Coronavirus Update #166
MDH Webinar and Updates, CMS Visitation Guidance, Flu Shot Resources,
Abbott BinaxNOW Follow Up, Voting Guide
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:

  • Review current situation of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Epi Updates
  • CMS Updates
  • CDC Updates
  • Q&A

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

If you have any questions, please email
MDH Updates

Redetermination Extension

Earlier this week, The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) shared that they 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, April 30, May 31, June 30, July 31, August 31, September 30, October 31, and November 30, 2020 have been extended to December 31, 2020. Cases that are due to close on those dates have been extended to December 31st. 

Pleases keep in mind that you are still encouraged to complete renewals as close to the scheduled redetermination date as possible. This extension does not extend past December 31, 2020. Click here to read the full memo.

Power Wheelchair Transmittal

Beginning November l, 2020, Telligen, the Maryland Medicaid Program's Utilization Control Agent, will assume the responsibility for processing preauthorization requests for power wheelchairs (PWCs) for nursing facility residents. After this date, the Program will no longer accept requests from nursing facilities. Instead, requests must be submitted by a durable medical equipment (DME) provider that is an authorized Maryland Medicaid provider. 

CMS Memo Reversing Nursing Home Restrictions

As you know, last week CMS announced changes regarding visitation. This new QSO memo (20-39-NH) greatly improves the ability for nursing home residents to receive visitors. In short, it allows for more outdoor and indoor visits, including parameters where indoor visits are required to be permitted.

Please note that on yesterday's webinar, MDH discussed the CMS changes and shared that they would be providing additional guidance on visitation; we will share this state guidance as soon as it becomes available.
This year, it’s more important than ever to get the flu shot

People who are 65 and older are at high risk of having serious health complications from the flu. Now more than ever, everyone needs to do their part to prevent the spread of illnesses like the flu.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people are getting vaccines which puts their communities at greater risk for other preventable diseases. When people with Medicare get the flu shot, it helps protect them and keep them from spreading the flu to others.  Getting a flu vaccine is a simple, easy, and powerful way to protect your health and the health of those around you.

Medicare covers the cost of the flu shot, which is available at most health care provider offices, local pharmacies, senior centers, health centers, and other places in the community.

This year, CMS is developing many new flu vaccination resources for people with Medicare, partners, providers, and others who can share our message. 

Consumer Resources on

Partner & Provider Resources on
  • CMS developed a new page – – for one-stop shopping to help you find CMS’s flu vaccination information and resources.
  • Visit the Outreach & Media Materials page for flu vaccination materials you can share within your partner networks and use to reach people with Medicare, plus other audiences across our health care programs. We will continue to update this page with additional resources.
  • Use this social media toolkit with posts and graphics to spread the word about the importance of getting a flu shot this year (in English & Spanish).
  • For partners, CMS launched a Flu Vaccine Partner Toolkit with flu and other immunization resources. Multi-language fact sheets and much more here!
  • For health care providers, CMS launched a new website – – with flu coverage and billing information.
Abbott BinaxNOW™ Assisted Living Webinar Follow-up

Last week, Abbott BinaxNOW held a webinar for assisted living facilities. Please click here to see the slides from the webinar.

​Skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities who are receiving the Abbott BinaxNOW™ test kits can refer to the following resources from Abbott: 

Contact Information:  
  • To report shipping issues / order quality concerns (these should be sent to Abbott at:  
  • For technical usage questions about the BinaxNOW™ test, contact Abbott directly at: Technical support: or 1-800-257-9525 
  • For all other questions related to your distribution, please contact, this inbox was established to coordinate the distribution of government procured Abbott BinaxNOW™kits. This inbox should NOT be used to request kits for facilities not currently receiving these tests. 
For training videos & documentation and other important links, please refer the following information:  
  • For access to access training videos and documents, please visit the BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card and NAVICA™ App Set-Up and Training portal.  
  • For CLIA FAQs and information, click here 
  • For policy regarding performance of antigen tests authorized by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) at the point of care or in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, please refer to CMS’s policy here and PREP Act guidance here
  • For FDA recommendations to health care providers who are ordering authorized tests outside their authorization (e.g., antigen tests for asymptomatic individuals), please see FDA’s FAQ on Testing for SARS-CoV-2.  
Get Ready to Vote!!!

The 2020 General Election is Tuesday, November 3

Make sure that residents, patients, and staff are prepared to vote!
Don’t wait, start planning today!
While there are many ways to participate in the 2020 Presidential Election, all Marylanders are strongly encouraged to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. None of us have navigated an election during a worldwide pandemic or statewide public health emergency such as the one we currently face. Please know that we stand as an active resource to ensure residents, patients, and staff can vote in the upcoming General Election. In addition, for specific questions and assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to the election director at your local board of elections.
Register to Vote by October 13
First, make sure that you and residents are registered by October 13, 2020. Registrations must be up to date with current addresses.

Click here for Maryland’s Online Voter Registration where you can register to vote, request a mail-in ballot, or update your registration.

You may also submit a voter registration application to your local board of elections. It is important to note that your application must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline (October 13) in order to vote in the 2020 General Election.

Want to find out if you or a resident is registered to vote? Click here for the online voter lookup.
Vote by Mail
Please note that the State Board of Elections now refers to absentee ballots as “mail-in ballots” and absentee voting as “mail-in voting.” This change in terminology does NOT change the process of mail-in voting.

Mail-in voting is the best option for both residents and staff in long-term care centers to vote. Any registered voter may vote by mail-in ballot. In order to vote by mail, your request must be received by Tuesday, October 20. There are two convenient ways to request a mail-in ballot:

  1.  Online with a Maryland Drivers license or MVA-issued ID card.
  2. Complete and return this form to your local board of elections.

If you would like to check the status of a mail-in ballot request, please visit the voter lookup website.

Mail-in ballots may be received via mail, fax, or download from the State’s website. Ballots are sent or posted to the website about three weeks before an election.

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, please review the instructions carefully before voting to ensure that you fill the ballot out correctly. Some key points to remember:

  • Use Black Ink to Mark your Ballot
  • Sign the Return Envelope
  • Do Not Sign the Ballot
  • Seal your Return Envelope
  • Send your Ballot using the Postage-Paid Return Envelope

Marylanders are encouraged to return their mail-in ballot as soon as possible. To return your ballot, use the postage-paid return envelope provided. Ballots must be mailed or hand delivered; they cannot be submitted online, by email, or by fax.

  • Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020 and received by your local board of elections by November 13 at 10:00 AM. 

Early Voting
Early voting for the 2020 General Election starts on Monday, October 26 and runs through Monday, November 2. Early voting centers are open daily (including Saturday and Sunday) from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM. If you vote in person during early voting, please practice social distancing, hand hygiene, and wear a mask.

Election Day Voting
While everyone is strongly encouraged to vote by mail-in ballot, you may also vote in person on election day. Approximately 350 voting centers will be open on election day. Be sure that you are registered and go to an election day voting center in the county where you live between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. If you vote in person on election day, please practice social distancing, hand hygiene, and wear a mask. Note that voters will be kept six feet apart and there will be a limit on the number inside voting centers at one time.

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.