May 4, 2020
COVID-19 Testing: Overview of CLIA Waived COVID-19 Tests
In part I of the COVID-19 series we addressed the steps to take to apply for a CLIA waiver and we provided resources and an overview about the FDA and the current testing environment. In part II of the COVID-19 series we have compiled a comparative chart of the FDA, Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) tests and an explanation of the use and applicability of the tests in a community pharmacy setting, including business planning, logistics and future reimbursement considerations.
Safety Concerns with Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine
With the recent FDA warning regarding the use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine, pharmacy professionals are being questioned by patients if they should be concerned about taking these medications. The answer to this question may be unclear but here are some facts to consider when determining how you will counsel your patients:
  1. These drugs have been used successfully for years to treat conditions other than COVID-19.
  2. The side effect profile for these medications has always been documented on the patient package insert.
  3.  The FDA warning {add link again] cautioned providers to restrict the use of the medications under a defined set of circumstances.
Bottom line, as with any medications, there are risks and benefits with any treatment options. Providers are responsible to weigh these benefits and risks before prescribing treatments to their patients. As pharmacy professionals, if you have concerns about medications being prescribed to your patients, initiate a professional conversation with members of the patient’s healthcare team to ensure they receive the best care possible.
JOIN US! MPA COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall
Monday, May 4 | 7 p.m.
The next MPA Town Hall will be held on  Monday May 4, 2020 at 7 P.M.  Mike Klepser, Professor of Pharmacy, Ferris State University and a developer of the nationally recognized Point-of-care Testing (POCT) training program offered through the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) will be discussing and describing the current COVID-19 tests available, the types of platforms for these tests and the limitations associated with the tests. Additionally, he will describe which tests might be appropriate in community pharmacy settings. Carol Bugdalski-Stutrud, current Executive Fellow of MPA and champion of pharmacists implementation for clinical services, will be discussing the current availability of the tests and PPE for pharmacists in the state of Michigan and the instructions to obtain the testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from local state resources. 
This is an opportunity to gain insight and information as well as ask our expert speakers questions!  Reserve your spot today !
Answers to your Questions from COVID-19 Town Hall #1
During last week's COVID-19 Town Hall we received questions from participants that required further research. Click here to view the follow-up document that provides answers to those questions.
Hand writing Follow Up with blue marker on transparent wipe board.
From MDHHS: Volunteering in the Fight Against COVID-19
After many challenging weeks, we are relieved to see that our collective efforts to “flatten the curve” are largely working. As a result of this progress, the needs of Michigan’s healthcare system are changing. As always, we are quickly adapting our volunteer program to meet these evolving needs. 

While we are still matching some volunteers to hospitals, we are seeing new demands emerge. For example, we are working to match volunteers with long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, where staffing shortages are taking a significant toll. In addition, we will be reaching out to behavioral health professionals soon to support Michigan’s new COVID-19 crisis counseling hotline. You will be contacted if we are able to match your skill set and availability to our current healthcare requests. 

In the meantime, while you wait for a potential volunteer placement, please know there are many ways you can help with Michigan’s COVID-19 response. Here are five ways you can support your fellow Michiganders starting today:  
  1. Donate blood or plasma to the American Red Cross.
  2. Train to be a crisis counselor, providing mental health support from home through the Crisis Text Line.
  3. Purchase meals for Michigan families and seniors in need through the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s Virtual Food Drive.
  4. Find volunteer opportunities in your local community through Volunteer Michigan.
  5. Pack and distribute meals or tutor students with the United Way’s community partners.
Michigan Volunteer Registry
Pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are needed to volunteer to assist in the event of an emergency such as what we are currently experiencing with COVID-19. If interested contact State Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Farah Jalloul or register here .