CDC HAN on Chloroquine as Seen on TV

CDC has released a new HAN Health Alert Advisory on Severe Illness Associated with Using Non-Pharmaceutical Chloroquine Phosphate to Prevent and Treat COVID-19.  The Summary includes “Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death.  Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums).  Clinicians should advise patients and the public that chloroquine, and the related compound hydroxychloroquine, should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider as prescribed medications.”  Find the CDC HAN at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00431.asp?deliveryName=USCDC_511-DM24285.

New CDC Guidance on COVID-19 PPE and Recovery

CDC has released a number of new Guidance protocols today on:

Medicare and Medicaid Telehealth Expansion

CMS has announced expansion of payment for Medicare and Medicaid Telehealth services to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more information see:

COVID-19 Testing Protocols by State

NBC News has published an article on Coronavirus testing: Information on COVID-19 tests according to state health departments.  The article includes:

  • Idaho: “Call your health care provider if you believe you need to be tested.  Any provider can request a test from the state, as long as they meet CDC infection control requirements for collection.  However, not all providers in the state are set up to meet those requirements, according to the Department of Health.  Test results are usually available 24 hours after they are sent to the state lab.  There are four private labs conducting tests in the state that may have different response times.  For more information, call 2-1-1 or your local public health district [see https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/contact/], or visit Idaho’s coronavirus website [at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/].”
  • Washington: “Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.  Currently, there are no restrictions on who can be tested, however, it’s up to the provider to decide.  Sample collection is done at the provider’s office.  Samples are then sent to facilities such as the Washington State Public Health Lab or the University of Washington Virology Lab for analysis.  Results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours.  Turnaround time can be affected by demand.  For more information, read the Washington State Department of Health’s medium article on testing [at https://medium.com/wadepthealth/covid-19-testing-process-what-you-need-to-know-ad741ed1a806] or visit the department’s coronavirus website [at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus].”

Find the NBC News article at https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/coronavirus-testing-information-covid-19-tests-according-state-health-departments-n1158041?.

Latest COVID-19 Announcements

CDC has issued a New HAN Health Alert titled Information and Guidance about Global Travel on Cruise Ships, Including River Cruises, Due to COVID-19, dated March 15, 2020.  Among other things it recommends that clinicians “ask all patients about their planned or recent cruise ship travel, including river cruises.”  See https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00430.asp.

On March 12 CMS published a FAQ sheet about Essential Health Benefits Coverage to ensure individuals, issuers, and states have clear information on coverage benefits for COVID-19.   Find it at https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Fact-Sheets-and-FAQs/Downloads/EHB-Benchmark-Coverage-of-COVID-19.pdf.

CMS Emergency Preparedness & Response Operations has a Current Emergencies web page that lists emergency-related documents, and which could be an ongoing reference for what’s new.  It includes links to the press release and Fact Sheet about the National Emergency declared on March 13, but neither document includes information specific to dialysis facilities or transplant centers.  Find the web page at  https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/EPRO/Current-Emergencies/Current-Emergencies-page.

If you bookmarked our web page on Network Guidance on COVID-19 Stress for Staff, or forwarded the blog post about it, on March 13 or 14, please make sure you’re linking to https://www.esrdnetwork18.org/wp-content/uploads/20200313-Coping-with-ID-Outbreaks.pdf and advise the people to whom you forwarded the post.  The following day we corrected the link in the blog post, but the original included a typo.

Network Guidance on COVID-19 Stress for Staff

Networks 16 and 18 have assembled a web page on Healthcare Workers – Coping with Infectious Disease Outbreaks in the Dialysis Setting.  In addition to guidance for maintaining your own health in situations of extreme stress, it includes links to the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (in English, Spanish, and 14 other languages) and their document on Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation during an Infectious Disease OutbreakFind the Network web page at http://www.esrdnetwork18.org/wp-content/uploads/20200313-Coping-with-ID-Outbreaks.pdf.  While it’s aimed at facility staff, patients will also find it useful for managing their own stress.