COVID-19 Update #276
HFAM Update: MD Hospitals' Consensus Statement on Employee Vaccination and Temporary Nursing Assistants
Thanks for all you and your teams are doing to provide quality care to Marylanders in need as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we continue to navigate ongoing issues that existed well before the pandemic such as workforce recruitment, rates, and government red tape. Together, we will tell our quality story and continue to navigate the best way forward. We are strong, data-driven, focused, united, and focused first on quality.
The Big News
The Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) recently released a consensus statement on behalf of Maryland hospitals that set a goal requiring employee COVID-19 vaccination in hospitals.  Click here for the MHA press release. Currently, the statewide average employee vaccination rate in hospitals is about 70 percent, and according Maryland State data it’s about the same for employees in skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, 70 percent.
I highly commend the MHA for building this consensus over time, and I think that individual skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and assisted living campuses in Maryland are headed that way.  Just yesterday, we shared with the sector and a broad Maryland audience that SavaSeniorCare will require all team members to be vaccinated by July 31, 2021. 

Of course, one difference between hospitals and skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and assisted living campuses in Maryland is that hospitals have been directly allocated vaccines by the government. Nursing homes and assisted living campuses have not. Over the last several weeks demand for vaccines has not always been in sync with vaccine availability in our sector. We expect a future Maryland Department of Health order that will REQUIRE skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers to register with ImmuNet and to have freezers onsite so that they can receive direct allocations of the vaccine.
I offer my highest commendation, appreciation, and respect to the healthcare heroes and leaders of SavaSeniorCare for requiring COVID-19 vaccination of team members. I look for more leading organizations in healthcare, hospitals, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, and assisted living campuses to require team members to be vaccinated or to file for isolated religious or medical exemptions in advance and in writing.
On Another Important Front: Temporary Nurses' Aides (CNA/GNA) in Maryland
Earlier today, HFAM contacted the Maryland Board of Nursing with thanks and regarding the many Marylanders who joined our workforce as temporary nursing assistants as permitted under federal and state emergency orders. These temporary nurses' aides volunteered to become paid healthcare heroes who learned on the job in during the darkest days of the pandemic. Many of whom took the 8-hour training offered by the American Health Care Association (AHCA). As the pandemic continued these frontline professional caregivers have remained on the job amid our current workforce shortage, often taking up to an additional 75 hours of on-the-job structured training. It is important to note that the state executive order issued as part of the COVID-19 emergency allowing temporary CNAs/GNAs to perform duties is different than the June 30 deadline for routine re-licensure of CNAs/GNAs.

The ask of the outreach to the Board of Nursing was that we work together to find a way to get these battle-tested nursing assistants licensed and able to remain on the job as the state and federal emergencies may soon come to an end.

Yesterday, Florida passed a state law that creates a state licensure pathway to keep these temporary aides working. We attempted similar legislation during the Maryland General Assembly session but were unsuccessful.

It is critical to our workforce recruitment and retention challenges that that we get these aides licensed and able to continue working in our centers. We have been pressing on this issue for months, and we will continue to push with both the executive branch and legislative leaders in Maryland.

Onward together!
Joe DeMattos
President & CEO
COVID-19 Vaccination Data Submission - DEADLINE JUNE 13

Effective May 21, 2021, nursing homes are required to report resident and staff vaccination information through the NHSN module per CMS’ Interim Final Rule-3414. Any nursing homes that are not reporting this information weekly should do so immediately. Nursing homes that do not submit vaccination data for both residents and staff by 11:59pm June 13, 2021, will be imposed a civil money penalty. Furthermore, a higher civil money penalty will be imposed for each subsequent week that a facility does not report the required information. For more information, see CMS memorandum QSO-21-19-NH.

For information and instructions on how to submit data, please view CDC’s webpage Weekly HCP & Resident COVID-19 Vaccination | LTCF | NHSN | CDC

For questions, please contact the CDC at:
Upcoming Webinars
Strategies to Improve Vaccine Acceptance Among Long Term Care Workers of Color
Join HFAM, LifeSpan, and the Maryland Patient Safety Center on June 15 at 11:00 am ET for a free webinar: “Strategies to Improve Vaccine Acceptance Among Long Term Care Workers of Color.” The COVID-19 pandemic strained our healthcare institutions in unimaginable ways. Long term care communities, characteristically, are at an increased vulnerability and vaccination will play a key role in our ability to respond to surges, protect our residents and employees, and maintain a healthy workforce. In this webinar, Dr. Rochester will present data regarding vaccine acceptance among healthcare workers of color and explore the roots of vaccine hesitancy. Attendees will be introduced to strategies for increasing COVID-19 vaccine acceptance using a methodology centered around empathic communication and employee engagement. Click here to register.
Use of Monoclonal Antibody Therapies for COVID-19
Join AHCA/NCAL and partners for an upcoming webinar on June 15 at 3 pm ET on the Use of Monoclonal Antibodies (mAb) Therapies for COVID-19: A Review of New Treatments and At-Risk Populations. HHS clinicians will present the importance of using mAb post vaccine and a panel from AMDA, LeadingAge, and AHCA on their experience using mAb to date. This webinar is available to everyone free of charge. If you cannot attend the live webinar, be sure to register – all registrants will be notified when the recording is made available. 
Nursing Home Media Toolkit

Check out the new Nursing Home Media Toolkit from the Maryland Department of Health. The password to access the materials is Vaccine2021.

Please use the materials in this media toolkit to spread the word about vaccination with staff.

You'll find flyers, ads, social media posts, videos, and posters. 
Complete the Survey: How Is Your LTC Organization Doing in 2021?

AHCA/NCAL is asking providers (SNF, AL, ID/DD) to complete a 15-minute survey to gauge how the industry is faring in 2021. Providers will be asked about several topics, including workforce, vaccines, personal protective equipment, and finances. You may download a copy of the questionnaire if you wish to gather the necessary information before filling it out online. 
Your participation will help AHCA/NCAL address questions from policymakers and advocate for ongoing resources to the profession. Please complete the survey by the end of the day on Friday, June 11.  
2021 Professional Liability Study
Marsh’s National Senior Care Practice and Oliver Wyman’s Actuarial Practice are conducting a 2021 update to their Professional and General Liability Benchmark Report for Long Term Care Providers.  As you may recall, last year Marsh/Oliver Wyman conducted the Long Term Care Professional Liability Benchmark for the first time. Their data call for the 2021 report is open now. This will be the first year with COVID-19 claims so we would like to assist them in getting as broad participation as feasible.
The information presented in this study is a critical component in various insurance industry initiatives and supports multiple state tort reform efforts. Especially relevant for 2021 will be the effect that the pandemic has had on losses. This benchmark study is also an important resource relied upon by insurance carriers, actuaries, and of course, long term care and senior living providers. We hope you will consider participating in this benchmark study to enhance the quality of this initiative. 
The information Marsh and Oliver Wyman are collecting includes: 
1.  Individual claim listing (excluding Protected Health Information) in Excel-readable format valued as 12/31/2020.
2.  Occupied bed equivalent exposure information for the past 10 calendar years, if available. 
As the 2021 study kicks off, we welcome and would appreciate your participation for the upcoming analysis. Upon data submission we will provide diagnostic information about your own data including various metrics, e.g., frequency and severity claim statistics; closing year, report year, and accident year statistics; open and closed claim statistics; and an exposure analysis. We will review the data diagnostics and contact you to discuss any potential anomalies.
As with the 2020 report, there is no cost to participate, and all participants will receive a copy of the report and an invitation to the presentation of the results. We only ask for your assistance in obtaining the necessary data. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. 
If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact Oliver Wyman at before July 31, 2021.
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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