Coronavirus Update #183
Mandatory CLIA POC Test Reporting to NHSN, MDH Webinar Recap, Reminders
Mandatory CLIA POC Test Reporting to NHSN 


We recently just off of an emergency call with AHCA/NCAL regarding now mandatory CLIA point of care (POC) antigen test reporting to NHSN. Here’s what we know:

AHCA/NCAL has been informed by CMS that reporting of the POC antigen test results to NHSN will now be mandatory. The June 4 HHS memo on laboratory testing has now been updated (see page 2) to state:

  • “#4 CMS-certified long term care facilities shall submit point-of-care COVID-19 testing data, including antigen testing data, to CDC’s NHSN”. 

Some of you have already, or will soon be hearing, from OHCQ or your regional CMS office about this new mandate. CMS has verbally indicated that this new requirement goes into effect immediately, but they will exercise enforcement discretion until November 20.  
To access this new reporting module, facilities must upgrade from SAMS Level-1 to Level-3 access. 73 centers in Maryland will have to update from SAMS Level-1 to SAMS Level-3 to meet this new CMS POC testing mandatory reporting requirement. Challenges early on due to this change include:

  • CLIA and NHSN requirements differ
  • Most state governments do not yet know of this change
  • What will be the role of standardized NHSN reporting, non-duplication of state and federal reporting, and the adaptation of state exchanges such as CRISP in making sure this reporting is automated and non-duplicative

AHCA/NCAL is asking CMS for a delay in this implementation. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming days.

Onward together!

Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CE
MDH Webinar Recap

Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Health held a webinar call to update the long-term care sector on COVID-19 developments and best practices. The call was recorded, in case you were unable to join or would like to review the topics discussed, which included:

  • COVID-19 Epi Updates
  • Maryland Updates
  • Vaccine Updates
  • Therapy Animals
  • CMS Website
  • Q&A

You can also view the webinar's Powerpoint presentation here and the chat box here.

If you have any questions, please email
Reminder: 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
PPE Resource - Caton Health

Caton Health was instrumental in sourcing the multiple PPE requests for the HFAM / Horizon Foundation Grant. Caton Health currently has a good supply of gloves on hand for those centers in immediate need. Please see the contact information below.

Sherri P. Gamerman, MPA
Caton Health Services, Inc.
3407 Wilkens Avenue
Suite 230
Baltimore, Maryland 21229
Reminder: 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.
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.