COVID-19 Update #285
HFAM Update

First, let's take a moment to honor you and your teams for the quality care you provide to Marylanders in need while we navigate better days of the COVID-19 pandemic and look ahead to the long road of recovery. Isolated COVID-19 outbreaks in our setting remarkable low (single digits) and we've gone several weeks without a COVID-19 death. That said, with the rise of the Delta Variant and its potential to harm unvaccinated people, we must remain just as vigilant as ever!
Emergency GNAs:
Yesterday, joined by our HFAM extended team member Howard Sollins from Baker Donelson, we had a very productive meeting with staff and board leadership of the Maryland Board of Nursing (BON), joined by their attorney. All of our colleagues and partners from the BON could not have been more gracious during yesterday's meeting. They were fantastic, not just on the issues at hand but on unrelated issues. The main priority issue was the deadline for which emergency nursing assistants would no longer be able to practice in our setting in Maryland. The Maryland Board of Nursing plans to honor the federal state of emergency and CMS waiver allowing emergency temporary nursing assistants to practice in Maryland for up to 120 days after the federal emergency ends So, if the federal emergency and the CMS waiver were to end on 12/31/2021, emergency GNAs could practice 120 days into 2022.
All of this said, as HFAM has been updating over the last several weeks, we encourage individuals in your center who have been working as temporary nursing assistants to enroll ASAP in a permanent full training program and pass the GNA certification exam to remain on the job long-term.  We HIGHLY recommend such enrollment now. Many of our members have directly or contract with such programs, and our Maryland Community Colleges are a tremendous resource. Email Patty DeGrasse on our team if you need guidance on GNA training programs.
As Always:
  • 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
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
Maryland Department of Health - Medical Assistance Program General Provider Transmittal No. 88

Please see this important memo from MDH with summer 2021 general provider updates. This memo includes guidance on the end of the state of emergency, COVID-19 fee schedule updates, FQHC billing for vaccines, hospital billing for vaccines, provider enrollment flexibilities, legislative updates, and additional provider updates. Please ensure that appropriate staff members in your organization are informed of the contents of this transmittal.

Last Day to Register for ImmuNet

As you know, the most recent Maryland Department of Health (MDH) amended nursing home matters order requires that all skilled nursing facilities register in ImmuNet as a COVID-19 provider by July 15, 2021. It is required that you register ASAP and before the July 15 deadline even if your center plans to use your pharmacy partners to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
All Skilled Nursing Facilities Must:
  1. Register in ImmuNet ImmuNet Enrollment form
  2. Apply for a COVID PIN Reference Guide
  3. Report to ImmuNet through EHR or PrepMod 

Important Notes:

  • If a facility does not plan on receiving COVID vaccines directly (i.e. facility has a pharmacy that will be giving the vaccines) then the facility must still complete step #2.

  • If the facility does not have a dedicated refrigerator that meets CDC guidelines, any qualifying refrigerator in the facility can be used to complete the ImmuNet profile (i.e. employee refrigerator).

  • If at any time the facility's plan changes and they want to receive vaccines directly, then the facility must have a dedicated vaccine refrigerator that meets CDC guidelines. 

  • Reporting immunization can be completed by the facility or the pharmacy. 

  • If a facility has an EHR that does not report to Immunet, it is recommended that the facility use Prepmod.

PrepMod Training is Available!

Personal Protective Equipment Distribution

In response to the COVID pandemic, the State of Maryland Department of Health acquired and distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care providers. At this time they still have large quantities of PPE available. The three Associations in Maryland have been asked to assist in distributing this remaining PPE stock. Over the next few weeks, the remaining PPE will be delivered to the LifeSpan office in Columbia, and will be available for pickup by those placing an order. Because of the quantities available, space needed, and staffing limitations we will be receiving and distributing this PPE in phases.

The first shipment will include: Gloves (Small, Medium, and Large); gowns; N95 and KN95 masks; face shields; and goggles.

We are working on logistics of this major undertaking and will keep you informed about availability and pick-up dates and time. Please understand that we may not be able to fulfill every request with our first shipment, but will work to fulfill requests in future shipments.
If you have already sent an email to Patty DeGrasse at HFAM with your supply order request, you do not need to send another email. Anyone wishing to place an order may do so by emailing with needed items, quantity, and contact information for the individual who will be picking up the supply for your center.

As soon as our shipment is received and pick-up dates scheduled, you will receive an email confirming your order and instructions for pickup at the LifeSpan office in Columbia. 
OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 ETS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended​ the comment period for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to August 20, 2021. This new date allows stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment. AHCA/NCAL previously sent a letter to OSHA requesting the comment period be extended on the ETS through August 20 to provide adequate feedback.

Upcoming Live Webinar!
Winning Keys: Outreach, Marketing, & Engagement
July 27, 2021 from 11:30 - 1:00 PM
The cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed the reputation of nursing homes, as sales and marketing professionals, we need to know how to work together towards a successful future. This presentation will break down the problems currently facing the industry, and how to navigate them to arrive at a solid solution. Presenters will explain the ‘New Normal’ post-COVID-19 and ways to meet the needs of your referral sources, clients, and their families during this time. It is through outreach and engagement that marketing and outreach teams can return trust to your business.

Agenda Topics:
The New Normal
Business Development in New Economy
Business Development Training
Tools to Support You

Joseph DeMattos, HFAM
Diane Devaney, Devaney & Associates
John Dinkel, Dinkel Business Development, LLC

CE: 1.5 NAB credit for LNHAs
Cost: $55 Per Registrant

Can't make the live session?
Register and receive access to the recording.
No CEs offered for the recording.
Project Firstline

We are partnering with the Maryland Department of Health and Health Quality Innovators (HQI) to let you know about a new free infection prevention learning initiative from the CDC called Project Firstline. Project Firstline aims to spread infection control learning opportunities to front line workers in the healthcare field, even those without a clinical background.
Project Firstline’s CDC-developed training and engagement opportunities include short, accessible training videos, virtual interactive events, and telementoring to ensure every worker in every healthcare setting is empowered with the science and reasoning behind essential infection control practices, and can confidently apply those practices to protect themselves, their facility, their family, and their community.
Please forward the Learning Needs Assessment survey link below to any employees who might benefit from infection prevention education. Responses may be anonymous and will help direct learning resources to those who can help stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Project Firstline Learning Needs Assessment Link:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Lynne Layug ( at HQI.
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. 
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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