These are some of my notes:

Dr. Scott Harris updated physicians in the state, confirmed that there had been 196 cases of COVID-19 identified in Alabama. 

As most of you are aware, there have been limitations put on office visits and elective procedures. At this time, those restrictions will be lifted as scheduled on April 6, 2020.

The goal is to keep people requiring screens out of the emergency departments. There have been 17 testing sites set up across the state. ADHP has couriers in every county. Dr. Harris said that the state lab is running tests promptly once they obtain the specimens, usually within 24 hours of receipt, but they are advising the public to expect the results within 72 hours of testing. It is highly encouraged that physicians complete a PUI form from the ADHP website when a patient is getting tested.

There are shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). At this time, the government is not helping to mandate the infrastructure of PPE disbursement. Each state is competing with all other Health Departments for PPEs. Alabama has requested PPE from Federal stores and plans to give priority access to hospitals with critical patients.

Some pertinent questions came up:

Why are there not any shelter and place orders for the state of Alabama? At this time, there are not any shelter and place orders for the state of Alabama. It is currently in discussions with state representatives. Still, at this time, shelter and place orders will be reevaluated in the future, but it will require cooperation at the state level.

An overwhelming response came from the public volunteering to sew facemasks. Per Dr. Harris, N95 is what is preferred. N95 needs to be conserved for high invasive procedures. However, he did not specify if sewn facemasks may be worn over N95 to help preserve the N95 masks. 

Dr. Brenson in Montgomery asked what technology is used to track infected patients and to track possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the future.  Dr. Harris responded that the ADHP is currently working on getting technology in place for that. At this time, the goal is "Protection, Identification, and treatment."

A physician in Cullman pointed out there appear to be patients who are asymptomatic and spreading the virus. However, per Dr. Harris, the number of asymptomatic patients is unknown due to the lack of mass testing availability.

You can refer to the ADPH website for more and listen to this conversation in its entirety.

Dr. Harris is doing a fantastic job in a challenging situation.

Thank you,

Sara Beth Nelson

Outreach Coordinator

ADPH/MASA COVID-19 Press Conference Broadcast Date: March 23, 2020

MP4 | YouTube

Health Insurance Issuers’ Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

LAST UPDATED: March 23, 2020 

The Alabama Department of Insurance is actively engaged with our health insurance industry to ensure appropriate protections are being implemented in response to the spread of the Coronavirus. The Department has compiled the following information from health insurance issuers providing coverage in Alabama. Please click on the links provided for full details regarding the policies of each issuer.

Telehealth Billing Guide for Providers

Telehealth Billing Guide for Providers

LAST UPDATED: March 25, 2020

BlueCrossBlueShield of Alabama has provided a telehealth billing guide for physicians during this time. All codes should be billed with Place of Service Code 02 – Telehealth. No modifier is required at this time. Only the codes listed below have been approved for use during the expanded telehealth period (COVID-19 response). 

Note: The information in this billing guide is subject to change. Check for the most current information.

Telehealth Billing Guide BCBS 

Drive-through Collection Site

Huntsville Hospital, Thrive Alabama, and the City of Huntsville are partnering to provide a Drive-Through Specimen Collection Site at John Hunt Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  DRIVE THROUGH CLOSED TODAY, MARCH 30th due to lack of supplies.

  • The criteria for individuals using the drive-through COVID-19 Collection Site has changed.
  • Effective on Monday, March 23 a provider will be on-site to assess individuals without a physician order to determine if they meet COVID-19 testing criteria.
  • The collection site will reopen on Monday, March 23, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at John Hunt Park.
  • Individuals should not open their car windows until given instructions.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A PHYSICIAN ORDER.  THERE IS A PRACTITIONER ONSITE WHO CAN PROVIDE AN ORDER FOR TESTING IF APPROPRIATE.   All presenting are screened,  actual TESTING is NOT GUARANTEED because we try to conserve resources, testing material, for those with indications.  

Flu and Fever Clinic at 120 Governors Drive is also open 9 -5.

March 23, 2020

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