News

Mass-vaccination centers to open, but only for those without primary care physicians

Santa Clara County calls out Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Health for failing to report vaccination data

CVS pharmacist Benjamin Hinton II gives Channing House resident George Young the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the retirement community on Dec. 28. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Anyone hoping to be vaccinated at one of the COVID-19 mass-vaccination centers in Santa Clara or San Mateo counties is likely to be turned away if they have a primary care physician, Santa Clara County staff said on Tuesday.

The clarification comes at a time when people are inundating health care providers with requests for vaccination appointments and all providers, including the two counties, are facing highly limited supplies. The counties aren't set up to take on the patients of large health care providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation or Stanford Health Care, Santa Clara County staff told the Health and Hospital Committee on Jan. 19. Clients of other health care facilities will need to get their vaccinations through their providers, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith said during Santa Clara County's Health and Hospital Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Committee Chair Supervisor Joe Simitian noted that the decision would be distressing to some county residents, who would likely feel entitled to the vaccines since they are county taxpayers. But with four health care providers serving more than three-quarters of patients, the county would be quickly overwhelmed and would be unable to serve its core clients, many of whom are low and very low income.

The county receives its allocation of vaccines once a week, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. On Jan. 19, it received a total of 29,350 vaccines from the state, which includes doses for people having their first shot and for those who are now ready to receive their second injection. The federal government hasn't communicated in advance to allow counties and health providers to prepare, she said.

"As far as being able to plan ahead, it's impossible," she said.

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County health leaders said they also have limited information from the other health care providers, since different entities receive their allotments separately from the state. Others, such as CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and the Veterans Administration, get their allocations from the federal government.

The Santa Clara County Health System has administered 42,306 first doses and 7,517 second doses out of 77,775 total doses as of Jan. 19. The county currently has 27,747 appointments scheduled within the next seven days, according to the county's COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.

Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara County has received 12,650 first doses and administered 12,333 doses. It received 6,975 second doses and administered 3,206 second doses as of Jan. 19. It currently has 5,400 patient appointments scheduled.

Stanford Health Care has received 25,700 first doses, administered 20,704 and received 8,775 second doses, having administered 9,864. Stanford has only 200 patients registered for vaccinations in the next seven days. The larger numbers of administered doses above allocations may be due to the county providing a few thousand doses from its stockpile to cover health care workers at facilities that received a small allocation compared to their size, county officials said.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation, however, has failed to report any of the data, Cody said. Those numbers are required under a county health order, which requires medical facilities except for those under federal jurisdiction to submit their data on allocations, vaccinations and appointments. If facilities don't follow up on a timely basis, they could be subject to fines and penalties, county staff said.

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Health officials have had informal conversations with Palo Alto Medical Foundation and recently approached them more formally.

"We've told PAMF they need to produce the data now," Cody said, emphatically.

(Update: PAMF has now reported the data to the county. As of Jan. 21 the medical center reported it has been allocated 14,800 first-vaccine doses and administered 7,365 doses. It has received 9,500 second doses and hasnot administered any at this time. PAMF also scheduled 7,154 appointments in the next seven days.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation, which is part of Sutter Health, has not told Santa Clara County how many COVID-19 vaccine doses it has distributed, county officials said Jan. 19. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Simitian said the large health care providers are going to be the drivers of vaccinating the population.

"The Big Four serve 85% of the population," he said. Kaiser is responsible for about 30% of patients in the county; Sutter/Palo Alto Medical handles 21%; 17% are cared for by Stanford and its affiliates; and 15% are clients of the county, he said.

"If the county's position is that it can't accept the responsibility to give Kaiser and Sutter patients vaccines, we need to work with them to get vaccines to their patients. It's incumbent to push on them," Simitian said.

There has been much confusion over who is eligible for the vaccines, he noted. California health officials have opened up vaccine eligibility to anyone age 65 and older. Santa Clara County has approved vaccinations only for those who are 75 and older in the state's Phase 1B and health care workers who are covered under the state's Phase 1A protocols. San Mateo County said it would vaccinate people who are 65 and older earlier this week, but has since said it currently does not have enough vaccine doses to do so.

Few health care providers are going that far, however. Kaiser, which previously announced it was making the vaccines available to a limited number of people 65 years and older, has now scaled back to those who are age 75 and older, Smith said.

County leaders said they will soon be opening a mass-vaccination center at the Mountain View Community Center, which will soon be taking appointments, but once again, it isn't open to patients with primary care physicians. Patients of county medical centers should receive their vaccines through their providers.

Santa Clara County isn't the only county facing vaccine shortages, Cody said.

"Every (health officer) in the state is hampered by the short supply. In general, the big challenge across the state is supply. There's not enough supply from the (federal government) to the state and not enough from the state to the counties," she said.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a separate press conference on Tuesday that the state is pushing to vaccinate another 1 million people by this weekend. The state would likely announce its updated guidance in the next 24 hours based on federal guidelines, he said. He is also hopeful that more vaccines will be forthcoming after the incoming Biden administration takes over on Jan. 20.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Mass-vaccination centers to open, but only for those without primary care physicians

Santa Clara County calls out Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Health for failing to report vaccination data

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 9:40 am
Updated: Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 3:27 pm

Anyone hoping to be vaccinated at one of the COVID-19 mass-vaccination centers in Santa Clara or San Mateo counties is likely to be turned away if they have a primary care physician, Santa Clara County staff said on Tuesday.

The clarification comes at a time when people are inundating health care providers with requests for vaccination appointments and all providers, including the two counties, are facing highly limited supplies. The counties aren't set up to take on the patients of large health care providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation or Stanford Health Care, Santa Clara County staff told the Health and Hospital Committee on Jan. 19. Clients of other health care facilities will need to get their vaccinations through their providers, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith said during Santa Clara County's Health and Hospital Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Committee Chair Supervisor Joe Simitian noted that the decision would be distressing to some county residents, who would likely feel entitled to the vaccines since they are county taxpayers. But with four health care providers serving more than three-quarters of patients, the county would be quickly overwhelmed and would be unable to serve its core clients, many of whom are low and very low income.

The county receives its allocation of vaccines once a week, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. On Jan. 19, it received a total of 29,350 vaccines from the state, which includes doses for people having their first shot and for those who are now ready to receive their second injection. The federal government hasn't communicated in advance to allow counties and health providers to prepare, she said.

"As far as being able to plan ahead, it's impossible," she said.

County health leaders said they also have limited information from the other health care providers, since different entities receive their allotments separately from the state. Others, such as CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and the Veterans Administration, get their allocations from the federal government.

The Santa Clara County Health System has administered 42,306 first doses and 7,517 second doses out of 77,775 total doses as of Jan. 19. The county currently has 27,747 appointments scheduled within the next seven days, according to the county's COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.

Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara County has received 12,650 first doses and administered 12,333 doses. It received 6,975 second doses and administered 3,206 second doses as of Jan. 19. It currently has 5,400 patient appointments scheduled.

Stanford Health Care has received 25,700 first doses, administered 20,704 and received 8,775 second doses, having administered 9,864. Stanford has only 200 patients registered for vaccinations in the next seven days. The larger numbers of administered doses above allocations may be due to the county providing a few thousand doses from its stockpile to cover health care workers at facilities that received a small allocation compared to their size, county officials said.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation, however, has failed to report any of the data, Cody said. Those numbers are required under a county health order, which requires medical facilities except for those under federal jurisdiction to submit their data on allocations, vaccinations and appointments. If facilities don't follow up on a timely basis, they could be subject to fines and penalties, county staff said.

Health officials have had informal conversations with Palo Alto Medical Foundation and recently approached them more formally.

"We've told PAMF they need to produce the data now," Cody said, emphatically.

(Update: PAMF has now reported the data to the county. As of Jan. 21 the medical center reported it has been allocated 14,800 first-vaccine doses and administered 7,365 doses. It has received 9,500 second doses and hasnot administered any at this time. PAMF also scheduled 7,154 appointments in the next seven days.

Simitian said the large health care providers are going to be the drivers of vaccinating the population.

"The Big Four serve 85% of the population," he said. Kaiser is responsible for about 30% of patients in the county; Sutter/Palo Alto Medical handles 21%; 17% are cared for by Stanford and its affiliates; and 15% are clients of the county, he said.

"If the county's position is that it can't accept the responsibility to give Kaiser and Sutter patients vaccines, we need to work with them to get vaccines to their patients. It's incumbent to push on them," Simitian said.

There has been much confusion over who is eligible for the vaccines, he noted. California health officials have opened up vaccine eligibility to anyone age 65 and older. Santa Clara County has approved vaccinations only for those who are 75 and older in the state's Phase 1B and health care workers who are covered under the state's Phase 1A protocols. San Mateo County said it would vaccinate people who are 65 and older earlier this week, but has since said it currently does not have enough vaccine doses to do so.

Few health care providers are going that far, however. Kaiser, which previously announced it was making the vaccines available to a limited number of people 65 years and older, has now scaled back to those who are age 75 and older, Smith said.

County leaders said they will soon be opening a mass-vaccination center at the Mountain View Community Center, which will soon be taking appointments, but once again, it isn't open to patients with primary care physicians. Patients of county medical centers should receive their vaccines through their providers.

Santa Clara County isn't the only county facing vaccine shortages, Cody said.

"Every (health officer) in the state is hampered by the short supply. In general, the big challenge across the state is supply. There's not enough supply from the (federal government) to the state and not enough from the state to the counties," she said.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a separate press conference on Tuesday that the state is pushing to vaccinate another 1 million people by this weekend. The state would likely announce its updated guidance in the next 24 hours based on federal guidelines, he said. He is also hopeful that more vaccines will be forthcoming after the incoming Biden administration takes over on Jan. 20.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

[email protected]
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:16 am
[email protected], Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:16 am

I have written to both Supervisors Joe Simitian and Warren Slocum, to protest Sutter Health snd Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s failing to report the required vaccine data. It is horrendous that a major health center in our area would not follow the required guidelines. I encourage everyone to do the same and to also reach out to Sutter and PAMF to make their displeasure known.


coughvid
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:37 am
coughvid, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:37 am

I'm in Pamf ... no messages about vaccination time or schedules, no data about where they are with what they have. I'd even understand them saying "at this point, we cannot predict supply, but you are x in the queue when it comes". That they don't comply with data reporting ... why wait to fine them? Fine them now and use the cash to accelerate the vaccine to at least someone.


localmom46
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:56 am
localmom46, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:56 am

The more I watch how PAMF is handling Covid testing and now vaccinations, the more I think it’s time to find new providers for our family. We have wonderful physicians at PAMF, but I’m horrified with how Sutter and PAMF are acting.


Palo Verde Parent
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Palo Verde Parent, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:15 pm

This is so incredibly unfair. Because I have health insurance (Sutter) I can't go to the County Center?? How can Sutter be allowed to not report data to the county and basically not serve their patients? I have loved my Doctors at PAMF, but I will be looking for a new provider once open enrollment happens. PAMF used to be a wonderful asset to our community, very sad to see how mismanaged it has become.


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:32 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:32 pm

My family and I have been using PAMF/Sutter for years. Is there a way we can exert pressure on them to do the right and necessary thing? We want to make clear to them that if they do not improve, we will take our business elsewhere.


Shwonder Sharikov
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:33 pm
Shwonder Sharikov, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:33 pm

“ its core clients, many of whom are low and very low income.”

I thought tax payers are core clients?


Marie
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Jan 20, 2021 at 1:55 pm
Marie, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 1:55 pm

Shwonder Sharikov: if you have health insurance, would you go to the county for your health care? I think not. So how could you be one of their core clients if you have never used them for healthcare? Save your wrath for the failures of the big 3, Kaiser, Stanford Healthcare, Sutter/PAMF.

Unlike the county and the Stanford Community (who knew Stanford Hospital and Healthcare are not part of the Stanford Community) and many retirement communities who share data on testing, positive cases and deaths, they share nothing. The message is "trust us." We follow standards (never defining those standards).

Is it any wonder that I have postponed all routine healthcare since last March? I have no interest in contracting COVID at a facility (in my case PAMF) that will provide no assurance that my healthcare providers have been tested or vaccinated. Maybe by April, COVID cases will have diminished, I will be vaccinated, and probably something like 60% of healthcare providers will be vaccinated. Then I will risk going for a long delayed physical. I have no right to ask if providers have been vaccinated. What I will do is ask that anyone who has not been vaccinated, please stay 6 feet away.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2021 at 2:57 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Maybe by April there will be no vaccine doses left.


Mondoman
Registered user
Green Acres
on Jan 20, 2021 at 5:03 pm
Mondoman, Green Acres
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2021 at 5:03 pm

Here's the link for signing up for a vaccine from PAMF:
Web Link
Last week, the online signup kept failing due to timeout errors and general failure to cope with the load. The phone number resulted in a 30 minute hold, but then a pleasant, efficient signup process.
Good luck!


max
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2021 at 10:04 am
max, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2021 at 10:04 am

The state is controlling where the vaccines get delivered and the County must have access this information. With just three organizations providing almost all of medical delivery in the county, the County should be capable of monitoring whether the delivered product is being used appropriately. What is likely happening is that the state is directing vaccine to underserved groups first. So, the first question is whether Kaiser and Sutter are getting the supplies they need from the state?


Charleen Larson
Registered user
another community
on Jan 21, 2021 at 10:41 am
Charleen Larson, another community
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2021 at 10:41 am

PAMF is only scheduling health care workers right now. I just tried signing up for a vaccination five minutes ago and that's the response I got.

Who knows when they'll get to 65+?


Lynne Henderson
Registered user
another community
on Jan 21, 2021 at 11:44 am
Lynne Henderson, another community
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2021 at 11:44 am

I give up. I am grateful that people who should have vaccinations are getting them, although at a slow rate. Health care, grocery workers, service workers, farmworkers who keep us going should "come first. " People of color and older people of whatever "race" living in communal situations should "come first", as should people living in close quarters.
I'm over 70, but I'm not 75, although I have "qualifying" pre-existing conditions.
I have been blessed for many years to have an outstanding personal care physician, but she is still in "private practice" and therefore not a proper referring physician for Stanford, PAMF, etc. as nearly as I can determine. So who knows when I can get vaccinated? Or have a life again?

Quelle mess!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 21, 2021 at 9:01 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2021 at 9:01 pm

PAMF's arrogance continues to be absurd. Where are our "leaders"??


LC
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 22, 2021 at 8:12 am
LC, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2021 at 8:12 am

PAMF/ Sutter reports everything to the State. The county needs to stop over complicating things and just pull the data by county like every other county does. Multi county health providers do not get enough doses from the state. People are frustrated but Sutter was first to vaccinate anyone from the community. Everyone needs to be patient as the only real barrier PAMF has is the amount of doses they received. Maybe call your reps to have the county give more doses to these healthcare providers.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 22, 2021 at 9:41 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2021 at 9:41 am

In mid-April, PAMF still hadn't even required its workers to mask up. I remember the letter they sent bragging that they were requiring masks in mid-April because I was so horrified at what I saw there during a mid-March appointment.


Sarah Smith
Registered user
Stanford
on Jan 23, 2021 at 6:57 pm
Sarah Smith, Stanford
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2021 at 6:57 pm

Stanford is now taking vaccine appointments for people over age 65 who live in Santa Clara or San Mateo Counties. You don't have to be a Stanford patient.


NS
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 31, 2021 at 8:07 pm
NS, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 31, 2021 at 8:07 pm

First, re the comment about Stanford: I believe that Stanford requires, at least on paper, that you have received care there within the last 3 years, in order to be vaccinated there, as well as the other requirements mentioned (age and county of residence).

I too am distressed about PAMF's lack of reporting and transparency. The irony is that by being more forthcoming with data, I think we would all be more understanding with them. For instance, if they reported, "we have received 14,000 doses and have administered 7000 to health care workers, and have 7000 appointments scheduled next week for the remaining doses we have on hand, with our patients age 75 and over, and anticipate that we still need to vaccinate 20,000 more before we can progress to the next tier of 65+", we'd understand the math and wait more patiently. But by telling us nothing, it is a natural reaction to suspect that they aren't working up to speed, or they're giving doses to non-priority individuals, etc. Our trust in institutions has been so eroded in the last few years that we really need better communication from them to restore trust. I somehow think that if PAMF had a lot of doses, they'd be vaccinating their patients as fast as possible; either the vaccine supply is just woefully inadequate, or it is being allocated incorrectly, or something else is happening up the supply chain.


Janice
Registered user
another community
on Feb 1, 2021 at 8:43 am
Janice, another community
Registered user
on Feb 1, 2021 at 8:43 am

The ruling that patients have to see their primary physician to get the COVID vaccine is terrible. At this rate, I'll be waiting until mid-summer to get the vaccine. I'm 66 and have a couple of underlying health conditions. I'm a sitting duck for this virus.


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