COVID-19 Update #258
Upcoming Webinar: Strategies for Providers to Increase Vaccine Uptake

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) is hosting its second vaccine hesitancy webinar for Maryland providers. Please see information below and share with your networks: 
Strategies for Providers to Increase Vaccine Uptake
Monday, April 26 | 5-6 p.m.
This webinar will focus on communication strategies providers can use to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, strategies on how to access the vaccines for those in their care, and how providers can become vaccinators.
Presenters include MDH’s Assistant Secretary of Health Bryan Mroz and Rupali Limaye, PhD, the Director of Behavioral and Implementation Science at the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an expert in vaccine behavior and decision-making. Register today or for questions, contact
Learn more and share with your networks. Watch the March 30 webinar
MDH Webinar Recap

Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Health held a webinar call to update the long-term care sector on COVID-19 developments and best practices. The call was recorded, in case you were unable to join or would like to review the topics discussed, which included:

  • COVID-19 Epi Summary
  • Post-COVID Conditions
  • Post Vaccination COVID Infections
  • FAQs
  • Q&A

You can also view the webinar's PowerPoint presentation here and the chat box here.

If you have any questions, please email
Medicare Sequestration Relief Extended Through End of the Year

Last week, President Biden signed legislation that extends Medicare sequestration relief through the end of the year. We expect CMS to resume issuing claims shortly. Last year, recognizing the challenges facing the provider community during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Congress suspended “Medicare sequestration” that would typically take two percent out of all Medicare fee-for-service claim payments, as well as payments to Medicare Advantage and Part D programs.

Other COVID-19 Updates

Expectations for PPE Usage: The CDC outlines expectations for personal protective equipment (PPE) use in their interim infection prevention and control recommendations to prevent COVID-19 spread in nursing homes. Read More 

HHS Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Last week, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the ongoing COVID-19 PHE for an additional 90 days, effective April 21, 2021, which was the date that the current PHE was set to expire. Read More
What They Are Saying: COVID-19 Vaccines Are A Turning Point For Long Term Care Residents And Staff, But The Fight Is Not Over 

Families across the nation continue to reunite with their loved ones in long term care facilities, as vaccinations have led to a dramatic decline in new COVID cases and deaths. Updated government guidelines now allow for increased indoor visitation in long term care facilities, bringing residents together face-to-face with their family, friends and fellow residents for the first time in more than a year.

With these joyous reunions bringing a sense of hope to residents and staff, the pandemic is not over yet. Some parts of the country are again facing a rising rate of positive COVID cases, raising concerns that long term care may see a correlating uptick. Throughout the pandemic, independent research has shown that community spread is a primary factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a nursing home. Everyone must do their part to reduce community spread in order to protect our seniors and caregivers.

Along with containing community spread, we must continue to encourage vaccinations among residents, staff and the general public. Two new studies released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing serious illness and death due to the virus among nursing home residents, underscoring the importance of everyone getting vaccinated. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) continues to promote vaccine education and uptake through their national #GetVaccinated campaign.

As access to the vaccines expands to more Americans, we cannot forget our most vulnerable and health care heroes. The federal government and states must continue to prioritize long term care residents and staff for the vaccines, especially with the ongoing pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Long term care providers also need other critical resources to keep up the fight against the virus, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and staff support. By rallying together, we can ensure we maintain our progress and bring an end to the pandemic once and for all.

Watch AHCA/NCAL’s video highlighting the heartfelt reunions between long term care residents and their loved ones.
The 2021 HFAM Conference “Together We Re-Imagine” will be held in person October 4 – 7, 2021 at the Maryland Live Hotel and Casino in Hanover, Maryland. Hundreds of long-term care leaders will connect, share best practices and discuss actionable insights on how we can reflect, reform, rebuild, and revolutionize quality care. You and your teams will not want to miss this opportunity as we come together again.

Visit the conference website to learn more and register.
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