Coronavirus Update #185
Upgrading to NHSN SAMS Level-3 Access, Post-Election Recap, Upcoming Webinars, MDH Order Reminders, Hurricane Zeta, LTC Vaccination Program
SNFs Must Upgrade to NHSN SAMS Level-3 Access to Meet CLIA Reporting Requirements

Skilled nursing facilities are now required to report point-of-care (POC) test results performed under their CLIA waiver to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system. More information is available here

This requires an upgrade from SAMS Level-1 access to SAMS Level-3 access. Centers should take action immediately as this process can take up to four weeks. While this requirement is in effect now, AHCA/NCAL has been told that enforcement discretion will be utilized until November 20. 

Instructions on upgrading to SAMS Level-3 are available here

Assisted living communities can still report to either the state or NHSN to meet the POC test reporting requirement. However, if they choose to use NHSN they must upgrade to SAMS Level-3.  
Post-Election Recap

Join HFAM and AHCA on November 10 for a virtual post-election recap with expert analysis on implication for our sector. Click here to register today!
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
  • CDC Updates
  • NHSN Updates
  • Click here for a letter from the CDC regarding NHSN point-of-care testing reporting.
  • Click here for guide to help with reporting.
  • Project Firstline
  • TAT Updates
  • Q&A

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

If you have any questions, please email
Upcoming COVID-19 Webinars

October 30: 2-3 PM ET
November 2: 12:30-1:30 PM ET
Hosted by CDC
The CDC is hosting two identical training webinars to introduce their new their National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) LTCF COVID-19 Module. Register for October 30 or November 2

Various Dates in October and November 2020
Various Times
Hosted by Abbott
This webinar is to reinforce key learnings related to BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card and the NAVICA™ App. Register
Reminder: Updated MDH Orders

Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) released a revised nursing home order, nursing home update. Please review this information in detail and share with your teams.

  • Revised Nursing Home Order: Order's substantive change is a new 60 day PPE inventory requirement (+a reporting requirement to us on their PPE inventory) by January 31, 2021. It also contains two technical changes:

  • Changing the time of notifying patients/staff from 12 hours to the federal requirement of 5 pm next day of a COVID outbreak so we track the feds.

  • Eliminating MDH review of nursing home testing plans since they all now have point of care machines and lab contracts. Order maintains requirement that each facility establish and maintain COVID-19 testing arrangements with laboratories for PCR assay-based testing.

  • Nursing Home Updates: Nursing homes must ensure they have adequate staffing during outbreaks in accordance with existing law and regulation, and that all staff, to the extent possible, get their flu shots by Dec. 31, 2020.
Weather Alert: Hurricane Zeta

As Hurricane Zeta brings heavy rainfall and winds, it is important that all healthcare centers and businesses be on alert and prepared. Our sector must get ready for an extreme weather event and possible disruptions in public transportation and electricity.

It is critical for all to review and update emergency/disaster plans and be prepared to implement if needed.

Per established protocols, nursing and rehab centers are expected to work with local emergency management and government officials during a severe weather event and report problems and failures as outlined in disaster plans and state regulations. We urge HFAM members and all skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers in Maryland to be proactive:

  • Review your emergency/disaster plan and be sure your staff understands how to execute.
  • Check generators and fuel supplies.
  • Ensure the proper amount of medication, water, and food is on hand.
  • Ensure proper staffing and make initial contact with neighboring centers and hospitals.
  • Stay in contact with local officials and leaders at the Office of Health Care Quality as is required and prudent.

It is difficult to predict precise paths and severity of storms that may hit our area. Consider appointing a “weather watcher” and have them check the NOAA Storm Prediction Center and The Maryland Emergency Management Agency websites for updates.
LTC Vaccination Program Deadline Extended to Next Friday

The deadline for long term care facilities to sign up to participate in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program has been extended to Friday, November 6. Please don’t wait to register for the federal government’s national vaccine distribution program for long term care residents.  

Long term care facilities must register with the CDC on how they want to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Nursing homes register via NHSN, while assisted living communities and other congregate settings sign up through an online survey.
Election 2020
With the election days 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.

  • 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.)

  • Early voting will be held from Monday, October 26, 2020 through Monday, November 2, 2020. Early voting centers will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

  • Mail-in ballots must be postmarked or hand delivered by Tuesday, November 3. Be sure to return your ballot as soon as possible!
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.