Harvard Pilgrim recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted the routine operations of many provider offices and clinics since March, causing many non-emergent services to be put on hold and shifting priorities at facilities across the country.
Now that physical distancing restrictions have decreased in most settings, it is critical that pediatric and adult patients return to their providers’ offices to receive important vaccinations, if they can do it safely. This is especially important for those at greater risk of infection and those with risk factors for more severe COVID-19 disease. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential need for a return to stricter distancing guidelines, now is the time for these patients to get vaccinated to prevent additional infectious outbreaks.
Harvard Pilgrim has launched a health services initiative to support our provider network in your efforts to get patients in for vaccinations. The initiative is focused on reminding our members of the importance of getting vaccinated and assuring them that doctors’ offices and clinics are taking the necessary precautions so they can continue to come in and receive their immunizations.
We have begun sending member communications, urging them to call their primary care physicians to make appointments for themselves and their children for any immunizations they may have missed during lockdown/stay-at-home orders.
As a reminder, pediatric patients can have their annual well visit split into two parts, if needed, with a portion done remotely and the vaccination and physical done in-person. This is reimbursed at the same rate as in-office visits. Only one visit can be billed once all the components of the visit are completed. More information on Harvard Pilgrim’s interim policy regarding telemedicine/telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
Harvard Pilgrim is here to support you in maintaining optimal patient and community health during August’s National Immunization Awareness Month and beyond. We recommend that you and/or your office staff refer to the following resources to support physical distancing in your practice while you bring patients back:
- CDC Guidance on Immunizations During a Pandemic
- AAP National Immunization Awareness Month link
- CDC Print Resources to Post in Your Office
- Infectious Diseases Society of America COVID-19 poster
Director, Network Operations