COVID 19: Information and Resources
NJAASC has curated authoritative information and a list of resources for our Membership’s reference. We will continue to update this as more information becomes available.

 
FROM ICAR TEAM LEAD

Hi ICAR partners,

CDC recently posted:
  • “Interim Additional Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities” available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/dialysis.html 
  • Updated Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html. Some key points include:
  • The use of facemasks are an acceptable alternative when the supply chain of respirators cannot meet the demand. During this time, available respirators should be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to HCP; and
  • Updated recommendations include cohorting and the need for an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR). Patients with known or suspected COVID-19 should be cared for in a single-person room with the door closed. AIIRs should be reserved for patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures. In particular, procedures that are likely to induce coughing (e.g., sputum induction, open suctioning of airways) should be performed cautiously and avoided if possible.

Additionally, in the event you care for a COVID-19 case, please review NJDOH COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals at: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_healthcare.shtml

Jessica – on behalf of the ICAR team - Bridget Farrell, Carol Genese, Melody Lee

Jessica Arias, BSN, RN, CIC
Infection Control Assessment Response (ICAR) Team Lead | Infection Preventionist
Infectious and Zoonotic Disease Program | Communicable Disease Service 
Division of Epidemiology, Environmental, and Occupational Health | New Jersey Department of Health
P.O. Box 369 Trenton, NJ 08625| Phone 609.826.5964 | Fax 609.292.5811
FROM NJDOH
DOH Stakeholder Guidance – Cmsr. Persichilli
a. Amplify DOH and CDC messaging 
b. Communicate regularly and effectively with employees, patients, families, and visitors/vendors 
c. Direct stakeholders to guidance and factual resources from DOH and CDC  

Q&A 
Resources 
• DOH COVID-19 Webpage: 
• NJ Coronavirus Hotline: 1-800-222-1222 
• CDC guidance for dialysis safety including infection prevention tools: https://www.cdc.gov/dialysis/index.html 
• Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities: 
• CDC Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities: 
• Handwashing flyers are available in high resolution in English and Spanish 

COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals
 
Purpose: Due to their often extensive and close contact with vulnerable individuals in healthcare settings, NJDOH recommends a conservative approach to HCP monitoring and restrictions from work to quickly identify early symptoms and prevent transmission from potentially contagious HCP to patients, HCP, and visitors. Healthcare facilities (HCFs) should have a low threshold for evaluating symptoms and testing symptomatic HCP, particularly those who fall into the high- and medium-risk categories described in this guidance. HCFs, in consultation with public health authorities, should use clinical judgment as well as the principles outlined in this guidance to assign risk and determine need for work restrictions. 
 
To help HCFs document and assess HCP risk and exposure, NJDOH has developed the below series of tools and checklists:
 
 
  • This document can be used to assess the type of potential exposure HCP may have experienced while caring for the COVID-19 patient and assign risk level (High, Medium, Low or No Risk). It also provides guidance on the management of exposed HCP.
 
 
  • This tool can be used to assess HCP exposure risk prior to the patient being identified as having COVID-19.
 
 
  • This tool can be used to monitor and assess the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for HCP caring for the COVID-19 patient after they have been identified in the facility. 
 
 
  • This tool can be used by a HCF or local health department (LHD) to assist HCP with daily symptom monitoring.
 
 
  • This tool can be used by a HCF or local health department (LHD) track HCP under active monitoring.



FROM HORIZON BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD

Protecting your health and well-being.

Your health and well-being are top priorities for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ). That’s why, we’re taking the following steps for our fully insured members, as well as members enrolled in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees' Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) health plans.

Effective immediately, Horizon BCBSNJ is:
  • Waiving cost sharing obligations (out-of-pocket costs) for all services associated with the diagnosis of COVID-19 per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. This includes:
  • Waiving cost sharing obligations for all charges associated with a visit to an in-network primary care doctor or urgent care center or an in-network or out-of-network Emergency Room (ER) for evaluation of symptoms identified by the CDC as possible indicators of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough and shortness of breath).
  • Waiving cost sharing obligations for all charges associated with a visit to an in-network primary care doctor or urgent care center or an in-network or out-of-network ER for COVID-19 testing for members who know they have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Waiving cost sharing obligations at in-network and out-of-network labs for charges associated with the delivery of services connected to CDC-approved lab studies or tests for COVID-19 for members who know they have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 or with symptoms identified by the CDC as possible indicators of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough and shortness of breath).  
This means your doctor or other health care professional should not collect your copay, coinsurance or deductible for care to diagnose COVID-19. 

Additionally, Horizon BCBSNJ is:
  • Waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with your benefit plan) and/or encouraging you to use 90-day mail order benefit. We will also ensure formulary flexibility if there are shortages or access issues, and not hold patients liable for additional charges stemming from obtaining a non-preferred medication resulting from shortages or access issues.
As an added resource for our members during this evolving public health crisis, Horizon BCBSNJ is providing at no cost  24/7 access to licensed nurses who can help members who have symptoms that are consistent with the suspected coronavirus 2019 infection.

Learn more about what Horizon BCBSNJ is doing to ensure our members have continued access to care.


FROM APIC
In response to COVID-19, APIC is providing  complimentary access  to our new  APIC Text Chapter Collection: Outbreak Preparedness and Response  now through Sept 30. Learn how to access this important resource  here .

Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents: 
 
Novel coronavirus is putting the whole world on alert


FROM PREMIER SAFETY INSTITUTE


FROM THE CDC


FROM JDJ CONSULTING
Drug Shortages and Backorders
Amid the health climate, JDJ Consulting has been watching the current drug shortages closely. What should you do if you're experiencing difficulties acquiring certain drugs?


What to do:
1. Monitor the FDA website for drug shortages. Here is the link to the FDA's Drug Shortage Database:

2. Use the Critical Drug Shortage Policy at your center to avoid throwing away expired medications that are unavailable to purchase. JDJ Consulting's SAMPLE Critical Drug Shortage Policy is available HERE .

* Fill out the form for each drug with an FDA Extended Date and keep on file. 
* No expired drugs can be in stock unless the medical staff approve.
* The FDA is not recommending the Extended Dates to be relabeled. When products become available, the facility should replace the extended date product.


Tell us what you think: info@njaasc.org


Questions? Contact Jeff Shanton at  jshanton@jssurgctr.com