Latest Updates on COVID-19

Keeping Arkansas Physicians In Mind and Informed. 

The Arkansas Medical Society has been working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and other healthcare community leaders to serve physicians during the COVID-19 outbreak here in Arkansas. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of the healthcare community that we serve, including our 4,400 member physicians, residents, and medical students.  We will be providing updates as often as possible.

Jump to a Section:
Arkansas Department of Health
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Telemedicine
Hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine Usage Guidance
Caring for Patients with COVID-19
Return to Work Guidance
Forced Quarantine
Clinic Signage
Price Gouging
Lab Testing Reimbursements
Specimen Collection Procedure

Need Financial Resources for your practice during COVID-19? Click here.

Email Updates from AMS

4-4-20 Email Update
4-2-20 Email Update
4-1-20 Email Update
3-31-20 Email Update
3-30-20 Email Update
3-27-20 Email Update
3-25-20 Email Update
3-23-20 Email Update
3-20-20 Email Update
3-18-20 Email Update
3-17-20 Email Update
3-13-20 Email Update


Arkansas Department of Health

View the ADH COVID-19 dashboard here.
It will be updated four times a day.

ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. Call 1-800-803-7847 and identify yourself as a physician needing assistance, and they will quickly assist you. 

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update

Submit PPE Request Form Here

The Governor has announced plans to make large purchases over the next few weeks and a portion of those purchases will be set aside for our medical clinics.

If your practice does not have PPE and you have been unable to get it through your normal purchasing channels, we may be able to help. However, please understand that supplies will continue to be limited until the supply chains can catch up with the demand. We understand that some PPE suppliers are beginning to get product shipments and you should check with them before contacting AMS.

If your clinic does not have PPE and is unable to obtain what you need from your normal supplier, complete the online form and click SUBMIT.

PLEASE SUBMIT ONLY ONE FORM PER CLINIC.

AMS will compile the information and will be working with the Arkansas Department of Health and Department of Emergency Management to fulfill the requests as supplies become available.Because these supplies will continue to be limited, priority areas will receive PPE first. These areas will likely include counties and/or cities with existing or growing COVID-19 cases. We will be working diligently to get everyone PPE who is in need, but we ask for your patience as we may not be able to fill every request.

Extended Use of PPE Guidance from ADH

Due to the shortage of PPE, the Arkansas Department of Health has issued some guidance on extended use and limited reuse of PPE for heatlhcare workers.  Click the link below to read the full document.

How to Extend Use of PPE

 

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Telemedicine

View the latest information from insurance carriers, HIPAA, and other sources on telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.

ARKMED.org/telemedicine

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Use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine

The Arkansas Department of Health is concerned about the issuance of prescriptions by physicians for and dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chlorquine for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. These drugs should be restricted to patients who are admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 infections and should be discussed with an infectious disease physicians at the healthcare facility. Read the entire statement here. 

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Practice Management Assistance

If you have specific questions related to COVID-19 and your practice, send us an email here.

Caring for Patients with COVID-19

How COVID-19 Spreads

Based on what is currently known, COVID-19 spreads mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts.

How to Protect Yourself

Adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC):

  • Assess and triage patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19, including placing a facemask on the patient and using an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available.
  • Use standard precautions, contact precautions, and airborne precautions and eye protection.
  • Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled.
  • Learn more about proper use of PPE to prevent self-contamination.
  • Perform aerosol-generating procedures, including collection of diagnostic respiratory specimens, in an AIIR, while following appropriate IPC practices, including use of appropriate PPE.

Return to Work for Infected/Exposed Healthcare Personnel

3/23 – The following guidance has been issued regarding when healthcare personnel who have potential exposure to patients with COVID-19 in the healthcare setting may return to work. These recommendations are from the CDC based on the known information about COVID-19. Click here to read all ADH/CDC recommendations.

Home Quarantine Information from ADH

3/27 – The Arkansas Department of Health said on Thursday (3\26) that they are no longer actively monitoring most people who were placed under voluntary quarantine.

However, ADH does want exposed people identified by local physicians to be given instructions about how to do self-quarantine and what to do if they develop symptoms. The department has a form that can be used to convey this information to patients.

You can download an AMS version of the ADH information guide here. We suggest you have the patient sign the form and retain a copy in the medical chart.

Forced Quarantine

Occasionally, it has been necessary for ADH to place someone under enforced quarantine by issuing an order of quarantine, which is a legal order signed by the Secretary of Health, Dr. Nate Smith. This is only done in cases where people clearly put the public health at risk by not complying with voluntary quarantine and is not something that a community physician can do. If an order of quarantine becomes necessary due to non-compliance, a local physician should contact ADH at the Physicians Hotline (1-844-930-3023) and ask to speak to the Medical Director for Immunization and Outbreak Response or the ADH physician on call to discuss.

You can read the entire ADH statement here.

Clinic Signs

Below are signs that you can post at your clinic to alert your patients on what to do before entering your clinic.  We have also translated these signs to help communicate with your Spanish and Marshallese patients. To download, click on the links below.

Clinic Sign_English

Clinic Sign_Spanish

Clinic Sign_Marshallese

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Test Availability, Collection, and Reimbursements

3/20 – Price Gouging: We have received a few calls about price gouging from medical supply vendors and out-of-state labs. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office intends to vigorously pursue prosecution of these bad actors. Generally a 10% or more increase in price over the pre-emergency price is considered price gouging. See the information from the AG’s office.

3/20 – DHS Laboratory COVID-19 Testing Reimbursements for Medicaid

3/18 – Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19

3/17 – Specimen Collection Procedure:  Commercial labs, such as LabCorp, Quest, and Roche, now provide COVID-19 testing. Health care providers intending to test their patients for COVID-19 should obtain the requirements for specimen collection, storage, and shipping from the commercial lab that they plan to use. Click here to read the rest of the Specimen Collection Guide (3/13/20).

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals

Find current interim guidance and healthcare professional preparedness checklists.

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American Medical Association Guide for Physicians

This quick-start COVID-19 physician guide, curated from comprehensive CDC, JAMA and WHO resources, will help prepare your practice, address patient concerns and answer your most pressing questions.

https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/physicians-guide-covid-19

Updated as of March 6, 2020.

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