COVID-19 Update #268
HFAM Update - Reminders and Updates on Guidance

Thank you for all you do. You and your teams continue to provide quality care to Marylanders in need and to save lives. On May 5, we shared an update to outline the positive changes in Maryland Orders relative to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This email today includes critical reminders and updates from that correspondence.
As you know, two weeks ago CMS updated memos QSO-20-38 and QSO-20-39 and CDC updated the Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination guidance. Governor Hogan then held a press conference on May 4 at which we presented and MDH issued new guidance on observation, cohorting and visitation – these changes we advocated for are a powerful step forward. 
Again, here are topline points on the changes:
  • Physical distancing and routine staff testing recommendations have changed, per CDC guidance:
  • Routine testing of fully vaccinated, asymptomatic staff is no longer recommended.
  • Physical distancing is not required for fully-vaccinated residents during communal dining or group activities if all residents and healthcare personnel (HCP) present are fully vaccinated. 
  • Physical distancing is not required for fully vaccinated healthcare personnel (HCP) in break rooms or during in-person meetings.
  • Per the updated MDH order on nursing home matters released last week:
  • Aligns testing/visitation policy for facilities to federal guidance.
  • Allows fully vaccinated new residents/readmits to bypass quarantine upon admission.
  • Changes to CRISP reporting - weekly vaccination data for residents and staff. Vaccination data is to be entered each Wednesday into CRISP. This data should include the number of staff, the patient census, the number of residents and staff that are fully vaccinated, and the number of residents and staff that have had only one dose. 30% of the SNFs did not report data this Wednesday. Together, WE MUST fix this. Please see this FAQ document from MDH about reporting vaccination data into CRISP for nursing homes.
  • Adds to requirements of the facilities vaccination contact to:
  • Ensure the vaccination data is updated weekly and posted in the facility for the public.
  • Ensure that their facility establishes a relationship with a vaccine provider by May 30.
Important Note on Reporting: On May 11, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an Interim Final Rule on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements. This rule applies to residents, clients, and staff of Long Term Care (LTC) facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID). CMS also published a QSO memo to state survey agencies on how to operationalize this new requirement. This federal rule, which is scheduled to go in to effect on May 21, specifies that LTC facilities must report to the CDC via NHSN certain data regarding vaccination status for residents and staff as well as any therapeutic treatments (e.g., monoclonal antibody) use. It is our understanding that MDH and CRISP are working to incorporate this new module into the daily-post-acute capacity reporting form and, for those facilities who have elected to have MDH report NHSN for them, it will be sent to NHSN. While this federal reporting requirement has not yet gone in to effect, all facilities must still report their vaccination data each Wednesday into CRISP, per State requirements.

Weekly MDH Update on COVID-19 for LTC Facilities: Don't forget to tune in to the MDH Update on COVID-19 for LTC Facilities. Click here to join the call today at 12:30 PM EST. This call is hosted weekly by the Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology and Outbreak Response Bureau.
Action Item Reminders:
  • ACTION ITEM #1As we have previously shared, it is a state priority for all nursing homes to register with ImmuNet. Once centers are registered, they can receive vaccines directly. 
  • ACTION ITEM #2: It is urgent that clients of Remedi, OmniCare, and the MHA Pharmacy Collaborative finalize agreements as soon as possible to provide vaccines in the near term.
  • ACTION ITEM #3: The updated MDH order for nursing homes requires each facility to identify a vaccination point of contact. In order to assist with this effort, please ensure your centers fill out this brief SURVEY as soon as possible. Again, this contact is responsible for ensuring that vaccination data is updated weekly in CRISP and posted in the facility for the public, as well as ensuring that the facility establishes a relationship with a vaccine provider by May 30.
So many times over the last year, we have Zoomed, spoke, emailed, and updated on the changing landscape of our fight against COVID-19. Essential themes in those discussions:
  • Focus on what is in your control and not what is out of your control.
  • Overcommunicate.
  • Adapt and innovate.
  • Rely on your partnerships.
  • Speak up when you need help.
  • Double efforts on infectious disease protocols, training, and operations.
  • Take and document your action; keep a timeline.
  • CLICK HERE for the Dr. Katz Video, and please see the Donning and Doffing Checklist we have been sharing.
Onward together!
Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President & CEO
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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