COVID-19 Update #299
As expected with the Delta Variant and some breakthrough cases, COVID-19 cases in all healthcare settings and some communities are increasing. Staffing, again in all settings, remains a challenge. I know staffing is especially hard in our sector, and I so appreciate you all! We are entering a troubling and challenging time in the current surge. 

As our country is once again experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases, we must rally together to continue to provide quality care to Marylanders in need in our sector. This is NOT the time to let our guard down on infectious disease protocols or in peer-to-peer outreach on vaccination. Please click here for an interview I gave this week on vaccination, workforce, and the surge (my segment begins at the 1:33 mark of the video).

Provider Relief Fund Reporting Reminder:
The September 30th Provider Relief Fund (PRF) deadline for the first reporting period is quickly approaching. The PRF Reporting Portal opened on July 1, 2021, for providers who need to report the use of PRF payments in Reporting Period 1.
HRSA will host two short briefings with stakeholders on Thursday, August 26 to share new resources. Register in advance for the 11 AM ET or 3 PM ET briefing. All PRF web content may now be found on Three new documents are now available to assist with reporting, including Lost Revenues Guide, Allowable Personnel Expenses, and Reporting Resource Guide. The website also includes a statement about remaining funds, as well as an e-mail subscription sign-up specifically for PRF updates.

Monoclonal Antibody new EUA: 
  • Regeneron can be used for post-exposure prophylaxis for unvaccinated persons at high risk and for those who have been vaccinated but not expected to have mounted an adequate immune response, even with the vaccine.
  • Regeneron may be administered subcutaneously when IV infusion is not available in a timely manner.
  • Regeneron can be ordered directly through the supplier - AmerisourceBergen
  • Here is a link to administration information

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.

Onward together!
Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
Reminder: OHCQ will impose CMPs for non-reporting to CRISP
As you know, nursing homes are required to report specific COVID-19 information on a regular basis. The most recent MDH order dated August 18 requires nursing homes to report certain information on a daily basis, as well as vaccination information on a weekly basis. Per this transmittal from the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ):
In the past two weeks, a third of all nursing homes failed to report to CRISP on one or more days. Given the importance of this data, the continued failure of facilities to report, and the potential for more than minimal harm, OHCQ will cite nursing homes for each day of non-compliance. Every two to four weeks, OHCQ will review the nursing homes for whom CRISP reporting data is missing to determine if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a nursing home from submitting the required data.
In the absence of extenuating circumstances, a State civil money penalty will be imposed for non-reporting to CRISP. To decrease the facility’s administrative burden of submitting a plan of correction and OHCQ’s review of the facility’s plan, OHCQ will impose a directed plan of correction (see page 3). 
Vytis Shield

Vytis Shield, since 2014, has specialized in closing the gap in Infection Prevention, partnering with healthcare facilities across the nation, to provide a long term reduction of bioburden and microbes on surfaces with hospital-proven results. Vytis Shield’s barrier coating technology has been validated by multiple health systems and third party testing, with consistent reduction of baseline bioburden by 99.13%.

Vytis Shield has been applying their proprietary barrier coatings since 2014, allowing facility operations to flow smoothly without changing protocols or requiring retraining of staff. Just one annual application is effective up to 12 months at reducing environmental bacteria and microbes, including: Influenza, C.diff, MRSA, Staph, etc. One hospital realized a 60% reduction in environmentally acquired infections as they moved from a Leapfrog Grade C to Grade A, the first year they partnered with Vytis Shield. 

With the current pandemic, Vytis Shield can play a significant role in helping facilities’ infection prevention programs. For more information or to receive a free quote please contact Chris Freitag at 443-465-5248.

ICYMI: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Receives FDA Full Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. 

According to the FDA's announcement, the vaccine will “now be marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.”

Today’s approval means that this vaccine meets the highest safety and efficacy standards and is a big step in the fight against COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 Updates

AHCA/NCAL Urges Biden Administration to Consider Implications of Vaccination Policy

Following an announcement from President Biden last week that all nursing home staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in a forthcoming regulation, the nursing home industry warned about the potential impact on the profession’s already challenging workforce situation. Read More

COVID-19 Vaccine - Boosters vs. Additional Doses for Immunocompromised

HHS announced a plan to deliver booster shots for individuals who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This comes following an announcement by the FDA and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to allow for the use of an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in certain immunocompromised individuals. Read More
COVID-19 Webinars

Wednesday, August 25 at 4 PM ET
Hosted by CMS and CDC
Recording Available!
Hosted by AHCA//NCAL
Recording Available!
Hosted by AHCA//NCAL
The fight against COVID-19 is not over. Stay Vigilant Against COVID-19. Prepare. Protect. Prevent.

As our country grapples with an increase in COVID-19 cases, we must rally together to protect our most vulnerable populations.

Access the Stay Vigilant Against COVID-19. Prepare. Protect. Prevent. Fact Sheet for a webinar summary and key information about the COVID-19 variants. Learn how you and your team can best prepare for, protect against, and prevent this deadly virus from spreading throughout our communities to keep our seniors and team members safe.

For additional questions, please email
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.

Safety is our top priority. Please note that proof of vaccination will be required for attendance.

Visit the conference website to learn more and register.
Thank you to our current sponsors!
Plus, Visit our Sponsors and Supporters in the
Brand New "Solutions Lounge"
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Visit our website to view all previous HFAM alerts, as well as guidance
from our federal and state partners.
Health Facilities Association of Maryland WW.HFAM.ORG