Coronavirus Update #182
HFAM Update, Vaccine Distribution Program, Updated Reporting Requirements to the Provider Relief Fund, Updated NHSN Requirements, Mental Health Resources, MDH Memo on Federal Financial Relief, Election

As predicted, and as we shared a while back and AHCA/NCAL recently reported, we are seeing a fall surge of COVID-19 in the general population and in our centers. Data shows that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases rose in late September for the first time in seven weeks after new cases dropped significantly throughout August and early September. While we’ve hoped this would not come, we have been planning for it and now we are navigating it. So the bad news is more cases, the good news is they are mostly contained to single-digit outbreaks, and more people are recovering that not.

Reminders, as always:

  • I am proud of all you are doing.
  • People first, quality counts.
  • Our sector MUST double our efforts on infectious disease protocol, staffing, PPE, observation, and testing.
  • Train, train, and train teams again on infectious disease protocol.
  • Recognize that COVID-19 fighting fatigue is an issue across the county, not just in our sector.
  • Over-communicate with residents, patients, families, staff, and government partners; and work with your hospital partners, and coordinate with local and state regulatory partners.
  • Take and document your action; keep a timeline
  • CLICK HERE for the Dr. Katz Video and please see our attached Donning and Doffing Checklist we first distributed a couple of months ago.

Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
Weighing Pharmacy Options for the CDC Vaccine Distribution Program
As we previously shared, the White House announced the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program—a national vaccine distribution program for long term care residents.   

There is risk associated with which pharmacy option you select for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program. Long term care facilities need to identify by October 30 as to how they want to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. 

Providers have four options to select from: 

  • Work with CVS; 

  • Work with Walgreens;

  • Work with their existing pharmacy partner;
  • Please note that the Maryland Pharmacists Association is recommending LTC pharmacy providers to reach out to the facilities they serve as soon as possible, so be on the lookout for additional information from your local pharmacy.

  • Work with an alternative partner (e.g. hospital, local/state health department). 

If selecting options three or four, AHCA/NCAL strongly recommends providers first ask to see a signed copy of that entity's provider agreement with their state and CDC, otherwise they run the risk of not being included in early rounds of vaccine delivery and distribution. This could result in delays in your facility obtaining the vaccine. More information can be found on AHCA/NCAL’s program overview and FAQ’s

Long term care facilities have until the end of October to register with the CDC on how they want to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.  

We strongly encourage all long term care facilities to participate and register as soon as possible. This is critical to ensuring our vulnerable residents are among the first to receive a vaccine when it becomes available.  

  • Assisted Living Communities and other congregate settings (ICF/IIDs, independent living, etc.): Sign up through REDCAP
Updated Reporting Requirements to the Provider Relief Fund

Today (Thursday, October 22), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced changes to the reporting requirements and expanded the types of providers who could apply for Provider Relief Funds. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • HHS is returning to its previous definition of lost revenue, a decrease from 2019 revenue, rather than using the September 19 version which would have capped funds to a facility’s 2019 net revenue. 

  • HHS has created new flexibility around reporting at the parent and subsidiary level. 

  • HHS now is allowing private pay ALs to apply for Phase 3 awards. 

From the HHS press release: 
“In response to concerns raised, HHS is amending the reporting instructions to increase flexibility around how providers can apply PRF money toward lost revenues attributable to coronavirus. After reimbursing healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus that were unreimbursed by other sources, providers may use remaining PRF funds to cover any lost revenue, measured as a negative change in year-over-year actual revenue from patient care related sources.” 

All Phase 3 applicants will have until 11:59PM EST on November 6, 2020 to submit their applications for payment consideration. 

Learn more: 

For updates and to learn more about the Provider Relief Program, visit: 
Updated HHS NHSN Reporting Requirements

In an updated memo from HHS, the point-of-care testing results are now required as part of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) systemRead More
Maryland COVID-19 Crisis Support Program: Free Mental Health for Frontline Workers

As we previously shared, the Maryland COVID-19 Crisis Support Program is a program that provides free, confidential mental health support to employees of Maryland’s long-term health care facilities impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. To receive mental health services for yourself or your organization visit: Click the buttons below for one-pagers on the program in both English and Spanish.
MDH Memo on Federal Financial Relief Eligibility – CARES Act Extension

Please see this memorandum from the Maryland Department of Health regarding the CARES Act Extension.   

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an additional opportunity for Medicaid providers, including some newly eligible providers, to apply for federal financial relief through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Providers may apply for funding through November 6, 2020. For more information and to find out if you are eligible, visit: We also encourage our Medicaid providers to routinely visit the website for important Maryland Medicaid Provider COVID updates.
Election 2020
With the election weeks away and a pandemic that uniquely targets the LTC population still rampant, providers have an opportunity to play a larger role in helping residents exercise their right to vote in 2020. Click here for more from AHCA/NCAL.

Upcoming Maryland Deadlines:
  • Miss the deadline to register? You can register to vote at your local early voting center during early voting or at a vote center on election day. Find the links to the lists of vote centers here. (Be sure to bring a document that proves where you live.)

  • Ballots must be postmarked or hand delivered by Tuesday, November 3.
Did you miss HFAM's previous alerts?

Visit our website to view all previous HFAM alerts, as well as guidance
from our federal and state partners.
Thank you.

We cannot thank you enough for the dedication and diligence in doing all that you can for the residents in your communities. HFAM continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic with our state and national partners and will do all we can to support you during this time.