DOH Launches All Provider Survey Regarding Use of Telehealth; Due December 15

Yesterday, the Department of Health (DOH/the Department) announced it is conducting a survey of all Health Care Providers, including home care, to gain knowledge of providers’ experiences using telehealth during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The Department will use the results of this survey to inform post-pandemic telehealth policy development. 

The information gathered from this survey will be shared with, and help inform the work of, the Reimagine New York Commission. More information on the Reimagine New York Commission can be found here: https://forward.ny.gov/reimagine-new-york-commission.

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KQYXNHR. All clinicians are encouraged to respond; however, please limit to one survey response per individual clinician. The Department is interested in gathering perspectives from clinicians from the same organization, especially if they have different perspectives. Please submit your survey responses as soon as possible; the survey will close on December 15

Below are COVID-19 telehealth guidance resources issued by New York State and referenced in the survey:

Medicaid Update Special Edition: Comprehensive Telehealth Guidance 
FAQs on Medicaid Telehealth Guidance during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) State of Emergency 
Webinar: New York State Medicaid Guidance Regarding Telehealth, Including Telephonic, Services During the COVID-19 Emergency 
Department of Health Weekly Health Provider Webinars
Division of Financial Services: Information for Insurers and Providers on Coverage for Telehealth Services
Office of Mental Health: Use of Telephone and Two-Way Video Technology by OMH-Licensed, Funded or Designated Providers and Clients Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Office of Addiction Services and Supports: Telepractice FAQs
Office for People with Developmental Disabilities: Interim Guidance Regarding the Use of Telehealth/COVID-19

DOH Shares Information Regarding Nitrile Glove Shortage

Yesterday, DOH shared with HCP information regarding the availability of gloves. DOH confirmed that there is a shortage of nitrile gloves in the global supply chain that is likely to persist for the ongoing future.  

Due the expected continuation of the shortage of nitrile gloves, DOH encourages all providers to preserve the use of nitrile gloves for times when latex or vinyl gloves cannot be used.  

Nitrile gloves should be prioritized for use with individuals with latex allergies or when a care provider is expecting significant exposure to blood/body fluids.  If latex gloves are used, non-powdered gloves are less likely to induce allergies and packaging should include clearly visible latex allergy warning for staff.
 
Vinyl gloves are another alternative but should be reserved for routine exams and other activities where there is not significant exposure to blood/body fluids.  

DOH advises that both latex and vinyl gloves are readily available on the market. 

As a viable commercial option, HCP created a PPE Portal where providers can purchase commonly-used items such as surgical masks, gloves and gowns at a significant cost savings. Hand sanitizer, and two styles of N95 masks can also be purchased through the portal. Bulk pricing is made available by the case minimum requirement, which is reasonable given the need to backstock these products for staff protection. Most items ship in 2 to 3 business days and you can order as frequently as necessary.

If you have any questions or need something that is not currently available on the site, please contact Art Silverman, American Advertising Specialties, 877-791-8080 or 
ams@americanadspecialties.com

DOH also shared the following link to access an additional list of medical suppliers: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/covid-19-ppe-suppliers.pdf 

DOH Issues Health Advisory Regarding Universal Use of Eye Protection

As HCP alerted providers yesterday, the Department of Health (DOH/the Department) issued a health advisory strongly recommending universal use of eye protection by healthcare personnel for all patient interactions, in addition to face masks. The advisory observed that wearing both face masks and eye protection provides better protection for healthcare personnel who might unknowingly encounter asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or symptomatic but undiagnosed cases of COVID-19. This extra precaution might prevent some exposures that would otherwise require healthcare worker furlough (e.g.. when a healthcare worker is in contact with a person with COVID-19 who was not wearing a face mask, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-risk-assesmenthcp.html). Face shields or goggles should be used. Standard eyeglasses are not personal protective equipment (PPE) and do not constitute sufficient eye protection.

In the advisory, DOH recognized that PPE supply shortages might prevent universal use of eye protection in all healthcare encounters. In this situation, the shortage should be documented, and eye protection should be reserved for and considered required for the care of patients and residents with known COVID-19; 
exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19; 
having known exposure to a person with COVID-19; or 
in settings with a higher prevalence of patients or residents with COVID-19. 

Such settings include, but are not limited to: emergency departments, outpatient clinics and practices which routinely see patients with acute infectious diseases, and nursing homes which have recently had residents or staff test positive for COVID-19. Healthcare facilities and practices are referred to NYSDOH and CDC guidance on extended use and cleaning and disinfection of eye protection as a contingency strategy for PPE conservation.

Further information is available at:
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/04/doh_covid19-_ppeshortages_040220.pdf; and

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/eye-protection.html.

General questions or comments about this advisory can be sent to icp@health.ny.gov.

Join the DOH Thursday December 3rd at 1-2PM for its Bi-weekly COVID-19 update for healthcare providers

To accommodate the large number of participants, find our webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers:

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/weekly-healthcare-provider-update

Audio number and code: 844-512-2950 Access code 6286826#