that may be able to provide vaccinations. If you have not already made a request, please reach out as soon as possible by contacting Dan Morin, Director of Communications and Government Affairs at dmorin@mainemed.com  or tel. (207) 480-4199.  When making your request, please include the name and location of your practice; the total number of providers and practice staff who need to be vaccinated; and the name, phone and email of the appropriate contact at your practice. We encourage members to use MMA as your contact point, and not Maine DHHS or Maine CDC, with any questions, comments, concerns, or difficulties accessing a site for you, and your staff, to be vaccinated. 

“It’s been a heavy lift.” said MMA President, Karen Saylor, M.D. She added, “Maine has a unique health care landscape, geographically and demographically, not to mention the sizes of clinical practices range from a 23,000-employee health system down to the still active solo physician offices.” She explained, “It’s going to take getting down in the weeds to find local solutions to make it work. Our singular focus continues to be working side-by-side with Maine CDC until each physician practice has access so we can safely start vaccinating our high-risk patients.

 



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