From KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo
The pandemic environment continues to evolve and, in many Kansas communities, COVID-19 infections are on the rise more than ever. KMS continues to work closely with state and federal leaders to gather and disseminate pertinent information and resources for you and your patients.
With FDA approval of the first vaccines this week, there is naturally heightened interest in how and when vaccinations will become available across Kansas. We know that many of you are getting questions from patients for which you do not yet have answers. Likewise, we know you want to ensure that you and your staff members can be vaccinated as soon as possible, so that you can provide the safest possible care for your patients.
We are in close communication with state health officials as their plans develop. While many details remain to be seen, we are strongly advocating that all health care providers are given prioritized access to the vaccine—including independent practice-based physicians and their staff, commensurate with hospital and other facility-based physicians and staff.
Following is the latest information we have received, in part as responses to our inquiries on behalf of the profession. As always, I welcome and encourage your questions and concerns. Your insight is invaluable as we advocate for policies that ensure the safe practice of medicine in our state.
COVID-19 vaccine update for physicians
In response to KMS inquiries about availability of COVID-19 vaccinations for physician practice staff members, KDHE officials provided the following guidance. Kansas clinicians first must register to be vaccinators via the state’s vaccine registry, WebIZ. Registered vaccination organizations are then required to submit patient vaccination information into the registry, which is used by many states to transmit data to the CDC.
While weeks may remain before the vaccine is more widely available, even to frontline health care providers, we encourage you to register for WebIZ now, if interested. More information on WebIZ is available here.
State vaccine plan information in detail
In a previous KMS update, we referred you to the state’s vaccination plan, released in late November. That 45-page document remains the most detailed information to be released. In summary, physicians, nurses, and other health care workers will be prioritized. Next will be others at highest risk, such as the elderly and people with chronic conditions, along with other frontline workers, like law enforcement and other first responders. Then the vaccine will become available to the general public. The graphic summary here was released by the governor’s office this week.
Of note, the vaccine will be free, but recipients (or their insurance company) may be asked to pay an administrative fee, likely less than $20. However, no one can be denied a vaccine based on the ability to pay.
KDHE recently began providing weekly updates to the state vaccination plan here.
Webinar: What's New in Medicare 2021
The Kansas Medical Society—in partnership with the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA) and the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services—is hosting a webinar for members of KMS and MSMA on developments in Medicare coming in 2021. The webinar will be on Wednesday, January 20 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. More information and registration here.
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