Who can enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider?
Any facility, organization, or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll. Additionally, interested providers must agree to all conditions and requirements as listed in CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement.
My organization is unable to meet the requirements listed in the provider agreement, but we still want to make sure our employees and clients get vaccinated?
DHEC encourages organizations unable to meet the requirements listed in the provider agreement to email ACC-Immunization@dhec.sc.gov to be included on the outreach list regarding future vaccination services once vaccine is available.
How can my organization enroll in DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program?
Organizations can visit DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider page to access the link to the program enrollment form.
Our organization’s headquarters is located in North Carolina, but we have clinics all over South Carolina. Can we still enroll?
Yes. A parent organization, and its responsible officers, such as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer, may be located outside of South Carolina, and be licensed in a state other than South Carolina. All locations that will receive vaccine, and for which an organization will complete a Provider Profile (Section B), must be located in South Carolina.
Which providers will get the vaccine first?
At this time, jurisdictions are planning for Vaccine A (Pfizer/BioNTech), which is an ultra-cold vaccine (stored at -90°C to -60°C) that must be ordered in minimum quantities of 1,000 doses to be available as early as late November 2020. DHEC will activate enrolled providers for Phase 1 based on:
- their capacity to a) acquire and replenish dry ice in vaccine shipping containers to recharge them over 10 days, b) store 1,000 doses for 5 days in a refrigerator, or c) store 1,000 in a ultra-low temperature freezer
- their ability to administer at least 1,000 doses to priority populations (employed by/served by/from the community/or any combination) within 10 days
- their ability to facilitate distribution and administration of vaccine to smaller sites that will reach priority populations
- their capacity to ensure proper vaccine storage, handling, and administration practices
Additional providers will be activated as vaccine supply increases.
Will all COVID-19 vaccine types be ultra-cold?
Based on known information, other potential and future COVID-19 vaccine types will be either frozen (-20C) or refrigerated (2C-8C) and will ship in minimum orders of 100 doses. The expected timelines for vaccine availability is unknown at this time, however, as those clinical trials must be completed and FDA approval obtained.
Our organization is already enrolled in DHEC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Can we just order COVID-19 vaccine through SIMON?
Regardless of VFC program participation, CDC requires all providers wanting to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccine to separately enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Both programs are overseen by DHEC’s Immunization Division, however, and SIMON will be used for all COVID-19 vaccine ordering, distribution, and reporting.
Can a provider choose to order/stock certain vaccines?
No. Allocations will be based upon available vaccines, and distributions to states will be determined by CDC.
How much can I charge for the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars and distributed to providers enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccination program must be provided to all recipients at no cost. However, providers can charge a vaccine administration fee. Vaccine providers can pursue fee reimbursement via the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also released new Medicare payment rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration. The Medicare payment rates will be $28.39 to administer single-dose vaccines. For a COVID-19 vaccine requiring a series of two or more doses, the initial dose(s) administration payment rate will be $16.94, and $28.39 for the administration of the final dose in the series. These rates will be geographically adjusted. CMS will issue additional guidance.
Provider Requirements and Legal Agreement (Section A)
Our organization’s attorney reviewed the agreement and wants to make language amendments. Who do we submit those to?
The CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement may not be changed in any way nor may an organization opt out of any requirements.
The DHEC form asks for an Organization’s email address. Is there a certain role this contact will need to fulfill?
The email address listed needs to be monitored routinely as it will serve as the main contact method for the COVID-19 vaccination program. DHEC advises the organization’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) or Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/ Chief Fiduciary Officer (CFO) to add their email address.
Can the same individual be listed as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer?
Yes, if these roles are both filled by the same individual, it is appropriate to list the individual in both sections of the form.
What is a Chief Fiduciary Officer?
Often, a chief fiduciary serves as a trustee to the health system, hospital, or clinic that employs them. This position often manages the organization’s finances.
The DHEC form asks for a typed signature. Is this type of signature considered a valid signature for a legal agreement?
Yes. CDC has specified that South Carolina and other jurisdictions can obtain valid signatures via electronic and typed methods.
Our organization has not determined which of our locations in South Carolina will be COVID-19 vaccination clinic locations. The agreement asks me to list the number of affiliated locations. How should we move forward?
DHEC recognizes that organizations are still in the planning stages for COVID-19 vaccination response. Organizations should estimate the number of locations, and consider overestimating this number reasonably to allow for uncertainties and future planning. Organizations are not bound to offer COVID-19 vaccines at the number of sites they list.
I only listed 4 locations in my organization’s agreement but we have decided we want to enroll 12 sites. How can I change this?
Because the Provider Agreement is considered a legal agreement, DHEC cannot change the number of location sites listed in the agreement without your written request. Please email COVIDProviderEnrollment@dhec.sc.gov to make this change.
Program Provider Profile Information (Section B)
Can our Primary VFC Coordinator serve as the Primary COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator?
Yes. It can be advantageous for the location if the primary COVID-19 vaccine coordinator and the primary VFC vaccine coordinator are the same individual. The COVID-19 vaccine coordinator will have similar role and responsibilities, including vaccine shipment receipt, vaccine ordering, and vaccine storage and handling monitoring.
We are short-staffed. Can the primary COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator and the Back-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator be the same person?
No. The primary and back-up COVID-19 vaccine coordinators must be different individuals. DHEC will not approve enrollment applications that have the same individual listed.
We are a medium pharmacy chain that has 3 locations in the same county. Can one location order the vaccine and transport it to the others?
It is preferred that the pharmacy chain complete one section A for the organization and complete a section B for each of its pharmacy chain locations so they can receive vaccine directly. If an organization has the ability to transport vaccine among its locations (e.g. vaccine storage coolers, portable continuous temperature monitoring devices), however, DHEC encourages the pharmacy to complete the agreement for each of its locations and send a redistribution request to COVIDProviderEnrollment@dhec.sc.gov.
What if my location’s provider type is not listed?
Select the provider type closest to the option representing your organization. “Other” may be selected and additional information regarding the provider type may be entered.
Our organization has not determined which settings our clinic will administer COVID-19 vaccine. How should we move forward?
DHEC recognizes that organizations are still in the planning stages for COVID-19 vaccination response. Locations should select all the potential settings (mobile clinic, schools, in-home, etc.) where the clinic staff might administer COVID-19 vaccine. Locations will not be bound to offer COVID-19 clinics at the selected locations. This information is for planning purposes.
How should my clinic estimate the average number of unique patients for each of the listed populations seen per week?
Clinics may use billing information or clinic appointment scheduling information to estimate the number of patients routinely served in a week for each category (0-18, 19-64, and 65 and older). Unique patient refers to counting individual patients only once during the given week timeframe. Facilities are encouraged to report averages that reflect current trends. information is intended to be an estimate and not an exact count of patients.
Should my organization use a certain date to calculate the number of patients/clients seen during the peak week of the 2019-20 influenza season?
Organizations are encouraged to estimate the maximum number of influenza vaccine doses given in a one-week period during the 2019-20 influenza season. Many organizations observe higher administration numbers October-November. CDC, however, recommends that vaccine should be administered by the end of October, but vaccination should continue to be offered as long as influenza viruses are circulating locally and unexpired vaccine is available.
Who can sign the storage unit attestation section of the Provider Profile?
The location’s medical director, pharmacy director, or vaccine coordinator can sign the attestation.
We have over 1,000 clinical staff with prescribing authority at our facilities. Who should be listed as a provider in Section B Supplemental?
Providers (MD, DO, PA, APRN, PharmD and RPh) who will prescribe COVID-19 vaccinations should be listed. A maximum of 25 providers per location can be listed. If a standing order is authorizing the administration of COVID-19 vaccine, only the providers giving the order need to be listed.