Vaccine Update from Dr. Jon Stallkamp

Sent on behalf of Jon Stallkamp, MD

 

To our Main Line Health physician partners:

 

Since the state’s expanded criteria for COVID vaccination eligibility was announced last week, I know that your offices and our call centers have dealt with an incredible volume of phone calls, requests, and questions from our patients. I appreciate all you have done so far to address patient concerns and want to provide you an update on our vaccination efforts to date and how we will move forward with contacting eligible patients.

 

Please remember: we are a piece of this puzzle; health systems cannot be solely responsible for the distribution of vaccines to our region. Instead, vaccinating our community will require the work of many including the local departments of health, pharmacies, and health systems. With that in mind, we are encouraging patients to take advantage of the earliest opportunity to receive their vaccine. If a patient is able to schedule an appointment at a pharmacy or vaccination clinic at an earlier date than we can offer them a vaccine at Main Line Health, we encourage them to do so. Where our patients are vaccinated is not as important as making sure they receive the vaccine, if they so choose.

 

Because of the number of patients in our database, we have taken a phased approach to vaccination based on PA state guidance. More than 6,000 invitations have been sent since last week to patients who are: 75 and over and have an active MyChart account and have touched MLH in anyway in the past year (lab, radiology, admission, etc.) We will continue to invite our elderly patients who meet this eligibility as a top priority. All eligible patients with a MyChart account will eventually be invited for vaccination.

 

However, we are also asking for your help in compiling a list of your patients who are at highest risk for COVID. (High-risk conditions beyond age, as defined in state guidance, include cancer, COPD, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, heart failure, obesity (BMI> 30), pregnancy, diabetes, Down Syndrome, sickle cell disease, smokers, and immunocompromised patients.) We will not begin inviting the patients on your lists until after we have invited all patients who meet the criteria listed above: 75+, active MyChart account who have been seen at MLH in the past year.

 

We are going to be preferentially working with our PCPs and will also be reaching out to specialists who can be a patient’s principal physician (oncology, cardiology, etc.) to coordinate vaccination of eligible patients. We ask for your honesty in compiling this list; we know that you may have personal contacts or family members who wish to receive the vaccine, but we have a responsibility to our patients to distribute vaccine supply as equitably as possible.

 

For Private Practice Medical staff members: 

Attached is a template for use by your office staff to compile a list of patients who are at greatest risk. Begin your list with patients over 75, and rank those at highest risk at the top of your list. Next, if you wish, you may compile a list of patients 65-74, and those with the chronic conditions listed above, that you see as your highest risk and thus worthy of priority vaccination.

 

Please label your list clearly to indicate your top 100 patients in order of risk. Because of the limited supply of vaccine, we will be inviting only 10 patients per physician each week to start for vaccination until supplies become more plentiful. This is your opportunity to ensure that the patients who have the greatest need are vaccinated.

 

Once you have compiled your list, please email it to: COVIDVaccineReferral@MLHS.org. This email address is not to be shared with patients or physicians outside of Main Line Health, and is only to be used by our physicians to submit eligible patient names. Our Central Scheduling team will begin outreach and will handle scheduling for these patients you recommend.

 

For MLHC Practices: 

Attached is a template for use by your office staff to compile a list of patients who meet state eligibility criteria. To assist you, MLHC will be distributing a list to each PCP of all your patients over 75 by early next week, and soon after we will share a similar list with our medical specialists. It will have information to assist you in your rank order—including age, high risk conditions, a calculated “risk score”, and presence on the Epic portal or not—but the final decisions are yours.

 

Please organize your list beginning with patients who have the greatest need. All eligible patients with a portal account will eventually be invited for vaccination, but this is your opportunity to prioritize those “portal patients” most needy, plus advise us of which eligible “non-portal patients” need priority outreach.  In the coming weeks we will similarly share lists of patients 65-74, plus those <65 with eligible chronic conditions, for you to review and prioritize.

Please label your list clearly to indicate your top 100 patients in order of risk. Because of the limited supply of vaccine, we will be inviting only 10 patients per physician each week to start for vaccination until supplies become more plentiful. This is your opportunity to ensure that the patients who have the greatest need are vaccinated.

 

We request a collective list for your practice rather than providing one list per physician. Once you have compiled your list, please share it with your practice manager, who will be advised on how to share it with the MLH team managing this list. Our Central Scheduling team will begin outreach and will handle scheduling for patients you recommend.

 

For Private Practice and MLHC Physicians: 

We have put several tactics in place to discourage patients from calling their physicians for vaccine information and updates. However, despite these efforts, I know that your patients are reaching out to you—their trusted providers—for advice and information. Please continue to direct them to our website, where they can find the latest on vaccination eligibility as well as a list of frequently asked questions. We also ask that you encourage patients who have not yet downloaded MyChart to do so. Step-by-step instructions on how to download MyChart are available on our website are available on our website and are also attached.

 

Vaccination updates are provided daily and weekly through our regular COVID communication channels, including Daily Update emails to all employees and medical staff Monday-Friday and our weekly Medical Staff Town Halls. As members of the MLH medical staff, you have access to all this information. Please make time to read through these communications to ensure you are up to date on our vaccine efforts. If you are not receiving this communication, please ensure we have your correct email and contact information on file with the Medical Staff Affairs Office.

 

Additionally, we encourage you to direct your patients to our website for the latest COVID information, and if you maintain a website for yourself or your practice, we invite you to link directly to the MLH website or repurpose some of our web content for your use.

 

We appreciate your patience and partnership.

 

Jon Stallkamp, MD

Interim Chief Medical Officer

Covid-19 Vaccine Enrollment Form

Covid-19 Vaccine Enrollment Form – Sample Data

Step-by-step instructions on how to download MyChart

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