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Maine Medicine Weekly Update: Jan 12, 2022

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The Biden Administration Issues Rules Requiring Health Insurers To Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests
news clip credit: USA Today

Private insurers will be required to cover the cost of eight at-home COVID-19 tests per person each month, starting January 15, the same way they now cover the cost of PCR lab tests.

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All Mainers 12 and Older are Now Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Shots

On, January 5, 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that COVID-19 booster shots are now available for Mainers age 12 and older who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine. See the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration for more detail.

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Maine CDC HAN: Using Therapeutics to Prevent and Treat COVID

A recent Maine CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) System Advisory provides updates on (1) the use of monoclonal antibody therapies and (2) the availability of oral antivirals and infusion therapies for outpatients with COVID-19. This alert also contains information on how healthcare providers and patients can access oral antivirals and infusion therapies, which must be started in the first few days after symptom onset. Finally, this alert provides information on a long-acting monoclonal antibody therapy for pre-exposure prophylaxis in immunocompromised patients.

The short of it is COVID therapeutic options are currently extremely limited and Maine public health officials are encouraging all sites that can to start offering IV remdesivir in the outpatient setting.

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FDA Shortens Duration Between Second Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Booster To Five Months

The Associated Press (1/7) reported the Food and Drug Administration late last week “shortened the time that people who received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine have to wait for a booster – to five months rather than six.” The AP added, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed” with the decision, which is “in line with new recommendations for recipients of the Pfizer vaccine.”

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Two Doses of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine 91% Effective In Preventing MIS-C In 12- To 18-Year-Olds

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds two doses of the Pfizer vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in 12- to 18-year-olds.

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AMA Calls Out CDC's 'Confusing' COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

  • The American Medical Association slammed the Center for Disease Control ad Prevention's new "confusing" COVID-19 isolation guidelines. 
  • AMA Leadership said a shortened isolation period could "put our patients at risk," according to a statement. 
  • The CDC has said the new isolation guidelines were based on what the CDC "thought people would be able to tolerate."
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MHA Asks Governor for Financial Help for Hospitals
news clip credit: Portland Press Herald

Last month, the Maine Hospital Association sent a request to Governor Mills for state financial assistance for Maine’s hospitals.

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Governor Announces More Maine National Guard Troops to Support COVID-19 Surge in Hospitals

Governor Janet Mills has announced that she will activate up to an additional 169 members of the Maine National Guard to help alleviate short-term capacity constraints at hospitals and maintain access to inpatient health care for Maine people amid record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Federal Emergency Management Association also approved Maine’s request for two Federal COVID-19 Surge Response Teams for MaineHealth and Central Maine Medical Center.

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JAMA Network: A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID

A recent JAMA Viewpoint piece outlines, the “new normal” requires recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more. COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined.

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Changes to Massachusetts COVID-19 Hospitalization Reporting Taking Effect

The state Department of Public Health said hospitals will start reporting next week whether admissions are primary or incidental to the coronavirus.

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NEJM Evidence: A New Digital Journal

NEJM Evidence, a new monthly digital journal from NEJM Group, presents innovative original research and fresh, bold ideas in clinical trial design and clinical decision-making.

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Press Herald Recognizes MMA Stance on COVID Misinformation; Ellsworth Physician Under Investigation

The Portland Press Herald Editorial Board on January 5 (COVID misinformation out of place on panel) recognized MMA leaders for condemning the “small minority” of physicians giving patients dangerous advice on COVID-19.

The Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH) reprinted the PPH editorial earlier this week. Related to the legislative briefing, Maine Public reported Tuesday that the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine moved to temporarily suspend the license of one of the physician participants who took part in the event (Ellsworth doctor faces license suspension over COVID misinformation allegations).

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Damariscotta Doctor Elected to Maine Medical Association Board
The Lincoln County News

After 28 years practicing medicine in Damariscotta, Dr. Minda Gold was elected to the 26-seat Maine Medical Association Board of Directors this fall.

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US DHHS Secretary Orders Medicare To “Reassess” Proposed Premium Increase

 Secretary Of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra has ordered Medicare to “reassess” a proposed premium increase after the company that produces the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm announced a 50% price drop on January 1.

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Maine AAP, Partnership for Children's Oral Health, Count ME In Surbey Request

The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is working with the Partnership for Children's Oral Health and the Count ME In organization on a pilot to look at how health factors impact student absenteeism, and how schools, medical and dental practices and families could work together for better student outcomes.

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Open Enrollment For 2022 Individual Health Plans

The 2022 individual and family health plan open enrollment period is NOW through Jan. 15, 2022.

The time period for health coverage to start Jan. 1, 2022, has passed but for coverage to start Feb. 1, 2022, patients can buy a plan now through January 15, 2022.

Patients can visit CoverME.gov, Maine's new Health Insurance Marketplace, to shop for and select affordable health insurance coverage for 2022 during the Open Enrollment period now under way.

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Maine AAP: Innovating / Integrating our Way Out of Maine's Oral Health Crisis (Jan 20)

Primary care providers have the greatest access to children when prevention matters most: before the decay process starts! Through innovations in disease prevention and new models of care delivery, dental and medical teams combine to reduce dental disease burden in Maine’s children. Attend this program to learn more!

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Kick-Off Webinar for Implementing the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health (AIM) Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Bundle in Maine - January 26 from 12-1pm

Join the Maine Medical Association, Center for Quality Improvement (MMA-CQI), in partnership with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, from 12 – 1 p.m. and learn about the AIM Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Bundle and efforts to implement this bundle in Maine.

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Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings

Below you will find an on-going list of Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings. Any questions should be referred to the contact person listed for each specialty.

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Senior Physician Executive (SPE) - Northern Light Health

Northern Light Health is seeking a Senior Physician Executive (SPE) to lead our Central region member organizations.
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Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care

Nasson Health Care is seeking a qualified Nurse Practitioner to work collaboratively with a team of health and administrative professionals providing comprehensive primary care to patients while utilizing the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care delivery.
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Physician - Nasson Health Care

Nasson Health Care is seeking a qualified Physician to work collaboratively with a team of health professionals providing comprehensive primary care to patients while utilizing the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care delivery.
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Transformational OB/GYN or Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician leader

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine is actively seeking a transformational OB/GYN or Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician leader to guide the evolution of our Women’s Health services. Read More

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) - Greater Portland Health

The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) at Greater Portland Health provides high quality, team based psychiatric care services to patients of all ages.
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