Maine Medicine Weekly Update - April 3, 2021  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  Some Small Independent Physician Practices to Receive COVID Vaccines for Patients Next Week
•  Committee Reconsiders, & Unanimously Votes Down Nursing Practice Bill
•  COVID-19 Pre-Registration & Appointment System Website: VaccinateME
•  Maine Legislature “Adjourns” After Passing Two-Year State Budget; Committee Work Continues
•  Maine Community Action Partnership is Working for a Successful Vaccine Roll Out for All
•  Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Wednesday, April 7th
•  New Maine AAP Educational Webinar Series
•  PPE Available Through the MMA & ActionPPE
•  A Message from Maine Responds: Volunteer Opportunity
•  Maine Legislature Week 12 Update
•  Newly Introduced Bills in the Maine Legislature Between March 12 and March 30
•  Maine Legislature Public Hearings and Work Sessions
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  Maine CDC Physicians To Host Regular Clinician COVID Vaccine Info Sessions
•  Suicide Prevention and Management in Healthcare Practice Settings: A Comprehensive Evidence-Based Approach
•  AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
•  Nurse Practitioner
•  Medical Director - ME License Required
•  Practice Administrator
•  Physician
•  Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
•  Belgrade Regional Health Center Seeks a Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine)


Some Small Independent Physician Practices to Receive COVID Vaccines for Patients Next Week

Due to an anticipated increased supply of vaccines delivered to Maine next week, Maine CDC will start providing Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine doses (Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine) to independent community-based physician offices next week.


Due to an anticipated increased supply of vaccines delivered to Maine next week, Maine CDC will start providing Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine doses (Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine) to independent community-based physician offices next week. 

It is important to note that the process for ramping up vaccine delivery to smaller independent physician practices is dependent on vaccine availability throughout the state and the needs of targeting priority populations, among other factors. 

Why only J&J vaccine? 

Distributing the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine affords community clinics greater advantages than Pfizer or Moderna. For example, it does not have the same storage requirements. J&J still does come with some constraints including a requirement that timely reporting is done for every patient that receives the vaccine within 72 hours. The CDC will urge clinicians to get the data in as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 hours rather than wait closer the 72-hour standard. 

That’s great! How can my independent practice be in line to receive J&J doses for our patients? 

· Have a COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement with the state. There are currently around 30 independent practices in queue that have an approved COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement with the Maine Immunization Program. 

· The Maine Immunization Program’s existing process is to send a weekly email to all locations with an approved COVID-19 provider agreement with the state that asks how much of a supply the practice can use over the next 7-day distribution period and how many patients can plausibly be immunized at any location. 

· Maine CDC then reviews all requests and cross references them with pressing areas of need throughout the state and allocates doses based on the supply received from the federal government. 

· The Maine Medical Association is currently working with Maine CDC in developing specific communications with practices under an active COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement and those that wish to be an approved COVID-19 vaccine provider. 

Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Enrollment Webpage

CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement Application (PDF) 

COVID-19 Provider Enrollment Checklist (PDF) 

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider FAQ's (PDF) 

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Education Training (PDF) 

*Disregard the application process if already have an approved COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Agreement 

*The COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Agreement is separate from the traditional Maine Immunization Program Provider Agreement application and approval process. 

Why can’t independent physician practices get more? 

Due to supply constraints, Maine CDC will first focus on community practices that can potentially fill pockets of need and located in areas with limited other vaccine opportunities. 

The state is also in the process of activating other COVID-19 vaccine policies targeting more specific high-risk populations using J&J supplies such as: 

· Patients being discharged from hospital inpatient, ED, or behavioral health units that may be at risk for readmission and bring COVID back into the hospital setting. 

· Patients discharged to long-term care settings and psychiatric hospitals. 

· Addressing prison vaccine outbreaks and medically vulnerable and non-ambulatory people in home care settings in their 70s and 80s. 

Of course, the goal is herd immunity, getting as close to 75% vaccinated in all communities. If we are at 80% in some places and 35% in some others with the summer tourist and recreation season in sight it won’t be enough for effective herd immunity. 

If my practice starts receiving vaccines from Maine CDC do we have to accept doses every week and/or are we then guaranteed to have consistent delivery week-to-week on an ongoing bases?

Receiving vaccine in one week is not a guarantee that you will receive more the following week or in subsequent weeks. However, practices may be self-determining with their requests and ask for doses in one week, pass the next week or for a few weeks, and then request more future doses depending on practice workflow and patient availability. 

What are some J&J vaccine specifics? 

The J&J vaccine comes in vials of 5 doses which need to be used within 2-hours after puncture. 

US FDA Information on J&J’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine including translation document of the Fact Sheet for recipients and caregivers. 

Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for clinicians 

Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for patients 

Frequently Asked Questions on the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine 

Important Notes: 

· Deliveries to Maine by the federal government are increasing but we are still supply constrained. Not every practice that starts receiving vaccines will continue getting vaccines and some that continue receiving vaccines may not get the amount requested. Some flexibility will be expected. 

· Maine can expect variances in the number of J&J vaccines delivered in coming weeks. While the order for Maine next week is approximately 20,000 doses there may be much less in following weeks but will rise again as production increases. 

· If you have not done so already, and are interested in having a COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement approved by the Maine Immunization Program visit. 

It is important for the MMA to keep working closely on a consistent message with Maine CDC on vaccine distribution, administration, and education. The vaccines are critical, and we must be leaders in advocating for a continued strong demand for the vaccine by Maine people in order to get the lives of our patients back to a better sense of normalcy. 

MMA Leadership wishes to thank Governor Mills, her staff, Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and her staff, especially Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah, M.D. Special thanks are also in order to MMA President, Karen Saylor, M.D., and MMA Board Chair, Erik Steele, D.O., for their tireless efforts over the past few months for engaging state leaders in strongly advocating for their smaller independent community practice colleagues during the pandemic and beyond. The MMA’s got your back.