On Friday, Jan. 15, call centers across Johns Hopkins Medicine locations in Maryland as well as those of other health care providers in the state began to experience issues with long hold times and busy signals. We have been told by our phone service provider that the issues that Maryland health care providers are experiencing are likely connected to an increase in patient call volume following Gov. Larry Hogan’s Jan. 14 announcement that the state would soon allow COVID-19 vaccination for people 75 and older.
Our phone service provider is working diligently to fix the problems. However, we anticipate intermittent issues to continue until they can be resolved. In the meantime, we are developing internal solutions to help minimize the impact, and we have placed notices on our primary patient-facing communications channels.
If patients reach out to you about this, please encourage them to bear with us. Feel free to share this information and advise them to try calling during nonpeak call hours until the issues are resolved.
We will provide you with any critical updates as they develop.
As you likely are aware, state and district jurisdiction dictates when, where and to whom we can offer COVID-19 vaccinations. Information and plans are evolving rapidly, and we remain committed to keeping you informed of our efforts.
Sibley Memorial Hospital has started to offer COVID-19 vaccination to Washington, D.C., residents age 65 and older and others that the District has identified as eligible. We will continue vaccinations at Sibley as long as our DC vaccine supply permits.
In Maryland, per Gov. Hogan, Johns Hopkins Medicine is working with the state to secure vaccine supply that will allow us to offer vaccinations to Maryland residents age 75 and older and other Maryland phase 1B-eligible residents whom the state asks us to vaccinate. We hope to begin offering vaccinations to members of this group next week.
Initial Johns Hopkins Medicine vaccine distribution sites include:
- Sibley Memorial Hospital (for Washington, D.C., residents)
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Outpatient Center
- Johns Hopkins Green Spring Station, Pavilion 1, Floor 4
- Johns Hopkins Community Physicians Germantown, Floor 2
- Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, John R. Burton Pavilion, Floor 4
- Howard County General Hospital, Pavilion First Floor Corridor, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Gym
Our current plan is to operate our vaccine program weekdays from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment only (hours may vary by location). No walk-ins will be allowed. The vaccinations are performed only at our designated vaccination sites. We are offering authorized COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Notification and Scheduling
Notification and scheduling are being conducted mostly through MyChart, and we encourage MyChart activation as much as possible. However, because some patients and others who are eligible do not have a MyChart account or ability to access or use digital devices, we are creating a call center for scheduling that we expect to be up and running soon. We are sensitive to the need to ensure plans for language translation and literacy support.
Every day, Johns Hopkins Medicine will select eligible vaccine recipients through a randomized process and invite them to schedule a vaccination. Selection is based on available vaccine quantity and a person’s eligibility according to state directives. Many communication channels are being used and considered to contact patients and members of the public as they become eligible to schedule a vaccination. These include MyChart messages, email, text messages, phone calls, direct mail and outreach through community groups.
Cost and Insurance Information
No patient will be charged for the vaccine or for its administration by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The vaccine is provided to Johns Hopkins Medicine by federal/state governments. When possible, Johns Hopkins Medicine will bill insurance providers for the cost to administer the vaccine in accordance with state and federal government guidance, and will provide instruction to health insurance providers and third-party payers to cover the cost of vaccine administration. This means that, when available, we will request and capture insurance information from the vaccine recipient. Those who are uninsured or who decline to provide their insurance coverage will be offered the vaccine free of charge.
Additional resources, including talking points, information about MyChart activation and scheduling guidance, and FAQs to help you and staff members communicate with patients and the public, can be found on our internal COVID-19 portal: covid19.insidehopkinsmedicine.org. We also post frequent updates and other COVID-19 content on our website.
If you have questions about the vaccine, you can call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546 daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — select option 4.
1/15/21: Below is a message from Dr. Abele, Chief Medical Officer at Sibley:
“We are excited to announce that we have started to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients who are age 65 or older and live in Washington, D.C., per guidance from DC Health. A patient is anyone who has sought care with a Johns Hopkins Medicine provider within the last two years. Individuals who meet these criteria will be contacted via email when a COVID-19 vaccine appointment is available in MyChart. We are contacting eligible patients to encourage them to activate their MyChart accounts online. We also are informing patients that it could take several weeks after activating their MyChart account before they receive a COVID-19 vaccination scheduling notification. We are working to distribute the vaccine to all eligible patients as quickly and equitably as possible and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through the large volume of patients who are interested in being vaccinated.
To help with the patient vaccine process, we ask that you:
- Encourage your patients to check the Sibley website for timely updates.
- Encourage your patients who meet the above criteria to activate their MyChart account.
If you choose to add information about being vaccinated at Sibley to your practice’s website, please provide a link to Sibley.org for details rather than adding specific information on your site. The latest information will always be available on Sibley.org, so linking to that page will ensure your patients have all relevant details.”
As Dr. Abele said, please visit Sibley.org for the most recent information. Unfortunately our office does not participate with MyChart, so we are unable to help you activate your account. If you need help, please contact the help desk at 443-997-6225.