COVID-19:

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?