November 20, 2019
Vaping Related Respiratory Illness

Ap plicable to: Mercy Care Complete Care, Mercy Care RBHA, Mercy Care Long Term Care, Mercy Care DD and Mercy Care Advantage
Based on recent information received from the Arizona Health Alert Network, Mercy Care would like to share with you that as of October 17, 2019, there have been 1,479 cases of vaping-related respiratory illness have been reported nationally, with 33 deaths. 

Based on these cases, the CDC has provided Interim Guidance for health care providers who are evaluating and managing patients with vaping-related respiratory illness.
With this new guidance, Arizona providers are requested to do the following:
  • Report suspected cases of vaping-related respiratory illnesses (VRRI) in hospitalized patients to the Arizona Poison & Drug Information Systems at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Ask patients with acute pulmonary illnesses about vaping or e-cigarette use, including use of non-nicotine substances.
  • Reassess outpatients with suspected VRRI within 24-48 hours to manage possible worsening illness.
  • Admit patients with suspected VRRI if their O2 saturation <95%, and initiate steroid treatment promptly.
  • Determine if any remaining product (including devices and liquids) are available for testing and notify the Arizona Poison & Drug Information Systems.
  • Provide patients with clear and consistent messaging: 
  • If you are a child, you should not use vape products;
  • If you are pregnant, you should not use vape products;
  • If you are an adult who vapes, you should stop if you have concerning symptoms;
  • Do not buy vape-related products from informal sources (e.g. friends, family, “off the street”) and do not modify the device or add non-manufacturer substances.
  • If you are an adult using e-cigarette, or vaping, products to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes. Use evidence-based treatments, including healthcare provider counseling and FDA approved medications.
  • Refer patients, as appropriate, to the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) at 1-800-55-66-222 for vaping and smoking cessation support.


As always, don't hesitate to contact your Mercy Care Provider Relations Representative with any questions or comments. You can find this notice and all other provider notices on our Mercy Care website.

Mercy Care appreciates all you do!