COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Kentucky
By Tuyen Tran, MD, MBA, FACP, FASAM
Without doubt, the CoVID-19 pandemic has impacted and changed our lives more than any other event in recent history. Miraculously, arrival of the CoVID-19 vaccines offers us glimpses of the potential ending to this tragic pandemic. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Healthcare workers (three physicians) at the University of Louisville were among the first Kentuckians to receive the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech CoVID-19 vaccinations on December 14, 2020. The vaccine is a two-dose series administered intramuscularly three weeks apart. Kentucky’s initial shipment of 50,700 doses will be distributed to front-line healthcare workers (12,675 doses) and nursing home staff and residents (38,025 doses).
The Lexington VA received its allocation of Pfizer vaccines (not included in Kentucky’s allotment) and I received my initial vaccination December 18, 2020. I am pleased to report that I did not experience any side effects. I received my 2nd dose on January 7, 2021 and experienced very minimal achiness at the site of the injection for about 24 hours. To date, safety data collected from 37,586 participants revealed that the most common side effect from the vaccination is local irritation at the injection site. Other commonly reported side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech include fatigue, headache, and muscle pain.
KMA encourages its member physicians to help spread CoVID-19 vaccine awareness and education by sharing their vaccine story and photos. Since the pandemic began, KMA has shared essays from physicians across Kentucky through the popular “In Your Own words” series. KMA wants to continue this series focusing on spreading awareness about the efficacy and safety of the CoVID-19 vaccine, particularly from the physician’s experiences. If you have received or will be receiving the vaccine and would like to share a photo or essay, please contact KMA Communications Director Emily Schott, email@example.com.
KMA has compiled additional COVID-19 vaccine resources for physicians. These resources are also available on KMA’s dedicated COVID-19 page, kyma.org/covid19.
- Kentucky Department for Public Health: Kentucky Vaccination Plan Frequently Asked Questions
- Centers for Disease Control: Engaging in Effective COVID-19 Vaccination Conversations
- Centers for Disease Control: Toolkits for Medical Centers, Clinics and Clinicians
- Centers for Disease Control: Overview of Shipping, Handling and Storage
- Kentucky Department for Public Health: Quick Guide to COVID-19 Vaccines
Raise Your Guard, KY Campaign
Dr. Dale Toney, current KMA President and our beloved prior Lexington Medical Society President, has ingeniously launched the “Raise Your Guard, KY” campaign to encourage Kentuckians to schedule well-visits with their physician and update their vaccinations in order to maintain optimal health. In addition to the other recommended vaccinations, we need to encourage Kentuckians to get the CoVID-19 vaccine. In August of 2020, the KMA, KFMC, The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKy) and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky collaborated to promote the joint public health campaign, “Raise Your Guard, KY.” Governor Beshear during his press conference in August of 2020 also supported the campaign. The campaign website, RaiseYourGuardKY.org, includes resources and information on vaccinations and a link to KMA’s Physician Finder tool.
The statewide campaign coincided with Immunization Awareness Month. In areas of the state where there was a drop in vaccinations due to the CoVID-19 pandemic, featured billboards, advertisements on radio and streaming services in addition to targeted social media and web ads were extremely successful. An estimated 3.7 million people viewed the “Raise Your Guard, KY” billboards and targeted social media reached 142,000 people. As a result, the campaign was extended to promote flu vaccinations, “Raise Your Guard, KY: Focus on Flu,” which will attract additional partners such as Humana, Aetna, WellCare, and the Kentucky Hospital Association for additional social media outreach and ads on Spotify and streaming services throughout the month of December.
I propose that we add the next phase, “Raise Your Guard, KY: Focus on CoVID-19.”
Register Today: KMA Advocacy in Action Month Kickoff
Due to CoVID-19, Advocacy in Action Month will replace “Physicians’ Day at the Capitol,” the in-person KMA advocacy event held in Frankfort each year. KMA encourages its physician members to engage with their legislators to promote priority issues as part of the initiative’s “Talk Tuesdays” events; but, this year, the association will host the event via a virtual “Advocacy in Action Month” throughout February 2021. KMA will launch the event February 1, 2021 at 7 PM. Registration for the event is now available here.
Please participate in this year’s “Advocacy in Action Month” and contribute to the Kentucky Physicians Political Action Committee (KPPAC) during “KPPACtion Day.”
Resources for 2021 E/M Office Visit Changes
The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have completed the 2021 Evaluation and Management (E/M) CPT office visit coding and documentation. The intent of the changes is to reduce the administrative burden of documentation and coding while improving patient care. The revised E/M office visit codes is proposed to take effect January 1, 2021.
The AMA has developed a number of resources to assist with the transition, including free education modules and video presentations with step-by-step guidance. The AMA’s tools and resources include:
- Summary and Background of E/M Office Visit Revisions
- Education Module: Office Evaluation and Management (E/M) Code Revisions
- Learning Objectives:
- Explain the CPT E/M office or other outpatient services revisions and when changes will take effect
- Identify why CPT E/M revisions are needed and benefits provided
- Describe how the foundational changes will impact your work
- Learning Objectives:
- Step-by-step Video Guidance
- E/M: How did we get here?
- Using medical decision making (MDM) criteria
- Using time to select a code level
- 10 Tips to Prepare Your Practice for E/M Office Visit Changes
- Table on Medical Decision Making (MDM) Revisions
Providers and office staff can also sign up for CPT Code Revision Updates on the AMA’s CPT® Evaluation and Managementwebsite.