PCMS Blog

You and a guest are invited to attend our next event coming up June 30, 2022 at Pueblo Country Club. SHJ Wealth Advisors will hold another dinner and financial presentation. The March event was highly praised, with top-notch food and great conversation. RSVP to [email protected].

Mark your calendar and spread the word: Puebloans can dispose of bulky items during Team Up to Clean Up on May 21 at two sites. More information and pre-registration is available here.

In the ongoing effort to decrease hospitalizations for at-risk Coloradans by ensuring access to COVID-19 therapeutics, CDPHE would like to share updated National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendations, as well as provider eligibility and enrollment information for both the CDPHE Therapeutics program and Health and Human Services (HHS) Test to Treat program. They encourage physicians to learn more about these lifesaving treatments and talk to your patients who may be eligible to receive them.

CDPHE Therapeutics Program

On April 1, 2022, the NIH updated recommendations for Therapeutic Management of Nonhospitalized Adults With COVID-19 to include the following therapies:

Preferred therapies (listed in order of preference):

  • Paxlovid
  • Remdesivir
     

Alternative therapies* (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Bebtelovimab
  • Molnupiravir
     

* NIH states that the alternative therapies are “for use ONLY when neither of the preferred therapies are available, feasible to use, or clinically appropriate.”

Currently, the CDPHE Therapeutics team can directly enroll and supply providers for the following therapeutics products:

  • Paxlovid 
  • Bebtelovimab
  • Molnupiravir
  • Evusheld

Provider enrollment criteria for each of these therapies is listed below:

Oral Antiviral (OAV) Provider Requirements - Paxlovid and molnupiravir

  • Clinical oversight for screening patients ahead of prescribing OAVs.
  • Prescriptive and dispensary capacity onsite, or with a clinical partnership (pharmacy providers who accept prescriptions from local clinics, hospitals or prescribing entities).
  • An on-site clinician to verify self-screening criteria meets the FDA EUA eligibility criteria for the product being administered.
  • Capacity to fulfill prescriptions from intake screening within five days of COVID onset.
  • Ability to continuously store at USP-controlled room temperature 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).
  • Appropriate staffing and equipment, including the ability to monitor patients for one hour after treatment is administered and in the rare case, respond to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis response includes having an EpiPen available and the ability to activate EMS via 911. Some resources may be available from the State, but cannot be guaranteed, including:
    • Staffing.
    • Equipment.
    • Wraparound support staffing (cleaning services). 
    • Biohazardous waste removal.

Enrolled providers must provide all prescribed patients with adequate contraindication information, adverse effects warnings, and other clinically relevant information, as found in each option’s FDA Fact Sheet (Paxlovid and Molnupiravir).

If a provider meets the above criteria, they can initiate enrollment for oral antivirals through this form. For questions or concerns about becoming an oral antivirals provider, please email [email protected]

Monoclonal Antibody Provider Requirements - Bebtelovimab

  • IV infusion capability (bebtelovimab is administered as a single dose intravenous infusion).
  • An on-site clinician to verify self-screening criteria meets the FDA EUA eligibility criteria for the product being administered.
  • An on-site provider to order monoclonal antibody therapy for the patient.
  • Refrigeration of medications required between 2-8°C (36-46°F).
  • Appropriate staffing and equipment, including the ability to monitor patients for one hour after treatment is administered and in the rare case, respond to anaphylaxis.
  • Anaphylaxis response includes having an EpiPen available and the ability to activate EMS via 911. Some resources may be available from the state, but cannot be guaranteed, including:
    • Staffing.
    • Equipment.
    • Wraparound support staffing (cleaning services).
    • Biohazardous waste removal.

If a provider meets the above criteria, they can initiate enrollment for oral antivirals through this form. For questions or concerns about becoming a monoclonal antibody provider, please email [email protected].

Prophylaxis Provider Requirements - Evusheld

Evusheld is a monoclonal antibody therapy authorized for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in people with moderate to severe immunocompromise. Pre-exposure prophylaxis with Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in people for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended. People for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended, including individuals with moderate to severe immune compromise who may derive benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, should receive COVID-19 vaccination. 

If a provider meets the above criteria, they can initiate enrollment for Evusheld through this form. For questions or concerns about becoming an Evusheld provider, please email [email protected].

HHS Test to Treat Program 

The Test to Treat program allows providers to enroll as "full-service" therapeutics providers: from COVID-19 testing and symptom screening to prescribing and dispensing oral antivirals (OAVs). Because OAVs are most effective when started within five days of COVID onset, this program seeks to simplify the process of receiving treatment for high-risk populations, such as residents of long-term care facilities.

To learn more about the Test to Treat program, read ASPR’s LTCF Distribution Plan and  Provider FAQs.

Test to Treat Provider Requirements

  • Sites must be able to provide comprehensive end-to-end testing and treatment services to support a seamless patient experience, including:
    • COVID-19 testing onsite (or evaluation of at-home testing).
    • Linkage to a clinical evaluation by a licensed health care provider after a positive COVID-19 test to provide prescriptions when appropriate.
    • Co-located or affiliated outpatient pharmacy that is able to readily dispense medications.
  • Sites must be able to provide these services, regardless of insurance status, same-day or next day.
  • Sites can partner with another provider or pharmacy to offer these services.
  • Sites must report their therapeutic inventory and administrations daily.

Sites that meet the above criteria that are interested in enrolling in the Test to Treat program should email Megan Ramsey Kolli at [email protected] for more information.
 
Thank you for your continued partnership in the COVID-19 response.

Your PCMS membership expires soon. Renew now and continue to make what we do possible! Over the course of the past year, your membership enabled us to accomplish so many initiatives:

  1. We held monthly COVID-19 Provider Roundtable virtual events, providing medical providers and/or staff members with up-to-date Pueblo County COVID-19 data and the opportunity to ask questions, gain new resources, share tips, and learn from one another. 
  2. We developed Nature Scripts, a collaborative project, that offers Pueblo medical providers the opportunity to prescribe nature and exercise to patients.
  3. We were able to keep members informed on local and statewide industry news through our online newsletters, website, emails.

Looking ahead, we can’t wait to accomplish even greater things for our members and our community. In the coming year, we’re working on:

  1. Offering in-person and/or virtual events quarterly with CMEs and COPIC points.
  2. Building collaborations to offer social events exclusive to PCMS members such as member night at the art museum or symphony
  3. Continuing advocacy efforts in collaboration with Colorado Medical Society and our local coalition, Advancing Control of Legal Substances to keep Pueblo smoke free and push for better regulations on cannabis.
  4. Creating a directory of services for membership to include reputable contractors, realtors, bankers, maid service, childcare providers, and much more. Email us with any recommendations.
  5. Building partnerships with local groups to develop resources and programs for new physicians looking for community and networking.

We hope you’ve been able to benefit from your membership with your local medical society. If not, let us fix that right away! Call or text me at 719-281-6073, or email [email protected] to see how we may better meet your needs. We’d love to hear your feedback!

If you have any questions regarding your membership, benefits, or renewal, please give us a call or send us a text message at 719-281-6073.

Kind regards,

Cheryl Law
PCMS CEO

By Dr. Vinh Chung

Risk taking may be a desired trait in a man. From Henry Ford to Warren Buffett, risk takers throughout history have stepped into risk to win big. The gender gap in taking risks with one's health has been documented. According to a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, American men are more likely to partake in a variety of hazardous behaviors, among them – heavy drinking and smoking, remaining overweight, and sidestepping regular preventive dentist and physician visits.

When it comes to maintaining our health (especially of the skin) – throwing caution to the wind is never a move that is advised. One out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. Skin cancer takes the lives of two Americans every hour, and melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma is also more common in men; white men are two times more likely to die of melanoma than white women of the same age. By age 80, men are three times more likely to die of melanoma than women.

Several factors contribute to this gender disparity. The first is related to UV exposure which increases likelihood of developing skin cancer. On average, men spend 10 more hours per week in the sun compared to women. Men’s shorter haircuts also mean more exposure to the ears and back of the neck. These are common areas for developing skin cancer. While sunscreen can help reduce UV damage, men are less likely than women to wear sunscreen. 

Fortunately, most skin cancers including melanoma are treatable and curable if detected early. Unfortunately, men are less likely to be aware of changes in their skin or to see a doctor regularly. A Cleveland Clinic study indicates only half of men see a doctor regularly and the majority of men would rather do household chores than see a doctor. This delay in melanoma diagnosis can be deadly.

I’m a dermatologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, and our practice sees thousands of skin cancer cases every year. What I wish for my patients is prevention, early diagnosis, and early treatment. A few simple changes in lifestyle can make all the difference.

  • Switch up your schedule: UV rays are harshest between 12pm and 3pm. If you are mowing the lawn, walking the dog, or hitting the outdoors with your buddies – try to minimize your exposure during these peak hours. 
  • Wear protective clothing: Be sure to dress for the occasion. It is always great to have UV-blocking sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, long pants, and a UPF shirt in your sunsafe wardrobe arsenal. 
  • Find a sunscreen you’ll wear: Most people have good intentions about wearing sunscreen, and the key is to find a 30+ SPF sunscreen that you’re willing to wear every day. Sunscreen doesn’t work until you squeeze it out of the bottle and apply it on your skin. Put the bottle of sunscreen next to your toothbrush, so you can put it on after brushing your teeth in the morning. This daily step takes only a minute but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Check yourself out or have a partner do it. Be aware of all moles and spots on your skin and report any changes to your dermatologist promptly. Melanoma is curable in the very early stages. 
  • See your dermatologist:  Have your dermatologist check you out from head to toe with a total body skin exam. He/she will be able to notice spots that are concerning and see areas that are harder for you to notice. Early detection can lead to early treatment and early cure.

Men, if your wife insists that you see a doctor, just do it. Don’t be a baby. Your wife is not nagging. She cares about you and wants you to be around for the future.

Women, if there is a man in your life who hasn’t seen a dermatologist or has a new, concerning spot, then encourage him to see a dermatologist. You may be saving his skin – literally.

About the author:

Dr. Vinh Chung is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon at

Vanguard Skin Specialists. He specializes in treating skin cancers and takes care of patients in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. For more information, visit www.vanguardskin.com. For appointments, call 719-543-1111. 





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