COVIDNews

COVID Update: Best Practices for Independent Pharmacies

By July 13, 2020 No Comments

COVID-19 has impacted communities in a variety of ways. Physician 360 aims to provide our pharmacy partners with relevant updates on policy and industry knowledge, and to offer guidance on how to meet some of the challenges that COVID-19 presents.

Workplace Regulations:

One of the first items to prioritize for your pharmacy is the implementation of workplace protocols (5/28/20, CDC) that contain details on expectations, sanitization practices, and general protocols. Your manual should be adapted based on updated federal, local, and state public health regulations. The CDC provides consistent updates on Coronavirus in email updates, articles, and on their Coronavirus Disease 2019 RSS Feed. The CDC has specific advice for how pharmacies should be conducting their day to day operations to meet sanitization standards to protect against Coronavirus, as seen here. The combination of these resources is helpful for informing how to best shape protocols that are relevant to your workplace. 

Below is a list of technology devices that may help implement recommended workplace procedures: 

  1. Virus-screening questionnaires 
  2. Social-distancing wristbands 
  3. Digital “immunity” badges 
  4. Contact-tracing app 
  5. Work.com, to help employers “safely reopen.” 

You can read more about these devices in this New York Times Article (May 11, 2020). 

Testing Policies:

As testing procedures for COVID-19 tests are rapidly adapting, new policies and technologies are created to account for these changes. Legislators have introduced a  Covid-19 privacy bill intended to hold businesses accountable for the confidentiality of client information when they use people’s health information to fight the pandemic (4/30/20). This is important to factor in when working with patient information and partaking in COVID-19 tracing data.

The FDA has temporarily accelerated the use of COVID-19 tests developed by laboratories and commercial manufacturers in an attempt to more rapidly diagnose and treat infected populations (5/20). Physician 360 has been able to source a serology test that can determine if someone has previously been infected with COVID-19, and is helpful for tracking the virus. For pharmacists with customers looking to rule out flu, consider ordering a Physician 360 Flu Evaluation to get access to a rapid diagnosis

For more information on your specific state and local testing policy, the CDC is a reliable resource and has guidelines for surveillance and interpretation of serology testing (4/28/20).

Reimbursement Policies:

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a press release in March stating, “CMS developed the first HCPCS code (U0001) to bill for tests and track new cases of the virus. This code is used specifically for CDC testing laboratories to test patients for SARS-CoV-2. The second HCPCS billing code (U0002) announced today allows laboratories to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19).”

Business Recommendations:

During COVID-19, businesses have had to adapt their business models and practices to meet the demands of a socially distanced world. Ideas such as an enhanced digital presence, e-commerce and alternative delivery models are considerations to incorporate into your pharmacy. Sites such as ‘Element’ contain resources for how to make sure that your pharmacy remains competitive. 

We understand the pandemic situation is fast-moving and businesses are having to adjust quickly. We hope these resources help keep you and your pharmacy stay safe and on the cutting edge!