Coronavirus Update #221
HFAM Update, New Year Video Message, MDH Webinar Recap, Reminders
HFAM Update


Thank you for all you are doing— continuing to fight COVID-19, saving lives, providing quality care to Marylanders in need, and undertaking perhaps the largest and most logistically challenging vaccination program in decades. None of this is overstated; thank you. I also want to thank the leadership at CVS Health and Walgreens. I have been in touch with them individually and on calls with leaders at the Maryland Department of Health (MDH).

I have also been in touch with many of you, and know that most Maryland skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers have completed their first COVID-19 vaccination clinic through CVS or Walgreens. Some are ramped up for their second clinic. If Maryland continues to receive adequate vaccine allotments from the federal government, and continues to allocate to CVS and Walgreens as planned and clinically necessary, the vaccination of the nursing home part of our sector (1A) should be concluded in late February. 

Along with others, we are advocating for assisted and independent living (1B) vaccination as soon as supplies and logistical supports are available. Even if the supplies of vaccine were limitless, it would be very challenging to get the vaccine to everyone in a short amount of time due to logistical and person-power challenges. Because of the clinical risk of people living, cared for, and working in skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, the clinical 1A status is justified. And frankly, as more vaccine becomes available, we must also focus on communities of color at large in Maryland who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

ONE CRITICAL NOTE ON THE CVS/WALGREENS PROGRAM: Walgreens has hit some rough spots in some of our centers where 10-day out paperwork was NOT completed on clinic day, resulting in fewer than planned vaccinations. I know because of consent and medical directives that paperwork is challenging in our setting and I know you’re doing all you can. It is critical that 10-day consent and other paper paperwork is completed, so that the maximum number of vaccinations are done on clinic day.

To date, CVS has done the first clinic in the 150 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers they have been tasked with. Walgreens has done most of the first clinics in the 95 centers with whom they were matched. From our call with the state today, it looks like about 14,200 first doses have been administered in Maryland nursing homes by CVS and Walgreens to date.

During his evening press conference today Governor Hogan made some very key points and new announcements:

  • The CVS/Walgreens vaccination programs are federal contracts (the federal government allocates doses to states and states order from their allocation for providers, including CVS/Walgreens).

  • By Executive Order: CVS/Walgreens will be required to report vacation data within 24 hours after administration, ahead of the federal 72 hour requirement.

  • Per new order from MDH, any facility that has not administered at least 75 percent of their total first allocation may have future allocations reduced until they prove their ability to meet capacity.

  • NOTE: This new 75 percent actual vaccine use requirement is HUGE, and makes the “ONE CRITICAL NOTE ON THE CVS/WALGREENS PROGRAM” above even more critically important.

  • In addition, any provider that has excess doses of vaccine will be required to notify their local health department so the vaccine can be reallocated to priority populations. Maryland will be moving to rolling distribution and will not wait to get all members of a priority group vaccinated before moving on to those next in line. (Members of previous groups can still get vaccinated in later phases.)

  • If all goes as planned, only 30 percent of Marylanders (1.8 million) will be vaccinated by May.

As Governor Hogan said today, “Distributing and administering vaccines throughout 2021 will be, without question, the greatest peacetime undertaking in American history. And it will be a massive all-hands-on deck ongoing operation involving the federal, state, and local governments, and the private sector.”

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 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 several months ago.

Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
ICYMI: New Year Video Message from HFAM
Thank you for your continued dedication to quality care. You and your teams are truly healthcare heroes who have gone above and beyond to provide quality care to Marylanders in need. The challenges we endured together in 2020 have made us stronger. The New Year brings a brighter future, full of promise and hope.

As we shared last week, our work forward will be measured in years and we will continue to face challenging times ahead. HFAM will continue to at your side as we navigate and build the best path forward. We are stronger together.

Please watch and share with your teams the above video that reflects on the past year and looks ahead to a brighter 2021. Again, thank you for all that you do. Wishing you, your families, and your teams a happy, healthy, and prosperous road ahead. 
AHCA/NCAL #GetVaccinated Toolkit

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), launched a campaign to encourage long term care residents and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Branded collateral and informational materials have been shared with AHCA/NCAL members across the country. Using the hashtag #GetVaccinated, this campaign also seeks to raise awareness online, especially among family members of long term care residents. By encouraging their loved ones to get vaccinated, family members can play an important role in the effort to eradicate the virus from long term care settings.

AHCA/NCAL has also developed a new #GetVaccinated infection control flyer that is available here and posted on the AHCA/NCAL #GetVaccinated webpage. It is available in both English and Spanish and would be a good handout to distribute to staff at vaccination clinics.
To view all the materials please visit
MDH Webinar Recap

Last week, 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
  • Vaccine Updates
  • CDC New Variant Updates
  • CDC COVID Vaccine Guidance
  • 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
Reminder: Updates from the Maryland Department of Health

Important Medicaid Updates

Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Health released Medicaid updates on calendar year 2020 P4P scores, FY21 rate increase, and social security cost of living adjustment.

Decommission of the DHS Office of Long Term Care Dedicated Email Account

As of Friday, January 1, 2021, the DHS Office of Long Term Care ( dedicated email account has been closed.
Any emails sent to the old dedicated email address will receive an auto reply email informing the sender that the email account is no longer in use, as of January 1, 2021. This means all applications, redetermination applications, and verifications submitted to the decommissioned email account on and after January 1, 2021 will not be received by the Office of Long Term Care.
We encourage all facilities and other representatives of long term care participants to use the E&E System to submit applications, redeterminations, interim changes, and documentation. Online submission reduces processing time and ensures accurate data entry.
If you have never used the E&E system, you can gain access by following these steps. If you need assistance, please contact 
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.