Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It
May 7, 2021
COVID-19 Updates

Pfizer said this week that they expect to apply to the FDA in September for emergency use authorization to administer its COVID vaccine to children between the ages of 2 and 11. The FDA is expected to issue an EUA early next week for the vaccine to be used in children 12 to 15 years old.
CDPH is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 11, at 5 PM for pediatric providers to learn how to enroll in the state vaccination program. Click here to register or see below in the Events calendar for more information.
The American Medical Association is interested in your feedback about recoupment of the Medicare advance payments. CMS recently began automatic recoupment of COVID-19 Accelerated and Advance Payments, which were an advance of up to three months of Medicare payments to help physician practices stay open early in the COVID-19 pandemic. AMA advocated for improved repayment terms, which were adopted by Congress and CMS in 2020. Under the revised repayment terms, physicians should be aware that
  • These funds are loans that are required to be repaid.
  • Repayment begins one year from when the Medicare advance payment is received, rather than 120 days under the original terms.
  • The per claim recoupment amount was reduced from 100% to 25% for the first 11 months, and then 50% for an additional six months.
  • If there is an outstanding balance after the 17-month recoupment time frame, the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) will issue a demand letter requiring repayment subject to an interest rate of 4%, a decrease from the original interest rate of 10.25%.
  • Physicians may repay the Medicare advance payment in full at any time by contacting their MAC.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new program that will cover the costs of administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients enrolled in health plans that either do not cover vaccination fees or cover them with patient cost-sharing. The new program, the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, will help ensure that providers on the front lines vaccinating underinsured patients are fairly reimbursed. HHS is hosting a webinar to review the new program on Wednesday, May 12, at 11 AM.

Contra Costa Health Services announced that they reached their goal of administering 1 million vaccine doses by May 31, well ahead of schedule. The county will now vaccinate people ages 16+ at its clinics regardless of whether they live or work in the County.
Alameda County announced on Wednesday that the Oakland Coliseum vaccination site will close on May 23 and will be shifting to more community-based options. The site has provided more than 250,000 vaccine doses to residents, but public requests for first-dose appointments at the site have dropped from 4,000/day to 400/day.
Seventy-one percent of Contra Costa County residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and 55% are fully vaccinated.
Seventy-two percent of Alameda County residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and 46% are fully vaccinated. 

Alameda County reports that it has administered more than 1,582,000 doses as of May 7. As of May 6, ICU capacity in the county is at 37% with 19 confirmed COVID patients hospitalized.

Contra Costa Health Services reports that it has administered more than 1,146,000 doses as of May 7. As of May 6, ICU capacity in the county is at 27% with 7 confirmed COVID patients hospitalized.

Alameda and Contra Costa remain in the orange tier. Statewide ICU capacity is at 31%.

The #ThisIsOurShot campaign has launched a private Facebook group that has up-to-date information. The campaign also holds weekly Zoom calls to discuss digital engagement campaigns, hear from guest speakers, and have breakout sessions to plan for future campaigns. These calls are held on Tuesdays at 5:30 PM.

CDPH is holding weekly “office hours” to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccination planning and allow providers in the state to ask questions, on Fridays from 9-10 AM. The May 14 session can be accessed through this link or by calling (415) 655-0001. The event number is: 145 305 3168. The password is: Immunize2021!

CMA's COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center can be accessed here.

The ACCMA and the California Medical Association (CMA) are continuing to provide PPE directly to medical practices in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, by going to this link. N95 masks, surgical masks, isolation gowns, face shields, goggles, coveralls, and hand sanitizers may be ordered. Vinyl gloves are available only to solo and small practices. If approved, orders are shipped directly to medical offices. Only shipping and handling fees are charged for each individual case shipped. For groups with multiple offices, a separate order must be completed for each location. Please contact the ACCMA at accma@accma.org or (510) 654-5383 for more information.
Call Your Legislators to Cosponsor the Stopping Doctor Shortages Act

Physicians are asked to contact their Members of Congress and Senators to urge them to cosponsor HR‑1133 (Harder/Obernolte/Castro/Taylor) and S‑311 (Feinstein/Cornyn), which provide student loan forgiveness for California and Texas physicians. The bills provide a technical clarification to ensure Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program parity for California and Texas physicians so that physicians in all 50 states are afforded the same loan forgiveness after they have served for 10 years in a nonprofit community hospital or clinic. Please contact your Members of Congress and Senators now to ask them to cosponsor HR‑1133 and S‑311. Click here to send an email to your Member of Congress or phone Senator Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224‑3841 and Senator Alex Padilla at (202) 224‑3553.
CMA President Statement in Response to Threats Against Public Health Officers

CMA President, Peter Bretan, Jr., MD, issued a statement in response to continued attacks on public health officers, notably recent death threats against Phoung Luu, MD, public health officer for Yuba and Sutter counties. His statement read in part, “We cannot tolerate the efforts to intimidate public servants like Dr. Luu, and must ensure we have public protections in place for public health officers. As we work together to bring this pandemic to an end, we must also work to address the increase in racial hatred and the increased threats against those who are working overtime to keep the public safe.”
Engagement Groups for Providers Who Conduct ACEs Screenings

CMA Wellness has launched a free, online wellness engagement groups for health care providers who conduct patient screenings for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These engagement groups will support providers by offering subject matter experts, best practices and an open forum to share experiences, facilitated by trained volunteer physicians. Registration is required, and providers can choose between joining the Tuesday or Saturday series for a 6-month duration.

Survey to Assess Internet Access Among Older Adults

The Alameda County Council for Age-Friendly Communities is conducting a survey of older adults to learn about the level of internet access they have and how they typically use the internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed existing challenges faced by older adults in Alameda County, which includes inequitable access to digital resources. Please share the survey (English) with your networks (the survey is available in nine languages; click “Take the survey online” to find different language listings). 
Available on demand
Member $29.00 | Non-member $79.00

Now available! Current and new staff can receive on-demand training on HIPAA, OSHA, and customer service. Intended for all staff encountering patients in person or by telephone, this course covers customer service techniques, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For questions, contact Jenn Mullins, Education and Event Associate, at jmullins@accma.org.
Click here to register. 
Tuesday, May 11 | 12–1:30 PM
FREE | CME Available | Presented by CMA
More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that COVID-19 infection can pose increased risk during pregnancy and to newborns. During this virtual grand round, physicians engaged in research and clinical care will share the latest knowledge on COVID-19 infected parents and their newborns. We will also feature Erica Pan, MD, our state epidemiologist, who will review the epidemiology of the disease, progress of vaccinations, and COVID-19 variants. 

Rashmi Rao, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCLA School of Medicine
Karin Nielsen, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine
Erica Pan, MD, MPH, California Department of Public Health
Kimberly Newell Green, MD, UCSF (moderator) 
Click here to register. 

Tuesday, May 11 | 5–6 PM
Free | CME Available | Presented by CDPH
The California Department of Public Health is hosting an informational session on the enrollment process and requirements for pediatric providers who are interested in participating in the state's COVID-19 vaccination program. Space is limited. If you're unable to attend, this session will be recorded and posted at EZIZ.org/covid

Register here
May 18June 15, Tuesday evenings, 6:308:00 PM 
FREE | Presented by Bay Area Medical Societies and the Ethnic Health Institute 
Join us for two keynote sessions featuring Rishi Manchanda, MD (President and CEO, HealthBegins) and Anthony Iton, MD (SVP, The California Endowment), followed by three panel discussions that examine health equity in the Bay Area and highlight strategies for improvement.
May 18: Linkage Between Social Inequity and Health Disparities, Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH 
May 25: Health Equity in Our Own Backyard, Anthony Iton, MD, JD, MPH 
June 1: Community Resilience Case Study: Physician Leaders of the African American Response Circle 
June 8: A Systems Approach Case Study: The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG)  
June 15: Leadership in Action Case Study: Kedran Community Health Center & True Vine Ministries Vaccine Clinic 
Click here for details and to register for the series. 
Wednesday, May 19 | 10 AM – 2:30 PM
FREE to attend | CME Available
This will be a four-hour online training for qualified prescribers (including physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) to receive half of the 8 hours of training required to obtain a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) waiver for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Open to members and non-members. Counts for 4 CME credits.
Click here to register.
Wednesday, May 19 | 6–7 PM
FREE| Presented by CMA and CA-AAP
Learn how the federal Information Blocking rule, which took effect April 5, 2021, affects pediatric practices. While the rule holds many benefits for patients and physicians, it raises some specific considerations for pediatric practices. Those practices may hold confidential data related to, for example, teen reproductive health, sensitive family situations, or adolescent mental health treatment. The rule, however, allows for physicians to keep this information confidential, provided that practices take the proper steps to implement their compliance efforts.
Susan J. Kressly, MD, FAAP
David Ford, VP of Health Information Technology, CMA
Jessica Rubenstein, Associate Director of Health Policy, MCA
Register here
Thursday, May 20 | noon1:30 pm
CME Available | Presented by CPPPH/CSAM
This webinar focuses on cases of physicians who were referred for evaluation because of apparent cognitive difficulties they exhibited. The case examples will review the results from the neuropsychological tests that were administered, and the recommendations based on such test results.
Lauren Drag, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
John G. Rosenberg, MD, MPH, Berkeley Therapy Institute
Register here
ACCMA's On-Demand Library

To access all on-demand programs, go to learning.accma.org.

Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or accma@accma.orgwith any questions or concerns you have.