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February 24, 2021

IN THIS ISSUE / Feb. 24, 2021

COVID-19 vaccination for patients on immunotherapies: An evidence-based guide

In a recent JAAD article, a multidisciplinary committee offers dermatologists guidance on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination for patients on immunotherapeutics.

According to the paper, while the estimated risk of the COVID-19 vaccines available and in development is low, patients who have a significant risk of viral infection may benefit from immunization. Additionally, patients on systemic corticosteroids, methotrexate, and JAK inhibitors have the greatest risk of reduced antibody production from the vaccination. TNF-alpha biologics, ustekinumab, and rituximab may also decrease antibody titers. Based on the evidence, the COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be safe for dermatologic patients on immune therapies, although the efficacy may vary depending on the degree of immunosuppression and type of vaccine given.

Access Academy resources related to COVID-19 vaccines, including information on getting vaccinated, advising patients about vaccination, becoming a vaccinator, coding for vaccination, and side effects of vaccines, in the Academy's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Have you seen patients with reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine? Report them to the Dermatology COVID-19 Registry.

Dr. Warren Heymann photo
DermWorld Insights and Inquiries: Multiple pilomatricomas by the numbers

I have always been beguiled by pilomatricomas (PM). From the time I first heard the term “calcifying epithelioma of Mahlerbe” or pondering “is it pilomatricoma or pilomatrixoma?” this benign lesion has been a source of wonder. There is a sense of satisfaction making the diagnosis clinically by observing a firm subcutaneous nodule (characteristically on the head and neck of a child), often with a hint of red-blue, and displaying a “teeter-totter” sign. Frayed nerves of parents can usually be calmed. Regardless, compulsive dermatologists will question whether the lesion is associated with any of the multiple syndromes that have been reported with PM. Are there any guidelines to help? Keep reading!

Jenna O’Neill, MD, DW Young Physician Advisor
DermWorld Young Physician Focus: Do you take the ‘wait and see’ approach in your practice?

We all know the old dermatology adage about lumpers versus splitters. But I think the real distinction among dermatologists in clinical practice is “early adapters” versus “wait and see-ers.” A former residency attending used to advise us to “use new drugs while they still work,” a somewhat jaded reference to the unfortunate truth that despite years of clinical trials and astronomical drug development costs, some new medications just don’t live up to the hype. Read more from DermWorld Young Physician advisor Jenna O’Neill, MD.

FDA approves HA dermal filler for chin retrusion

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Restylane® Defyne for the augmentation and correction of mild-to-moderate chin retrusion in adults over the age of 21. The approval is supported by phase 3 results that showed 74% of patients experienced significantly improved chin projection for up to one year. At 12 weeks, 86% of patients experienced improvement.

As more drugs and treatment indications receive FDA clearance, how do the new arrivals compare to industry heavyweights? Read more in DermWorld.

Related content:

United to roll out new Designated Diagnostic Provider program; deadline to apply Feb. 28

United HealthCare (UHC) has announced that it will introduce a new Designated Diagnostic Provider (DDP) program that will go into effect July 1, 2021. To be considered for UHC's DDP program, providers must complete the DDP quality questionnaire, which can be accessed here by Feb. 28, 2021.

UHC has stated that the DDP program is part of its ongoing efforts to reduce member cost and improve transparency. As currently planned, it will only cover outpatient laboratory services delivered by freestanding or hospital reference labs, which will need to meet certain quality and efficiency requirements. Additionally, patients could be responsible for payment of lab services if performed by providers who are not DDP program participants.

As part of its advocacy strategy, the AADA has reached out to UHC to both delay implementation of the DDP program and to extend the registration period beyond Feb. 28, 2021. Additionally, the AADA has called on UHC to fully clarify its criteria for designating dermatologists and dermatopathologists as DDP participants, and how UHC intends to maintain network adequacy and access to lab services in the DDP program.

More information about this ongoing AADA advocacy effort will be shared as it becomes available.

Short-term PPP window open for smaller businesses

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will have a 14-day window to apply for a Payment Protection Program loan. This new opening is an improved opportunity for small and solo dermatology practices that meet the criteria to apply and obtain financial assistance.

Learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and how to obtain loan forgiveness in the Academy's COVID-19 Resource Center.

Meet the candidates for the 2021 AAD election

Election Connection is the go-to hub for this year’s Academy election coverage, and the place to learn more about the candidates before you cast your vote in the 2021 election. Get to know the candidates.