Coronavirus Update #213
HFAM Update, Phase 3 Provider Relief Fund, Eurofins Update,
Abbott NAVICA App Registration, Upcoming Webinars
HFAM Update


Thank you for all you are doing to provide quality care amid a surge of the worst pandemic the world has seen in over 100 years.

The Vaccine

This week is to be celebrated as vaccination has begun, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers in Maryland should begin seeing vaccine distribution, perhaps next week. Prioritizing nursing homes for the vaccine makes sense. We have been on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and vaccination will reduce tragic deaths going forward. 

That said, due to initial short vaccine supply and potential logistical challenges with the national CVS/Walgreens program, vaccination of everyone will likely take several weeks. Still, because we’ve been on the frontlines fighting this virus, I think the CVS/Walgreens national program will get us the vaccine as expeditiously as possible here in Maryland. 

While there will be bumps and vaccine distribution will not go perfectly, eventually everyone will get the vaccine. Now is the time to focus on appreciating this new dawn and not expectations of the ideal. Together, we will get through this. 

The Surge

This current surge is real and it continues. I know you are doing everything you can to fight back against the virus. As you know, the clearest indicator of COVID-19 entering a healthcare setting is the prevalence of COVID-19 in the local community. 

Staffing, especially of RNs, is strained in hospitals, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, and even among State bridge teams. While there are outbreaks, we are mostly containing them and preventing hotspots through testing and improved infection control practices. We continue to coordinate with our dedicated partners of MDH/National Guard Bridge teams, for whom we are most thankful. Again, together we will get through this.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Remedi SeniorCare is receiving allotments of hundreds of doses per week dedicated for patients and residents in our setting. We’ve now had four calls with MDH leaders on this. We MUST take advantage of working with MDH, Remedi SeniorCare, and infusion companies such as Advanced PICC Specialists to get this treatment, clinically driven and medically advised by guidelines, to patients and residents. 

We are also working with AHCA/NCAL to determine how the Maryland state program fits in with the rollout of the federal program, which was announced after we began working with the State. We will continue to coordinate with Remedi, Omnicare, Advanced PICC, and others next week. In the coming weeks, success will be getting this treatment to residents and patients; failure will be having hundreds of unused doses. 

I urge Remedi clients to reach out to their Remedi representative regarding monoclonal antibody treatment for clinically appropriate patients, under EUA guidelines, and as ordered by a physician.


The Maryland Department of Health today began shipping POC test kit supplies and additional machines to Maryland skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and large assisted living campuses. Because of the weather and holidays, some shipments could be delayed. 

The plan is that these State-provided POC testing supplies will be in our centers by next week, and this shipment will take us through the first week of January. Then more shipments will be provided. MDH plans to provide POC tests for employees until March 2021. 

If centers run low and have an emergency between shipments, please email this state email address:

The State is currently allotting and sending two kits per employee, per week, to providers. In planning for the future, the State wants to get a sense of future supply needed, so please complete this survey ASAP. 

Finally, please note that we do expect adjustments will be made to testing requirements as the vaccine is deployed.

Key Points

  • In the COVID-19 world it is all about the vaccine, monoclonal antibody treatment, and the surge. You all have the right focus on quality care and saving lives.

  • As a new dawn emerges with the vaccine, there is cautious optimism, urgency and perseverance in the fighting of the virus.

  • Again, all healthcare providers are struggling to find RNs, including the State.

  • As we emerge into a post-pandemic new normal, issues like Maryland’s unique Total Cost of Care Contract, our earlier work on it, and related issues to COVID-19 will emerge.

As Always

  • People first, quality counts.
  • Be prepared to deploy people and PPE around your organization.
  • 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.
  • Overcommunicate with residents, patients, families, staff, and government partners.
  • Sound alarms early.
  • Know that WE WILL get through this, and that you are saving lives!
  • 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 the Donning and Doffing Checklist we first distributed a couple of months ago.

Onward together!

Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
Long Term Care to Receive $1.1 Billion in Phase 3 COVID-19 Provider Relief Funding Payments

As we shared earlier today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distribution of the Phase 3 Provide Relief Funding, which includes $1.1 billion for long term care facilities.

“We greatly appreciate HHS distributing this crucial funding to nursing homes and assisted living communities," Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO stated.

"Since it will likely take months to vaccinate our population, these payments give our providers a fighting chance to battle this horrible virus and keep our doors open.”

Eurofins Self-Collection Swab for COVID-19 Testing

In October, Eurofins received EUA for COVID-19 self-collection, allowing individuals to self-collect at home or where they choose and avoid contact with a collector, lines, wait times, availability issues, etc. Eurofins can send a minimum of 100 test kits to a company to provide to those wanting to come into their long-term care center. This may be a good option for contractors, visitors, and employees coming back to work after being out. Previously, this was not allowed in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maryland, but now it can be offered in all 50 states. 


  1. Swab party – you order the number of kits you need and we bulk ship to you. You need an admin person on-site to enter patient information in the system and send us back the specimens all at once. Prepay = $66/kit, Pay on invoice after = $69/kit (min order of 100 kits)
  2. Grab & go - you order the number of kits you need and we bulk ship to you. You can have patients send in directly to us, individually, as needed. Prepay = $76/kit, Pay on invoice after = $80/kit (min order of 100 kits)
  3. Individual – any direct consumer can order on-line and self-pay. Prepay = $85/kit, Pay on invoice after = $89/kit

For more information, please contact Karen Gerwitz at or 716-206-9874. 
Abbott NAVICA App Registration

All facilities that are using Abott BinaxNOW must register themselves with Abbott and the Navica App.

When the app goes live with being able to connect with State reporting, there will likely be an influx of registrations. Therefore, It is highly recommended for facilities currently using the BinaxNow to register ASAP. Please be on the lookout for additional information soon.
Upcoming COVID-19 Webinars

Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:30 PM ET
Hosted by the CDC 

Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 10 AM ET 
Hosted by Project ECHO

Workshop on Allocation of COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Therapies
This workshop will discuss key considerations for assisting decision makers in their efforts to equitably allocate COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapies and other novel therapeutics at the state and local levels. The workshop will be December 16 - 17, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET each day.
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.