COVID-19 FAQs for Medication Assisted Treatment Providers

Updated 1/13/22

General Information

What recommendations can I give patients to protect themselves and their family?

You can prevent infection by doing the following:

How soon after exposure do symptoms start?

In general, symptoms appear 2 – 14 days after exposure.

What can I tell my patients about the COVID-19 vaccines?

At this time, there are three vaccines for COVID-19 in the United States:

  1. Comirnaty/Pfizer
    1. Two-dose vaccine given 21 days apart
    2. Fully approved for use in individuals 16 and older, under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use in individuals 12 to 15
  2. Moderna
    1. Two-dose vaccine given 28 days apart
    2. Under EUA for use in individuals 18 and older
  3. Johnson and Johnson (J&)
    1. One-dose vaccine
    2. Under EUA for use in individuals 18 and older

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, visit

Where can my patients find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic near them?

Have them visit or

Is there a treatment?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one drug, Remdesivir, to treat COVID-19 in certain situations. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some people have developed pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.

Guidance Specific to Opioid Treatment Programs:

Infection Control and Social Distancing

Ask patients who have symptoms, are quarantined, or diagnosed with COVID-19 to call the program so the opioid treatment program can plan accordingly.

What can opioid treatment programs do to assist with social distancing?

Consider ways to limit close contact of both patients and staff. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of another person for 10 or more minutes.

Can programs dose someone in a separate room if they present with a fever or cough?

Yes. Develop procedures for staff to take patients who present with respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough to a location other than the general dispensary or lobby, to dose patients in closed rooms as needed. Provide masks for patients with symptoms. Follow CDC guidelines for infection control in a healthcare setting.

Can existing patients be seen through telehealth?


What SUD services by billing code are approved by KDHE for telephonic delivery in the home for KanCare SUD, Kansas Block Grant, and DUI providers?

SUD Providers: H0001, H0004, H0005 U5, H0006 U5, H0015 U5, H0038, H0038 HQ

Kansas Block Grant and DUI Providers: H0001 GT, H0004 GT, H0005 U5/GT, H0006 U5/GT, H0006 U5/HV/GT, H0007 GT, H0015 U5, H0015 U5/HA, H0038 GT/HF Individual, H0038 GT/HQ/HF Group.

Can opioid treatment programs provide take-home doses of prescriptions to stable patients?

Yes, SAMHSA has issued a blanket exemption to states that allow for up to 28 days of take home medication for patients who are stable and up to 14 days for those who are less stable but whom the program believes can safely handle this level of medication.

By regulation (42 CFR Section 8.12(i)(2)), the medical director shall make treatment program decisions on dispensing opioid treatment medications to patients for unsupervised use. An exemption request to SAMSHA will be needed if another physician takes responsibility for making decisions regarding unsupervised take home medication orders or dosing changes.

What if I cannot obtain written consent to disclose information because I am seeing a patient through telephone or telehealth technology?

KDADS has release guidance for SUD providers stating verbal consent obtained over the phone or the internet will be acceptable in place of signed consent where normally required.

42 CFR part 2 allows for a disclosure without consent to the extent necessary to meet a bona fide medical emergency in which a patient’s prior informed consent could not be obtained. Such disclosures must be documented the patient’s record. Providers determine whether a bona fide medical emergency exists for purposes of providing needed treatment to patients.

Can a new patient be admitted to an Opioid Treatment Program using telehealth?

What should an opioid treatment program do if a patent is under quarantine or isolation with the coronavirus?

  1. Document that the patient is medically ordered to be under isolation or quarantine. When possible, confirm source of information. The Sedgwick County Health Department can be reached at 316-660-7300.
  2. Identify a trustworthy, patient-designated, uninfected member of the household to deliver the medications using the OTP’s established chain of custody protocol for take home medication. OTPs should obtain documentation now as to who is designated permission to pick up medication for each patient.
  3. If a trustworthy member of the household is unavailable, then the OTP should prepare a “doorstep” delivery of take home medications. Any medication taken out of the OTP must be in an approved lock box. Contact the Kansas Opioid Treatment Authority (785-296-4079) to learn more about approved lock boxes. Contact the Medical Society at 316-683-7557 if you need assistance obtaining supplies due to shortages.

The OTP should always communicate with the patient prior to delivery to reduce risk of diversion. This may involve, but is not limited to: 

  1. Call placed to the patient prior to staff departure to deliver the medication ensuring that the patient or their approved designee (who must be a member of the patient’s household) is available to receive the medication at the address provided by the patient and recorded in the patient’s OTP medical record.
  2. Upon arrival, medication is delivered to the patient’s residence door and another call is made to the patient/designee notifying that the medications are at the door.
  3. The OTP staff is to retreat a minimum of 6 feet to observe that the medications are picked up by the patient or the designated person to receive the medications. The OTP staff person must ask the person who is retrieving the medication to identify themselves. Staff should determine that the person appearing to retrieve the medication is the patient or the household member named by the patient as having permission to do so. The OTP staff who deliver the medication shall remain until they have observe the retrieval of the medication by the patient or household member, and then document confirmation that medications were received by the patient or household member identified as permitted to pick up the medication.
  4. Do not leave medication in an unsecured area. OTP staff must remain with the medication until the patient or designated household member arrives and retrieves the medication.
  5. If the person who is to receive the medication is not at the designated location, an attempt should be made to reach that person. If the person does not arrive in a reasonable period of time, then the staff person must bring the medication back to the OTP where it will be stored in the pharmacy area until a determination is made whether another attempt will be made. Any medication returned to the OTP must be logged in. The medication delivery and pick up by the patient or designated household member, or return of medications to the OTP, must be documented in the patient’s OTP record and appropriate pharmacy records.

Business Continuity Planning

Opioid treatment programs (OTP’s) are an essential service. Programs should be prepared for staffing shortages as more people become sick and to provide more services should the capacity of other opioid treatment programs decrease.

If the supervising provider becomes sick or can otherwise no longer provide supervision, can mid-level practitioners continue to dispense and administer opioid agonist medications?

Yes, as long as the mid-level provider is a pharmacist, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or any other healthcare professional authorized by Federal and State law to administer or dispense opioid drugs; however, the mid-level provider would be acting as an “agent” of the supervising provider. The supervising provider would still assume responsibility for administering all medical services performed by the opioid treatment program.

May an OTP request an exemption to allow mid-level practitioners to perform functions that are required to be performed by an OTP physician or the medical director (under 42 C.F.R. § 8.12) in the event the medical director or physician cannot perform the regulatory functions?

Yes, an OTP may request an exemption from the requirements of 42 CFR § 8.12 in order to have midlevel providers perform functions related to admitting patients, ordering unsupervised take home medication, or changing medication doses during the COVID-19 emergency if consistent with applicable state law and the midlevel provider’s scope of licensure. 

If the OTP has received an exemption from SAMHSA for a mid-level practitioner to perform designated functions of the medical director from SAMHSA and subsequently that mid-level practitioner becomes unavailable, does the OTP need to submit another exemption request identifying the new midlevel by name?

No, if the mid-level exemption request has been approved, but the mid-level practitioner is no longer able to perform the designated duties, for instance due to illness, the OTP is not required to submit another request identifying the new mid-level practitioner. Program sponsors should contact SAMHSA’s Division of Pharmacological Therapies (DPT) in order to request OTP extranet system access for a provider.

When should staff return to work?

Please follow the guidance for healthcare workers located, here.

What else should my opioid treatment program be doing for our response to COVID-19?

Testing and Disease Investigation:

How do we test for COVID-19?

A healthcare provider obtains swabs deep in a person’s nose or throat for the test. The provider sends the swabs to a commercial laboratory or the state health department (Kansas Department of Health and Environment). Another option is through saliva testing, where the person being tested spits into a tube for the test.

Antibody and antigen tests are not confirmatory for COVID-19; therefore, the SCHD is not offering these types of tests.

Testing for COVID-19

A laboratory test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is performed by the state health department laboratory in Topeka or through commercial laboratories.  A small swab from a person’s nose or throat or the person’s saliva is used for the test.

People with symptoms who are currently being tested for COVID-19 should remain in home isolation, or hospital isolation if symptoms are severe enough to be hospitalized until test results are available. People without symptoms may continue normal activities while awaiting test results.

For COVID-19 testing through the Sedgwick County Health Department and a list of other testing clinics around Sedgwick County, click here.

Who should be tested?

After infection with a virus, the level of virus in a person’s body increases over time and then decreases when your immune system fights it off. The COVID-19 test will be positive if the amount of virus in your body is high enough to be detected by the test.

A negative COVID-19 test could mean that you do not have the virus OR it could mean that you don’t have enough virus in your body for it to be detectable.

Knowing your risk of exposure and your symptoms on the day of testing are important for the lab to properly interpret your results.

What happens if a healthcare worker tests positive for COVID-19?

How long do test results typically take?

Results are generally available by the afternoon of the next weekday (see table below). These testes are not antibody tests, but show if you have a current infection.

Clients Sampled On: Test Results Available Online Afternoon Of:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday  Next weekday (excluding County holidays)
Friday by 1 p.m. Saturday
Friday after 1 p.m., Saturday, Sunday Monday

What is a close contact?

You are considered a “close contact” if any of the following situations happened while you were with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 – even if they did not have symptoms:

What are the quarantine and isolation requirements for healthcare workers?

Please follow the guidance located, here.

Modified Disease Investigation

When can a person who tests positive resume normal activities?

See detailed information located, here.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements for Healthcare Providers Collecting Specimen Swabs from a Patient Suspected of Having COVID-19

What testing and standards should I consider when looking for CDC-recommended protective clothing?


What type of gown is recommended for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

What type of gowns are available for healthcare personnel to protect from COVID-19?

Gowns are available that protect against microorganisms. The choice of gown should be made based on the level of risk of contamination. Certain areas of surgical and isolation gowns are defined as “critical zones” where direct contact with blood, body fluids, and/or other potentially infectious materials is most likely to occur.

What is the difference between gowns and coveralls?

How do I put on (don) and take off (doff) my gown?

Is it acceptable for emergency medical services to wear coveralls as an alternative to gowns when COVID-19 is suspected in a patient needing emergency transport?


What type of glove is recommended to care for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in healthcare settings?

What standards should be considered when choosing gloves?

Is double gloving necessary when caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in healthcare settings?

Are extended length gloves necessary when caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in healthcare settings?

How I do put on (don) and take off (doff) my gloves?

Eye Protection


Should I wear a respirator, such as an N95 respirator, in public?

What is a respirator?

What is an N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR)?

What are the two main types of masks for medical use?

There are two main types of masks for medical use – N95 or “facemasks” (also called surgical or earloop masks).

What is an N95 respirator?

N95 respirators are used by healthcare employees who have exposures to respiratory pathogens.

What is a facemask (also called a surgical mask, procedure mask, or earloop mask)?

What is a Surgical N95 respirator and who needs to wear it?

My employees complain that Surgical N95 respirators are hot and uncomfortable – what can I do?

My N95 respirator has an exhalation valve, is that okay?

An N95 respirator with an exhalation valve does provide the same level of protection to the wearer as one that does not have a valve.

How can I tell if a respirator is NIOSH-approved?

The NIOSH approval number and approval label are key to identifying NIOSH-approved respirators.

How do I know if my respirator is expired?

NIOSH does not require approved N95 filtering face piece respirators (FFRs) be marked with an expiration date.

What do I do with an expired respirator?

In times of increased demand and decreased supply, consideration can be made to use N95 respirators past their intended shelf life.

Where can I find answers to other questions that aren’t included here?

Please visit the CDC’s Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers page for other questions and answers you may have.

Special Considerations for Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers

Contact the Kansas Opioid Treatment Authority with questions specific to opioid treatment programs:

Check the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) website for guidance specific to Kansas. 

Check the CDC and SAMHSA websites frequently to find new guidance and trainings.

Sedgwick County Drug Misuse Information website with local data and treatment resources.

Online Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration