COVID-19:

3/10/21:  Amended Executive Order Ends Automatic License Renewal Extensions 

On February 24, 2021 Governor Mills issued an amendment to Executive Order 16 (EO-16).  The amendment repeals a section of the original EO-16 that required Board staff to automatically extend physician and physician assistant licenses that were scheduled to expire during the declared state of civil emergency until 30 days after the expiration of the declared emergency.  All licensees affected by the original EO-16 who have not renewed their licenses must do so on or before March 31, 2021 or their licenses will expire.

1/13/21:  Provider Bridge Launched

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has launched Provider Bridge, a new online platform to help mobilize volunteer health care professionals to treat patients during COVID-19.

 

As the number of cases and hospitalizations increase across the country, Provider Bridge supports medical license portability by making it easier to connect health care professionals with state agencies and health care entities to quickly increase access to care for patients in rural and underserved communities.

 

Physicians and physician assistants (PAs) can use Provider Bridge to register to treat patients via telehealth and in-person care. Health care professionals will have their medical license credentials instantly verified and receive a digital document called a Provider Bridge Passport, which contains:

 

·    Information about active licenses

·    Specialty certifications

·    DEA registration numbers

·    NPI numbers

·    Disciplinary history from state medical boards

 

Users can submit their Passport to hospitals and health departments to begin treating patients quickly in areas where they are most needed.

12/14/20:  ME DHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Clinician Info Sessions

As part of the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (and given the very exciting news about the recent FDA authorization of the first vaccine!), Maine DHHS is pleased to launch a set of educational efforts to offer information for Maine clinicians on the COVID-19 vaccines and support their efforts to build the knowledge & trust needed to ensure a successful vaccination effort statewide.

Given busy clinician schedules, DHHS is starting this effort by offering a series of  short (30min) “COVID-19 Vaccine Info Sessions” that we will host twice/week starting Tues, Dec 15. We will host the sessions twice/week for the next several months at the following times:
• Tuesdays at 7:30 - 8AM
• Fridays at 12N – 12:30PM

 
The sessions will offer brief didactic sessions on the vaccine development & approval process, followed by time for questions & discussions.  Clinicians are welcome to attend one or multiple sessions.  The sessions will be held via Zoom using the following log-in and/or call-in info for all sessions:

 Zoom/web: https://zoom.us/j/6218434986

Meeting ID: 621 843 4986
Passcode: 338847

Phone: One tap mobile: +13017158592,,6218434986#,,,,,,0#,,338847#
 
DHHS will likely be offering additional educational tools and resources on COVID vaccine moving forward as well. 
 
We appreciate your help to support these efforts, and greatly appreciate the help of Maine clinicians to ensure a successful vaccination effort with the people of Maine.

7/13/20:Reporting on Suspected Non-Compliance Related to COVID-19 Pandemic

If you wish to report a potential situation of non-compliance to the guidance relating to COVID-19, you may report those details using this form: www.maine.gov/online/noncompliance-reporting.  The information will be reviewed by appropriate agency or agencies and responded to as needed.
As adherence to the Governor's Executive Orders is a civic duty and the responsibility of each citizen and business of the State of Maine, enforcement of the Governor's Stay Healthier at Home Order will be handled mainly through education and voluntary compliance.
 

4/22/20: AHA and AMA Release Joint Cybersecurity Guidance for Telecommuting Physicians

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have issued joint cybersecurity guidance for physicians working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic to help them secure their computers, mobile devices, and home networks and safely provide remote care to patients. Click here to view the document.

4/14/20:  Joint Statement on Prescribing Chloroquine Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin

Click here to read the Joint Statement on Prescribing Chloroquine Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin from the Board of Osteopathic Licensure and the Board of Medicine.

A Message from the Board

The novel COVID-19 virus is challenging all of us in many ways. Like many of you who continue to provide clinical care, the Board must continue to provide services to the public while safeguarding the health of Board members and Board staff. The Board offices remain open and Board staff continue their work of processing license applications and complaints and investigations. Board staff have the option of working from home using technology. However, until such time as the Board office is directed to close there will be some Board staff working at the office.

Governor Mill's Executive Order

The Board has been working closely with the Office of Attorney General and the Governor’s Office regarding an executive order that:

  • Allows the expedited licensure (at no cost) of qualified retired physicians and physician assistants to provide assistance for the duration of the emergency (COVID-19 Emergency Application); 
  • Allows the expedited licensure (at no cost) of qualified physicians and physician assistants licensed in other jurisdictions to provide assistance for the duration of the emergency(COVID-19 Emergency Application);
  • Keep licenses from expiring or needing to be renewed for 30 days after the end of declaration of the emergency (including CME requirements);
  • Suspends the requirement of supervision or collaboration for nurses and physician assistants for the duration of the emergency;
  • Maximizes the use of telemedicine and telehealth and eliminates the need for some in-person patient visits for the duration of the emergency by:
    • Allowing voice-only technology to be used; and
    • Suspending any laws or rules related to state medical record privacy and HIPAA that would interfere with the use of telemedicine and telehealth technology.

A copy of the executive order issued by the Governor can be found here: Executive Order.  Any retired physician or physician assistant who is interested in obtaining an emergency COVID-19  license from the Board should contact:

Information from Maine CDC:

Retired physicians and physician assistants who are not interested in obtaining an emergency COVID-19 license can monitor the most recent updates from the Maine CDC and/or register with Maine CDC’s public health system:

Information from Maine DHHS:

Effective 03/17/20 DHHS issued emergency rules to:

  1. Waive all copay for prescriptions, office visits, emergency department visits, radiology and lab services;
  2. Allow early refills of prescriptions letting providers extend to a 34-day supply maximum om brand prescriptions.
  3. Work closely with all at-risk populations to ensure they have equipment they need such as oxygen tanks and inhalers.
  4. Allow for prescribing through telehealth.
  5. Waive premiums for MaineCare services, such as the Working Disabled, Cub Care, Katie Beckett, and Special Benefit programs (Failure to pay those premiums will not result in case closure).

Copies of the emergency rules can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/rules/emergency.shtml#anchor2225289.

Information from the Federal Government:

Effective 03/17/20 the federal government is immediately suspending HIPAA enforcement and penalties to facilitate use of telehealth for health care services in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet.

Emergency Preparedness Plans:

The Board asks all licensees, especially those who are in private practice, to consider developing ways in which to provide continuity of care to their patients in the event that they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus and must self-quarantine.

  • Who will care for your patients in such an eventuality?
  • Have you considered teaming up with other clinicians (including physician assistants and nurse practitioners) for mutual assistance coverage in the event of exposure?