COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It
COVID-19 By the Numbers (as of May 21):

  • Alameda County: 2,609 confirmed cases, 90 deaths. 81 patients are currently hospitalized (including City of Berkeley data).
  • Contra Costa County: 1,234 confirmed cases, 36 deaths. 14 patients are currently hospitalized.
  • California: 84,057 confirmed cases, 3,436 deaths. 4,735 patients are currently hospitalized with positive or suspected COVID-19 (as of May 20) .
  • US: 1,551,095 cases, 93,061 deaths.
SIREN: Gov. Proposes Swiping Prop 56 Funds

Last week, Governor Newsom released his updated state budget proposal . While the original proposal from January provided billions in new revenues and health care spending, the newly revised proposal reflects an economy battered by the fallout from COVID-19.

Gov. Newsom proposed taking virtually all of the Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax Revenue , which was initially intended to increase Medi-Cal provider rates, to help close the state’s budget deficit. CMA is urging the Legislature to stand with physicians to protect patient access to care and REJECT the Governor’s proposal to cut payments to Medi-Cal providers and eliminate the state’s $272 million provider loan repayment program.

We are asking physicians to CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS on Friday, May 22 and urge them to reject the Governor’s proposal. The more calls made, the more effective our advocacy efforts.  
In Other Political News...

California is providing state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults under the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Project . This funding will help support individuals who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the CARES Act and unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status.

Governor Newsom also recently signed an executive order on 11 issues related to COVID-19 .

Over in Washington, the House of Representatives passed "The Heroes Act" (HR 6800) on Friday, May 15. This comprehensive, $3 trillion package was introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and outlines priorities for a new COVID-19 relief bill.

Members of Governor Newsom's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to leaders in Congress, requesting that they pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments to help reopen economies and increase COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs.

California received their first shipment of remdesivir, the only antiviral drug effective against COVID-19 in clinical trials, from the federal government on May 12 and recently received their second shipment on May 19. CDPH will be allocating the doses proportionately to counties based on the number of hospitalized cases . The FDA has permitted the emergency use of remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and has provided a fact sheet for health care providers for the use of remdesivir .
Slowly Getting Back to Normal

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced a new attestation opportunity for counties to open additional sectors of their economy at their own pace.

CDPH has released a report describing how to properly follow the statewide shelter-in-place order while keeping up-to-date with healthcare needs , such as vaccinations for children.

Alameda County and Contra Costa County have both released health orders, reiterating that most activity, travel, and business is still restricted and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The county is monitoring several key indicators, which will inform their decision on when to further modify the shelter-in-place orders. For now, the order allows a limited number of additional businesses to resume operating under specified conditions.

In a step towards normalcy, Bay Area County Health Officials released a Joint Statement on May 18, allowing retail stores to offer curbside pickup beginning on May 19. This doesn't, however, supersede the stay-at-home orders for the counties - residents are still asked to stay home as much as possible.
COVID-19 & Testing

Alameda County Public Health Department released an equity brief and infographic , highlighting the disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among communities of color. The equity brief states, "These uneven COVID-19 impacts reflect historic inequitable access to a broad range of health, economic, social, and environmental resources that enable people to be healthy."

Several new serology tests are reaching the market, aiming to identify and track those who have been exposed to COVID-19 . These new tests detect SARS-CoV-2 virus antibodies. American Medical Association (AMA) has published guidance to help ensure physicians are aware of the limitations of antibody testing .

The FDA recently authorized the nation's first standalone at-home sample collection kit. The kit can be used to collect a sample at home before being sent to specific laboratories for COVID-19 testing.

The CDC has pulled together information regarding multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C ), which has been associated with COVID-19. CDC recommends that healthcare providers report any patient who meets the case definition to local, state, and territorial health departments.
Funding, Funding, Funding

The Small Business Association (SBA) and the Treasury have released the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application . Through the application, borrowers can apply for forgiveness of PPP loans , consistent with the CARES Act.

Physicians who were allocated a payment from the initial $30 billion general distribution from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the terms and conditions within 45 days of payment . So, if you received payment on April 10, 2020, you're required to sign the attestation by May 24 (this Sunday).

The HHS is delivering $11 billion in new funding to support testing for COVID-19.
What We're Reading - Resources and Guidance

The ACCMA is hosting a virtual roundtable discussion tonight at 5:30 PM via Zoom to help physicians share their methods for resuming practice. These will be participant-driven roundtable discussions – please come prepared to share what you are doing and to ask questions of your peers. Discussions may revolve around telemedicine, PPE, resources, practice workflows, safety, and any other topics pertaining to resuming practice.

These roundtable meetings will take place every other week, as follows: Thursday, May 21; Thursday, June 4; Thursday, June 18. To register for future meetings , click here .

These Zoom sessions are free and open to all interested physicians and practice managers.

Please follow the instructions below to join tonight's Zoom meeting:
Join Zoom Meeting
Register for all sessions here.

FREE | On-Demand
Following CDC guidelines for posting signs outside the office, disinfecting the office, and preparing the office before and after patient visits. How to manage without a waiting room and to evaluate staff needs.

HR and Employment Issues
FREE | On-Demand Video Available Soon
Planning for your staff to return to work. Addressing work-from-home, termination, and unemployment issues. Setting new policies for your practice office to maintain safety for both staff and patients.

FREE | Friday, May 22 | 12:30 to 1:30 PM
Gear up for scheduling patients and training staff to make appointments via a telemedicine platform. Use technology to optimize your time by combining office visits and telemedicine visits, scheduling appointment reminders via text, and filling cancelled or open appointments in your schedule. Efficiently manage your CARES money and quarterly reporting responsibilities.
FREE | CME Available | Thursday, May 28 | 12:30 to 1:30 PM
Register for the webinar here .

This seminar will provide physicians with new approaches to maintaining treatment for patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and/or addiction. During the seminar, providers from MAT clinics will be joined by narcotic treatment program representatives from Alameda and Contra Costa counties to understand if/how they are keeping their patients on a treatment regimen. Presenters will discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on physicians’ abilities to provide MAT treatment and ideas on how protocols can be altered so that they are still safe, legal, and harm-reducing but available to patients despite not
meeting face-to-face.
ACCMA's On-Demand Library

FREE | Available On-Demand
Telehealth services are expanding rapidly during the COVID-19 crisis. In partnership with Bay Area medical associations, the ACCMA teamed up with experts to develop a comprehensive webinar series to help physicians swiftly ramp up their telemedicine capabilities, from technology to practice implementation to coding. Experts discuss choosing a telemedicine platform; compliance; privacy and security considerations; billing and payment; policies, procedures, and workflow; informing your patients; and malpractice. Physicians who have experience practicing telemedicine share their practical reflections.
Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or with any questions or concerns you have. Questions can also be directed to the ACCMA Slack channel , where physicians can respond to and receive feedback from other physicians.
This information will also be posted online at and will be updated frequently. Please check the ACCMA website regularly for updates.