CONSIDERATIONS & SUGGESTED PRACTICES FOR AMBULATORY
HIV SPECIALTY CARE DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Academy is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 across our country, knowing that many of our members and credentialed providers are inevitably on the frontlines of combatting this pandemic while also continuing to take care of current patient loads. Without understanding the full effect COVID-19 may have on people living with HIV, it is imperative to take precaution in caring for this population.

To that end, we reached out to our Academy chapter chairs around the country to gather recommendations and special considerations for care and treatment of people with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following represents their collective feedback. We hope this is useful information that you might be able to implement to the extent that your state allows.

 

  1. Outreach to people with CD4 <500 to offer phone visits to provide education, reassurance and assess the need for prescription refills
  2. Provide telehealth or E-visits for patients for whom it’s practical; reserving in-person visits for instances in which it is absolutely necessary
  3. Increase prescription quantities to 90 days or longer to reduce need for patients to travel more frequently for refills. *Note, the Academy has also been assured that the manufacturing supply is robust, with no problems related to the fulfillment of pharmaceuticals. If you are not finding that to be the case, please let us know.
  4. Allow prescriptions to be refilled prior to due dates; waiving wait-time restrictions on refills when possible (may be insurance restrictions)
  5. Provide Buprenorphine or other forms of MAT for SUD prescriptions without requiring patients to come in for urine drug screens
  6. Refill prescriptions for controlled pain medications by phone or electronic prescribing (currently mandated by many practices)
  7. Cancel routine follow-up office visits for at least the next 2 weeks
  8. Disallow visitors to accompany non-urgent patients to appointments
  9. Keep waiting rooms empty as possible; family members, partners, friends etc should be asked to wait in their vehicle in parking lot
  10. Call scheduled patients the night before their appointment to screen for respiratory symptoms; advise patients not come to their office appointment if they are sick

If you have additional recommendations, please share your thoughts within our Academy Communities. Given the unprecedented nature of this public health crisis, this should be a time of sharing of best practices in order to combat the pandemic.

Federal and state governmental agencies are instituting drastic measures to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, including social distancing. In support of these measures and to ensure the safety of our team, the Academy is instituting teleworking options for all of our staff for the next two weeks. We will reassess after March 27 and act accordingly. Please know that this will not prevent us from supporting our members and credentialed providers. Our phone lines remain the same and we will continue to be responsive to your needs via email as well. We hope that you, your loved ones and patients all remain healthy and safe during this time.