Coronavirus Update #222
HFAM Update, Vaccination Reminders, HHS Extends Public Health Emergency,
Reminder on Executive Orders and MDH Orders
HFAM Update


Thank you for all you are continuing to do in the fight against COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, long-term care residents and staff have been among those most impacted. Fortunately, residents and staff have been put at the front of the line to receive the long-awaited vaccines. We continue to work and advocate for all in the sector to receive the vaccine as soon as supplies and logistical supports are available.

Beginning next week, the booster doses and second clinics will take place in many Maryland skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers. Also next week, we will see the vaccine deploy in more Maryland CCRCs and assisted living communities. Assuming that vaccines remain available, we will see the first three clinics in Maryland SNFs be completed around the end of February. As clinics in assisted living and CCRCs begin in earnest next week, we can expect vaccination of residents in priority group 1B to really pick up in mid-February and going forward.

Across the country, with distribution well underway, we are optimistic that we have begun to turn a corner in our fight against the virus, while acknowledging a lot of work remains on the long road ahead. Nationwide, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of January 7 shows:

  • 33,000 clinics have been scheduled for the first dose
  • Of those, 9,300 have already been completed
  • 95% of SNFs projected to be completed in the next two weeks
  • More than 600,000 doses have been administered

As with any effort of this scale, there will be issues, and vaccine hesitancy is a primary focus at this moment. Uptake among residents and staff is varying widely, but in general, staff seem to be mirroring the general public’s reaction: excitement mixed with hesitation about the vaccines’ development and safety. 

AHCA/NCAL's #GetVaccinated campaign encourages long-term care staff and residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine and provides credible information to help inform their decision. You are encouraged to use the materials in the toolkit to help communicate about the importance of vaccination as well as highlight progress. The digital toolkit includes a checklist of ideas, template letters to use with stakeholders, sample social media, and media prep material.
Why Stella Maris Employees Are Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Check out the below video from HFAM member Stella Maris on why their employees are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you want to share your COVID-19 vaccination success stories, please let us know!
HFAM Featured in "The Daily Dose" Podcast:

Be on the lookout for a new podcast episode featuring HFAM from The Daily Dose: Maryland Confronts COVID-19 - an evening roundup of WYPR's latest reporting on Maryland's COVID-19 response, a summary of essential state and local updates, and a forum for locals who want to share stories about everyday life in the era of coronavirus. 

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
HHS Extends Public Health Emergency 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has extended the public health emergency (PHE) due to COVID-19 effective January 21. The PHE is issued in 90-day increments and is slated to expire in April 2021. 
The PHE extension means:  

  • Section 1812(f) Waiver also remains in place. This covers the waiver of the 3-Day Stay requirement and the waiver of the Spell of Illness. 

  • Because of the CARES Act statutory link to the PHE, the Medicaid increased FMAP continues until the end of the quarter in which the PHE ends. Therefore, the increased FMAP will flow to the states until June 2021. More information is available here.  

Please contact with any questions.
Reminders: Executive Orders and MDH Orders

  • 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: It is critical that paperwork is completed on clinic day, so that the maximum number of vaccination can get done.

  • 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.)

  • Also, please remember that all nursing homes are required to stock and maintain a 60 day private stockpile of PPE by January 31, 2021.
ICYMI: New Year Video Message from HFAM
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.