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New Haven, CT 06510
Phone: 203-687-4422
Fax: 475-202-6844
PLEASE BE ADVISED OF THE IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW
Dear CMG Members,

Essential updates for 12.23.20:

Many important updates today as we enter the holiday weekend. We will continue to monitor the situation and disseminate anything important that arises over the next several days, particularly on the vaccine front. Many of our clinicians and staff have received the vaccine already or are scheduled in the near future. A fitting time of year for such wonderful news, coming at the end of a most challenging year. My best wishes to each of you and your families.
Yale Updates COVID Vaccination Plans
CMG clinicians have been included in Yale-New Haven Health Systems (YNHHS) COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Community-based health care providers that have active privileges within YNHHS will receive an Epic MyChart invitation to schedule their vaccination series. Please check the email address associated with your MyChart account (often a personal email address). 

On December 22, 2020, YNHHS began sending out more than 15,000 invitations. The distribution plan will cover all individuals on the fast track and the following individuals whose last names start with:

  • “A to Mcl” at Greenwich Hospital,
  • “A to McM” at Bridgeport Hospital,
  • “A to McN” at Northeast Medical Group,
  • “A to McN” at Yale-New Haven Hospital,
  • “A to McM” at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital,
  • “A to Zer” at Westerly Hospital, and
  • “A to McM” at HSC on the regular track.

More invitations are expected to go out next week.

We are also working with YNHH to allow employees of our practices to access the vaccine through their vaccine clinics in addition to the VAMS process many of you have already enrolled in. More to come in the next week.

Hartford Healthcare informed us that they also have a process for including their medical staff and their affiliated employees. If you are affiliated with them you should expect to hear directly from them when the vaccine is available for you.

Attached you can find a detailed tutorial about MyChart use and settings to help identify some common issues that have contributed to individuals not being aware that they had received an invitation.

YNHHS has also provided the attached document Counseling Pregnant and Lactating Healthcare Workers About COVID-19 Vaccination.”

If your practice also completed the VAMS survey per the CMG email notification, you should have received a confirmation of enrollment. You will be instructed to upload a roster of eligible employees. After that, you will be provided with instructions on when and where you may receive the vaccine. CMG recommends that its members continue to access vaccine availability through both options and accept the earliest appointment available.

We know there have been some practices who have not received their VAMS access. Please make sure you have completed all the necessary steps and submit a ticket to the help desk at this link.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 18 years of age and older.

Here is what we know:
  • The FDA released a fact sheet for healthcare providers administering the vaccine, click here to view it.
  • Medicare will cover and pay for the administration of the vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA). 
  • Click here to view the announcement sent out by National Government Services (NGS) and review the updated payment and HCPCS Level 1 CPT Code Structure for specific COVID vaccine information.

On December 22, 2020, Community Medical Group sent an update regarding access to the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut. We are watching the information closely and will continue to update our practices with the latest information.

Click here to view the update.
Interim Guidance on the Length of Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Based on the updated guidance from CDC, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends changing the quarantine period for persons known to be close contacts of cases of COVID-19 to 10 days if:

  • Daily self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms has been done and the person has had no symptoms of COVID-19 during the whole 10-day quarantine (day 0 is the is the day of exposure); AND

  • Daily symptom monitoring continues after 10 days for an additional 4 days (days 11–14). If any symptoms develop, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health department or their healthcare provider; AND

  • After 10 days, persons need to continue to take the measures needed to prevent COVID-19, including but not limited to: wearing a mask when out in public and avoiding gatherings with people who are not in your immediate household, are over 65 years old or who have medical conditions that place them at increased risk for COVID-19. These are also summarized here: How to Protect Yourself & Others | CDC

Based on the updated guidance from CDC, the Connecticut DPH also recommends that when diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available, the quarantine period for persons know to be close contacts of COVID-19 can end after Day 7 if:

  • Daily self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms has been done and the person has had no symptoms of COVID-19 during the whole 7-day quarantine (day 0 is the day of exposure)

  • A negative diagnostic test (molecular or antigen) for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is obtained on day 5 or later and a negative test result has been received; AND a) The quarantine period should not end before 7 days, even if a negative test result was obtained earlier b) If a test result is still pending at day 7, the person cannot end quarantine until that result is received and is negative.

  • Daily symptom monitoring continues after 7 days for an additional 7 days (days 8–14). If any symptoms develop, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or their healthcare provide.

  • After 7 days, persons need to continue to take the measures needed to prevent COVID-19, including but not limited to: wearing a mask when out in public and avoiding gatherings with people who are not in your immediate household, are over 65 years old, or have medical conditions that place them at increased risk for COVID-19.

Read more information and the entire release from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health here.
Holiday Travel
Winter holidays are quickly upon us. The CDC has released an informative guide on how to decide whether or not holiday travel is the best decision for you and your family. Read more here.

*The CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as the best way to protect yourself and others this year.
COVID-Testing Update
Attached is a summary of various locations for COVID testing across the state. Some require a provider order and others do not. Turnaround time will vary based upon test type and location.

*This document has been updated since last week
Weekly CDC and DPH Update
  • Please see today's summary from the CDC and DPH here. 
Information you may have missed:
Telemedicine
There are multiple updates regarding telemedicine that will take effect in January. Please review our updated excel sheet with telemedicine billing codes and coverage guidelines. (Please note: This excel sheet is updated regularly and posted on our COVID-19 web page)

If you have any questions or need clarification on telemedicine policies, please reach out to:
CDC Communication Toolkit
The CDC created a communication toolkit for help public health professionals, health departments, community organizations, and healthcare systems and providers reach populations who may need COVID-19 prevention messaging in their native languages.

This toolkit provides:
  • Current messaging from a trusted source.
  • Information in plain language available for downloading and sharing.
  • Translated materials to help communities disseminate messages to a wider audience.

Click here to access.
Interesting Reads
  • The riskiest (and safest) activities in the coronavirus epidemic, according to 700 epidemiologists. As Americans grapple with another surge in new coronavirus cases, many are wondering which activities of day-to-day life are safe—and which place them at high risk of exposure. The New York Times surveyed 700 epidemiologists to find out. Click here to see what they had to say.

  • COVID-19 Vaccination: 9 Questions on the Patient Perspective. Before a vaccine received approval, however, The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research surveyed 1117 US adults aged ≥18 years between December 3-7, 2020, to find out what Americans think about COVID-19 vaccination. Click here to review the results.
COVID-19 resources and links
Stay safe. Be well. God bless.

Best,

Joseph L. Quaranta, MD

Joseph L. Quaranta, MD
President, Community Medical Group