COVID-19 Update from POMA

March 25, 2020

Colleagues -

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19. As we have seen this week, the numbers in Pennsylvania continue to rise each day. In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, please continue reading.

PPE Material Distribution
During today's press conference, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine outlined the Administration’s work to stockpile PPE by purchasing from manufacturers and obtaining them from the federal government.  Further she outlined she would be working with the counties, hospitals and facilities, and EMS at the local level to distribute these materials. All providers should be working with their Regional Health Care Coalition to submit requests for PPE. Please scroll to the bottom for the contact information of each region's Public Health Preparedness Coordinator.

Pennsylvania to Allow Retired Health Care Professionals to Support COVID-19 Response
The Pennsylvania Department of State is acting to enable retired health care professionals to assist with COVID-19 response by waiving certain licensing regulations. Licensees under the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine (SBOM) who are in active/retired status for less than four years can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CME requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended. This measure allows retired/inactive DOs to become active unrestricted until October 31, 2020. If a licensee wishes to continue practicing beyond that date, the licensee would need to renew the active-unrestricted license and meet all current requirements at that time. Visit the PALS website to reactivate your active/retired license. PA-DOS is working on specific directions which will be posted on their Suspended Licensing Regulations for Health-Care Professionals page and on the Boards & Commissions Landing Page in the coming days. If you have questions, please email the SBOM directly at [email protected].

Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine Prescribing
POMA is in communication with the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) who alerted us to a concern about medication hoarding and inappropriate prescribing nation-wide with a concern for shortages. Several states including Ohio, North Carolina, and New York have already enacted legislation limiting prescribing. 

  1. Please follow FDA-approve guidelines for prescribing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.
  2. Email POMA if you have had any patients with COVID-19 treated with these medications and their results as it is experimental/investigational at this time.
  3. Share if you have concerns regarding a state-imposed restriction on prescribing and dispensing of these medications.
  4. Email POMA if you are seeing limitations of other medications or shortages of medications in your community.

COVID-19 Coalition
POMA supports a Pennsylvania Healthcare Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund to provide significant and direct allocation of financial resources to support health care and human services workers on the front line including private practices, FQHC, mental health and drug/alcohol centers, hospitals, group homes, and nursing homes among others.

Federal Support
POMA supports the AOA federal initiative for inclusion of financial relief for non-profit/tax-exempt organizations for frontline physicians in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.

Updated Corornavirus Resources
In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, with thanks to PCOM, we are sharing a list of phone numbers and websites that you or your patients may find beneficial at this time:

POMA Clinical Assembly Update
POMA's Annual Clinical Assembly (April 29-May 2) is still 5 weeks away. Contingency plans are underway to deliver the educational content in alternative ways. We will likely have a live-stream option available to allow for AOA 1-A credits required for state licensure. Should you decide to cancel your registration at this time, the current refund policy stands in place. Please watch for an update later this week.

Be well.

Pamela S.N. Goldman, DO