August 31, 2020

Celebrating 228 Years

1792 - 2020
HCMA Cares About You
COVID-19 Data Resources Summary
This data portal provides centralized access to data on the COVID-19 emergency and response, and supplements information available on the state's COVID-19 portal with data hosted on data.ct.gov, Connecticut's open data portal.
Visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”
Connecticut Travel Advisory
Executive Order Regarding Travel: Pursuant to Governor Lamont's Executive Order No. 7III, anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.
In addition, anyone entering from one of the identified states must fill out a travel health form upon arrival.
Travelers can fill out the form online at ct.gov/travelform.
CT Attorney General Warns Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers could be Violating the Law By Charging Patients for Personal Protective Measures.
Attorney General William Tong alerted consumers to surcharges by physicians and other healthcare providers may violate the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Click here for information

Connecticut Updates Mask and Face Covering Rule Narrowing Medical Exemption

On August 14, 2020, Connecticut issued Executive Order 7NNN which updates and supersedes Executive Order 7BB by requiring medical documentation in order for an individual to claim an exemption from the requirement to wear a mask or face covering in public places, businesses and other workplaces.

The basic mask rule remains unchanged. Any individual in a public place, who for any reason, is within six feet of someone else, must cover their mouth and nose. This specifically includes public transit and ride-sharing, taxis or livery services as well. While the previous rule required those “unable to” maintain a safe distance to wear a mask, that language was removed, presumably for the sake of clarity.

The new list of exemptions includes only children under the age of 2 years (or those in child-care settings) and individuals unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition with documentation. 
This exemption changes the mask rule in two key respects. First, it eliminates the exemption for an “older child” if a parent is unable to place the mask safely on the child. Second, medical documentation is now required for exemption. Such documentation need not name or describe the qualifying condition, but it must be in writing and issued by a licensed medical provider, the Department of Developmental Services or another state agency providing or supporting services for people with disabilities. Presumably, the documentation must be carried at all times in public places.

The new rule also requires the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to issue updated sector rules to reflect this change. Sector rules have been updated for essential employers and other businesses to state that employees can be required to provide medical documentation if requesting an exemption. In addition, the guidance also specifies that businesses have a right to refuse service to an individual who is not wearing a mask. Similar rule changes are in effect for offices. While the State Department of Education has not issued additional guidance specific to schools as employers, Executive Order 7NNN is consistent with the medical exemption contained in previously released guidance requiring all students and staff to wear masks inside school buildings.

The new Executive Order now more closely tracks the language of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, an employer can ask for documentation of a disability to address requests for accommodation. Moreover, employers are permitted to ask for medical documentation to support a request for exemption from legitimately implemented safety rules. Notably, the U.S. Department of Justice recently weighed in on this issue stating that no blanket exemption to mask requirements is granted by the ADA to individuals with disabilities.
(Shipman and Goodwin)
The Hartford County Medical Association
invites you to its first virtual annual meeting
that will be hosted online using ZOOM
 
228th Annual Meeting and Physician Award Ceremony
Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 6:00 PM

Save the date!
Additional information will be forthcoming
HHS Secretary Issues Directive Allowing Pharmacists in all States to Administer Childhood Vaccines

The AP (8/19, Stobbe) reports HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued a directive permitting pharmacists in all states to give childhood vaccinations. Azar “took the step using emergency powers he has during the U.S. coronavirus epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency,” and the directive “will temporarily preempt restrictions in 22 states starting this fall.”
Reuters (8/19, Nadeem) reports the directive follows a drop in vaccinations during the pandemic. HHS said, “This decrease in childhood vaccination rates is a public health threat and a collateral harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The measure does not allow pharmacists to give shots to children younger than 3.
Patient Immunization Awareness Flyers Available

The Connecticut Immunization Program encourages parents to vaccinate their children during the pandemic and before they head back to daycare and school if they are attending a hybrid program. The Immunization Program has prepared flyers in English, Spanish, French Creole and Portuguese that can be shared with patients.
Nearly Half of Physicians Believe COVID-19 Will Not Be Under Control Until After June 2021

The Physicians Foundation just released its biennial Survey of America’s Physicians, revealing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician practices and their patients. The first part of the three-part series findings include:

  • The majority (86%) of physicians believe COVID-19 won’t be under control until January 2021, with nearly half (49%) not seeing the virus being under control until after June 1, 2021.
  • A majority (72%) of physicians believe that the virus will severely impact patient health outcomes due to delayed routine care during the pandemic
  • 59% of physicians see opening businesses, schools and public places as a bigger risk to patients than continuing policies of isolation.

Results to the Poll on Medical Privacy
MedNotes Survey Taken on August 13
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