COVID-19 Information

Last updated 8/26/2020 1:45pm CDT [Gov. Ivey Amended Safer at Home Order]

 

Latest News

Telemedicine during state of emergency

Patients

Other sources of information


Latest News

9/28/2020 Gov. Ivey Awards $35 million from CARES Act for health care, emergency response providers

8/27/2020 Gov. Ivey's Amended Safer at Home Order (mask requirement extended to Nov. 8)

8/21/2020 ADPH Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance and Quarantine/Isolation Clarification

7/29/2020 Gov. Ivey's Amended Safer at Home Order (extends to Aug. 31)

7/20/2020 DEA instituting online registration and renewal - be sure your email address is correct as this is how you will be contacted (see DEA update)

7/20/2020 BME/MLC extend expiration of Emergency Medical, Emergency PA/AA licenses to Nov. 17

7/20/2020 BCBS Telehealth extension

7/15/2020 Gov. Ivey's Amended Safer at Home Order (statewide mask requirement)

7/2/2020 Gov. Ivey's 13th Supplemental Proclamation extending state of emergency
to Sept. 9

6/30/2020 Governor's Amended Safer at Home Order

6/30/2020 All Medicaid expiration dates related to health emergency extended

6/30/2020 BCBS expanded Telehealth Coverage Guidelines extended until 7/31/2020

6/18/2020 BME/MLC exempt all licenses/registrants from CME requirements

6/15/2020 FDA revokes emergency use ruling for hydroxychloroquine

5/8/2020 Governor's Amended Safer at Home Order

4/30/2020 Governor's Safer at Home Order (including resuming of elective medical procedures)

4/22/2020 ADPH - Use of COVID-19 Tests not Approved by the US FDA

4/6/2020 BME and Board of Pharmacy updated enforcement discretion policy

4/6/2020 Board and Commission offer physician emergency license reinstatement [EXPIRED]

4/1/2020 DEA decision tree - how to prescribe controlled substances to patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency

ADPH and FSMB statements regarding prescribing of certain medications including chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin

3/30/2020 CMS expanded telehealth to allow for audio only communication

3/30/2020 ADPH Alert - alternative testing methods for SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19)

2/28/2020 FDA Emergency Use Authorization For Use of Chloroquine Phosphate or Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate Supplied From the Strategic National Stockpile for Treatment of 2019 Coronavirus Disease

3/27/2020 Updated Order of State Health Officer (including expansion/clarification of postponement of dental/medical/surgical procedures)

3/26/2020 Board offers emergency reactivation of retired physicians’ medical licenses to full and unrestricted status - declaration and application form

3/25/2020 DEA temporary exception to requirement to be registered in each state; practitioners may dispense in states where they are not registered provided they hold at least one registration

3/23/2020 ADPH URGENT UPDATE: Changes to Testing Criteria to Focus Testing on Patients Most at Risk

3/23/2020 Board and Commission offer physician temporary emergency license (press release)

3/23/2020 Board offers Physician Assistant and Anesthesiologist Assistant temporary emergency license

3/20/2020 DEA guidance on early refills of controlled substance prescriptions

3/19/2020 Social Distancing Order of the State Health Officer - closures, etc. and order to delay all elective medical and dental procedures.  For examples of "elective" procedures, see below 3/18/2020 CMS instruction

3/18/2020 CMS instruction to limit all non-essential planned surgeries and procedures, including dental, until further notice


Telemedicine during state of emergency

In order to practice safe social distancing and inhibit the community spread of COVID-19, the Board and Commission encourage practitioners to utilize telehealth visits whenever it is prudent to do so.  Board and Commission rules will be interpreted broadly during the health emergency.

Physicians may not refuse to treat existing patients.  If you do not have the manpower, equipment, etc., to treat the patient, and treatment via telemedicine is not possible or appropriate, you should assist the patient in  finding another provider.

Many regulatory bodies and third-party payors have relaxed requirements previously in place surrounding telehealth.  Please review the information below for more on these relaxed regulations.

FAQs:

Can I legally have telephonic/electronic medical encounters and prescribe, including controlled substances, to the patient?

BME/MLC:  There are no rules that prohibit this during an emergency.  See the Board's joint announcement with Board of Pharmacy regarding enforcement discretion.

DEA:  DEA has relaxed its regulations for the duration of the health emergency to allow for controlled substances prescribing via telemedicine without having performed an in-person examination with certain requirements

CMS:  CMS has relaxed its regulations or the duration of the health emergency regarding the necessity of an in-person examination to treat/prescribe via telemedicine

HIPAA:  HIPAA rules have also been relaxed for telemedicine

Please see our page concerning telemedicine for a more detailed discussion of licensure requirements, prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine, and third party payors

What is the licensure requirement for telemedicine?

Physicians:  Alabama full traditional license, a license via the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, or special purpose license to practice medicine across state lines.

3/23/2020 Board and Commission offer Temporary Emergency Licenses for Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Anesthesiologist Assistants

Please see the physician license applications page

Physician Assistants:  Alabama license to practice as a physician assistant and approved registration to a supervising physician. 

NOTE:  In the event of a national emergency, natural disaster, or state emergency, a physician assistant may provide emergency medical treatment without immediate physician supervision or direction to patients within the affected areas of the state, provided that the treatment is within the scope of the assistant’s education, training and approved job description.  The physician assistant in such circumstance shall make reasonable efforts to inform his or her supervising physician of the location and type of emergency medical services being provided and shall act in conformance with the direction of local medical supervisors.  The authority granted under this paragraph shall extend only for the duration of the declared national emergency or state emergency or natural disaster.

Please see the physician assistant license applications page

Do you have an expedited/emergency license?

Effective March 23, 2020, physicians and physician/anesthesiologist assistants can apply for a temporary emergency license.

The license will expire on July 21, 2020, or when the Governor declares the end of the health emergency.

There is no fee for this license, and applications will be expedited.


Information for providers - Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health maintains a web page containing a situation summary and information for healthcare providers.

Calling ADPH for approval to request to test patients for COVID-19 is NOT necessary for providers who complete the online Novel Coronavirus consultation form.  Approval for testing is available for any provider submitting a request. Using the online form will auto-generate a confirmation receipt once completed.

COVID-19 healthcare provider web page

Online Novel Coronavirus consultation form

For your convenience, the ADPH maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter.


BME/MLC Staffing During COVID-19 Outbreak

Board and Commission staff have all returned to regular working hours.


Governor Kay Ivey's Emergency Proclamations


Patients

If you need to refill your medication but can’t get in to see your physician, pharmacists have been authorized to process emergency prescription refills for a 30-day supply if:

  • The pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the prescriber.
  • The original prescription is maintained in the dispensing pharmacy’s files.
  • The prescription is not a medicinal agent listed in Schedule II.
  • The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition.
  • The dispensing pharmacist creates a written prescription order containing all of the prescription information required by federal and state statutes, rules and regulations.
  • The dispensing pharmacist notifies the prescriber orally or in writing of the emergency dispensing within seventy-two (72) hours after such dispensing.

 

Click here for more information from the Alabama Board of Pharmacy


Health information - Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

ADPH maintains a web page containing a situation summary and information for patients. 

If you suspect you have COVID-19, call ADPH at 1-888-264-2256 or visit their COVID-19 web page for information and instructions about screening for COVID-19. Many hospitals in the state are offering drive through testing.


Other sources of information

Medical Association of the State of Alabama information for healthcare practitioners

DEA COVID-19 information page

Alabama Board of Pharmacy

NIH guidance on travel and meetings

CDC COVID-19 information and resources

Press releases from governor Kay Ivey

World Health Organization coronavirus information

FDA COVID-19 FAQs page

CMS Newsroom

CMS and CDC Guidance on COVID-19 for Post-Acute and Long Term Care

Provider Enrollment Hotline: Temporary Provisional Medicare Billing Privileges

OIG COVID-19 Portal

ProAssurance Coronavirus Information Center

American Health Law Association Coronavirus Pandemic Hub

 

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