Coronavirus Update #230
HFAM Update, CDC Early Vaccination Data, Voyce, MDH Webinar Recap,
Redetermination Extension, Other COVID Updates, and Reminders
HFAM Update

Thank you for all you and your teams are doing to provide quality care to Marylanders in need.  This time a year ago, HFAM had issued two updates sharing general CDC information on the novel coronavirus. By February 11, 2020, we began alerting our sector about specific measures to protect residents, patients, and staff. 

As we all know, there have been many ups and downs in our fight against COVID-19. Over the course of this journey, you and your teams have saved thousands of lives. Today, there are small COVID-19 outbreaks in approximately 155 skilled nursing centers and on about 125 of the larger assisted living campuses. 

In many respects, I am personally worried that the new variants of the virus will present our sector, the community, and all of healthcare with the challenges we faced at this time last year. Therefore, these two things are very important:
  1. Continued and increased diligence with infectious disease protocols.
  2. Getting as many staff, patients, residents, and community members vaccinated as soon as possible.
Thank you and please also stay vigilant on these three fronts:
  • Again, continued and increased diligence with infectious disease protocols.

  • Actively work to increase employee vaccination, CLICK HERE for a GREAT video from UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski.

  • Continue efforts, where clinically appropriate and in compliance with state and federal orders, to connect families in-person. Also, leverage technology to connect families virtually and conduct outside/window visits as appropriate.
NOTE: Continued staff PCR (lab) testing and POC testing is again more important than ever. I highly recommend Eurofins for their guaranteed turnaround time and their HFAM member discount. For more information, please email Karen Gerwitz at
Shout-outs and HFAM Member Letter:
Over the last year you and your teams have proven yourselves to be healthcare heroes. I’d like to offer these quick shout-outs:
  • Brenda Rice, thank you for your tireless leadership and the passionate perspective you bring to residents, patients, staff, and colleagues on the Charles E. Smith Life Communities campus.
  • Russell Keogler, thank you for honoring our veterans and their families; and for the lives you and your team are saving at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Thank you also for the work you are doing with me and HFAM, and for the tremendous insights you offer.
  • Jay Mutchnik, thank you for all you do as a leader in rehabilitation care at FutureCare. More importantly, thank you for rallying your team, and for bringing extra hands and hearts to the front lines in our battle against COVID-19. You are a valued leader and a Mensch.
  • LaShuan Bethea J.D., thank you for always being a nurse, a mom, and an attorney and for drawing on all of those perspectives in the important work we do together. To say you are a valued member of our team is simply an understatement.
  • Dan Peters, thank you for the tremendous leadership and tireless energy you bring to Cadia Healthcare; HFAM is very blessed to count Cadia Healthcare as a member—it is nice when values, friendship, and professional expertise are in alignment.
  • Martha Nathanson, thank you for the insightful and passionate work you do for Lifebridge; and for your advice, wise counsel, and the action you bring to HFAM activities. You are wicked smart, and deeply appreciated.
NOTE: Please see this example of the 2021 HFAM member letter.
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 have been sharing. 
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
CDC Releases Information on Early COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake in SNFs  

The CDC has released data on the long term care staff and resident uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report, released February 1, indicates that 77.8 percent of residents and 37.5 percent of staff members at skilled nursing facilities chose to take the first dose of the vaccine. This analysis is limited to SNFs with at least one vaccination clinic conducted during the first month of the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. 

Along with AHCA/NCAL, we recognize the significant challenge of increasing participation among staff and residents. It is vital that we give staff, residents and family members the space and opportunity to ask their questions and hear their concerns without fear of judgement. We know this work is ongoing and remain committed to helping you increase vaccination rates in your centers/communities. We encourage providers to review the resources available on the #GetVaccinated website and share any feedback on successes and challenges to

For more information, please contact at

Click here to see a recent video conversation that HFAM recorded with Voyce. Providing specialized video remote interpretation, Voyce enables healthcare providers to effortlessly connect with accredited, professional interpreters of more than 220 languages and dialects. Watch now to learn more and see a demo of how Voyce can help you and your teams. Learn more at
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:

  • Maryland Epi Updates
  • TAT Updates
  • Out of Hospital COVID-19 Management: Less is More
  • Q&A

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

If you have any questions, please email
Medical Assistance Redetermination Extension

Please see this notice that redeterminations have been extended to September 30, 2021.  Per the notice:

The Maryland Department of Health (MOH) requested and received additional approvals from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to extend the deadline for renewal of Medicaid cases in Maryland, including Long Term Care (L TC) Medicaid cases.

Redetermination and renewal deadlines set for March 31, 2020, April 30, 2020, May 31, 2020, June 30, 2020, July 31, 2020, August 31, 2020, September 30, 2020, October 31, 2020, November 30, 2020, December 31, 2020, January 31, 2021, February 28, 2021, March 31, 2021, April 30, 2021, May 31, 2021, June 30, 2021, July 31, 2021, and August 31, 2021 have been extended to September 30, 2021. Cases that were or are due to close on the dates listed above have been extended to September 30th as well. (Please note: there are only five reasons why an L TC case will close during the national public health emergency: death, voluntary closure, a move out of state, a finding of fraud or agency-caused error, and a move out of an L TC facility but into Community Medical Assistance.)
Other COVID Updates

HHS Announces Updates to Provider Relief Fund FAQs: HHS recently updated the ​Provider Relief Fund (PRF) FAQs to clarify Ownership Structures and Financial Relationships between “parent” and “subsidiary” entities that received PRF funding (General and Targeted). Read More

BD Requests Feedback for Survey on Long Term Care Provider Testing: BD is seeking feedback from long term care providers on their experiences with COVID-19 testing through this brief survey. Read More

NHSN Creates Factsheet on Tracking HAIs and AR Infections: The CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) created a factsheet that briefly outlines the domestic tracking and response system to identify emerging and enduring threats across health care. Read More
Medline Update - BD Veritor Price Reduction

BD has decreased their cost on the Veritor COVID test, Medline item# BDD256082. The new price, effective Monday 1/25, is $22.53/test or $675.75/box of 30 tests.
BD was able to reduce their cost through both an increased scale in manufacturing capacity and efficiency improvements. BD’s cost reduction helps show their commitment to testing expansion and accessibility.

For more information, please contact your Medline representative.
REMINDER: N95 Mask Fit Testing

HFAM recently worked with LifeBridge Health to provide N95 Mask Fit Testing "Train the Trainer" programs. We held 6 days of training and taught over 50 individuals from 31 centers across the state.

If you missed one of our training days or need a refresher on how to Mask Fit Test, here is a link to an excellent video. Our mask fit tester trainer, Sarah Cross, RN IP/IC RN Coordinator, LifeBridge Health, provided participants with a step-by-step instruction guide, which she has allowed HFAM to share. Note: it is recommended that you watch the video first.

As part of a Center’s respiratory protection program a person needs to be determined medically eligible to be fit tested. Use this OSHA3789 form for the medical evaluation.

All employees should be test fitted annually, also employees need to be fit tested, when the center changes their supply/brand of mask.  
AHCA/NCAL #GetVaccinated Toolkit

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

As COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out to skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities across the country, providers are working hard to educate their staff and residents about the safety and benefits of the vaccine. AHCA/NCAL has updated its tactics for effectively communicating with staff to reflect best practices gathered from providers across the country.

To view all the materials please visit
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.