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Vaccine Providers Prepare for March COVID-19 Shipments; Further Eligibility Clarifications Announced to Include More Alaskans

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced on 02/24/2021 that Alaska will receive 60,760 first doses of state-allocated COVID-19 vaccine for the month of March. Additionally, 32,720 first doses have been allocated to the federal Indian Health Service (IHS). DHSS also announced three clarifications regarding who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine. State-allocated vaccine is now open to Phase 1a through Phase 1b, Tier 2. For more information, visit the 02/24/2021 DHSS press release.



State of Alaska’s Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency Expired 02/14/2021


As of February 14, 2021, the State of Alaska’s Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency (DD), which was in place to manage its response to COVID-19, expired. While certain authorities under the DD have expired, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is making every effort to minimize potential disruption to interactions between Alaskans and DHSS as we transition out of the DD.

Accordingly, until further instructed by the Governor or the Alaska Legislature:


  • DHSS will continue to operate its COVID-19 response under the same guidance and direction that had previously been provided, which includes all prior waived or suspended statutes and regulations.
  • DHSS will continue to manage its Medicaid program under the federal authorities outlined in the federal blanket waivers, the 1135 Waiver, and the Appendix K approvals, since those authorities are tied to the federal public health emergency and are not dependent on a state declaration.
  • DHSS will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure a smooth transition for vaccinations, therapeutics, and other critical services that DHSS had been managing under the Declaration.
  • All mitigation efforts for the health and safety of state employees will remain in effect.  


The end of this disaster declaration does not mean the virus is gone and we can stop taking measures to keep ourselves and others healthy and safe. DHSS' primary concern remains the health and safety of all Alaskans, and we will continue to consider that paramount concern in our decisions as we navigate the next phase of the state’s response to COVID-19.



DHSS Conducting Outreach to Offer Assistance with COVID Vaccinations


Beginning Wednesday, February 17, 2021, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) will begin calling Alaskans who are eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 to ask if assistance is needed. Calls will originate from 907.290.7933 or 907.646.3322, and callers will identify themselves as representatives of DHSS. Calls offering assistance with COVID vaccinations that are from any other phone numbers may be fraudulent. Questions about vaccine eligibility or making an appointment? Call DHSS at 907.646.3322.



COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1b Tier 2 Open February 11, 2021


Alaskans age 50 and older with high-risk medical conditions, educators, and those living and working in congregate settings are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine beginning February 11, 2021.


CMS Extension of Indian Health Service and Tribal Facilities “Four Walls” Requirement


On January 15, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an Extension of Grace Period Related to the “Four Walls” Requirement under 42 C.F.R. § 440.90 for Indian Health Service and Tribal Facilities. As a result, Medicaid reimbursement for covered services provided outside the clinic by IHS/Tribal health providers will continue through October 31, 2021. The Department of Health and Social Services will continue to work with IHS/Tribal health providers to develop a plan to address coverage of these services after the expiration of this extension.



Request to Alaska Medical Providers: COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach to Alaskans Age 65 and Older


Dear Alaska Medical Providers,


We're counting on every Alaskan to help us reach seniors age 65 and above to let them know they can make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Vaccine supply is limited and they will want to make appointments soon. Those able to get vaccine under the state's allocation are those age 65 and above (Phase 1b, Tier 1) and health care workers who were previously eligible (Phase 1a).

 
Whether or not you are a vaccine provider, you can help us ensure no Alaskans are missed as we move through our phased allocation process. As a trusted health professional, you are in a unique position to connect with your patients who are eligible for the vaccine and to offer help if needed. Please let your patients age 65 and above know that COVID-19 vaccine appointments are now available to them.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider or confirm eligibility, Alaskans may visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 1-907-646-3322. The call line is now staffed Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on weekends.


Information for Alaskans age 65+:


For conversations about who is eligible now, this might be useful:


Thank you for your partnership and assistance in making sure the vaccine is offered to all Alaskans 65+ and that they have the assistance they need. Please call or email us if you have any questions.

Alaska's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force



Updated COVID-19 Recommended Guidance for Congregate Residential Settings


Updated Visitation Guidelines for Residential Congregate Facilities



Steps to Take When an Assisted Living Home Staff Member or Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19



Invitation to Enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program


As COVID-19 vaccines become increasingly available, the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force invites additional health care providers to consider enrolling in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Those enrolled in the program will order COVID-19 vaccine through the Alaska Immunization Program and administer vaccines according to the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee guidelines. For more information, visit Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Healthcare Workers.


Questions? Contact covid19vaccine@alaska.gov.



DSP Hire Assists Providers with filling Vacant Positions


Organizations and agencies that hire direct support professionals can now post available jobs at DSP Hire. The resource is available at no cost to providers and applicants. Questions? Contact kim@champneyconsulting.com.



2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


DHSS is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Learn more about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)Please check back frequently for new information and important updates.



Contact Tracer Information


Do you want to serve as a contact tracer, or supervise contact tracers? Visit the DHSS Emergency Operations Center’s “How can I volunteer or help?” page for more information.



Health Mandates Remain in Effect


Please continue to monitor COVID-19 updates on the Reopen Alaska Responsibly page.



Alaska Responders Relief Line – 844.985.8275


Recognizing the unique stressors that providers face, the Division of Behavioral Health has established a 24/7 support line, 844.985.8275, for healthcare and behavioral professionals impacted by COVID personally and professionally. Staff supporting the call line recognize callers are often first responders and will allows callers to openly express their experiences and feelings serving Alaskans impacted by COVID. This service is also available to immediate family members of first responders who may be experiencing stress, anxiety and other hard to label emotions as a result of their loved one engaging on the front lines.



Temporary Expansion of Telehealth Services


















COVID-19 Messages























 































 

































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