COVID-19 Update #290
Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM) and American Health Care Association (AHCA) Release Statement on Vaccination
Today, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country, released a policy statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for those working in long term care facilities.

In addition, the Health Facilities Association of Maryland released a statement in support of the AHCA/NCAL release.
Statement of Joseph DeMattos, President and CEO of HFAM:

“The Board of Directors of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland and Maryland Center for Assisted Living (HFAM/MCAL) considered and voted unanimously to support the vaccination statement released by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).
“AHCA/NCAL, the national association representing more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary long-term and post-acute care providers, recently issued a policy statement urging the vaccination of all health care personnel that, in part, reads: ‘AHCA/NCAL also supports all providers that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel, with state and local regulations and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented.’
“HFAM/MCAL has long advocated for every individual to be vaccinated and we support our members putting plans in place for mandatory vaccination based on their operational timelines. It is up to leadership and individual care organizations to decide the best timing for their teams.
“The pandemic has exacerbated workforce challenges that have long existed in our sector and across healthcare. Untimely vaccine mandates could further challenge providers’ ability to recruit and retain qualified staff given that some remain hesitant to receive the vaccine. We urge the state and federal government to enact solutions to help address these long-standing workforce challenges, especially as vaccine mandates could impact the already strained workforce.
“We are now entering a new surge of the COVID-19 virus. Depending on the Delta variant, breakthrough cases of vaccinated individuals contracting the virus, and potential new variants, this surge could last through the fall of 2021. Therefore, we urge the federal government to release to the sector already allocated financial aid remaining in the Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund.
“HFAM/MCAL fully supports the COVID-19 vaccine policy statement of our national affiliate AHCA/NCAL and encourages all providers to implement mandatory vaccine policies on a timeline that best suits their unique circumstances, policies, and personnel needs.” 
Upcoming Webinar: How to Boost Your Staff Vaccination Rates

AHCA/NCAL will host a webinar on August 11 at 3 PM Eastern focused on the recent report, Invest in Trust: A Guide for Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust Among Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). The report’s lead researcher will share key findings from the report that was commissioned by the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network. You will also hear from two long term care (LTC) providers who have worked hard to improve vaccination rates among their staff.
This webinar will also involve a Q&A session to allow attendees to share their challenges and seek insight from the speakers. Through both evidence-based research and real-world stories of success, this webinar will provide you with helpful tools and knowledge to improve your staff vaccination rates.
LTC communities have been working tirelessly to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence among their staff, but data from the CDC show that approximately only 59% are fully vaccinated. With the new delta variant quickly spreading in the United States, it is more important than ever to increase staff vaccination rates.​
Reminder: Vaccination Reporting

Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued this media release identifying the top, lowest, and non-reporting skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers concerning staff vaccination rates. Please note that these numbers have always been publicly available via the Maryland Department of Aging portal.

We encourage all to continue with their timely reporting of vaccination rates. And more importantly, we appreciate everyone’s efforts to promote vaccination and to meet people where they are to overcome vaccination hesitancy. We understand all that you and your teams have been doing to increase vaccination rates among staff. Along with AHCA/NCAL, we will continue to support you by sharing resources, information, and tools that can help increase vaccination rates. While it is a challenge, it is critical that together we keep our focus on education efforts.
Nursing Home Media Toolkit

Check out the new Nursing Home Media Toolkit from the Maryland Department of Health. The password to access the materials is Vaccine2021.

Please use the materials in this media toolkit to spread the word about vaccination with staff.

You'll find flyers, ads, social media posts, videos, and posters. 
Last Call! SNF After-Action Report

The Berkeley Group has been retained by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to produce an accurate, short, yet detailed COVID-19 pandemic after-action report. Skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers must lend our learnings, insights, expertise, frustrations, and recommendations to this report; Maryland hospitals will be doing the same. HFAM and other sector leaders are assisting in outreach to providers to collect information needed to compile this report.

Each skilled nursing and rehabilitation center is asked to complete this questionnaire to document activities during the pandemic, identify areas of opportunity, and make recommendations regarding actions the State can take to prepare for a future event. Completing this questionnaire may require centers to reach out to relevant stakeholders and team members to ensure thorough responses.  Frankly, let us provide feedback from assisted living campuses as well, which is also critical.

Please complete the questionnaire by Friday, July 30. Once complete, email it to Patrick Dooley at and copy Hope Morris at
Reminder: Board of Nursing Renewals

As we have shared many times, Governor Hogan extended the medical licensure renewal deadline to August 15, 2021. This deadline is now quickly approaching. It is critical that your teams file as soon as possible for licensure renewal.  

On this front, HFAM has been working with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) to assist with these licensure renewals. With this information, MDH/MBON will be able to assist with potential issues and communicate more effectively. If you have not yet shared this information with us, please fill out this spreadsheet as soon as possible and return to If you have this information in another format (such a word document, PDF, different excel sheet, etc.), you can send that instead.

Temporary Nursing Assistants

The Maryland Board of Nursing plans to honor the federal state of emergency and CMS waiver allowing emergency temporary nursing assistants to practice in Maryland for up to 120 days after the federal emergency ends So, if the federal emergency and the CMS waiver were to end on 12/31/2021, emergency GNAs could practice 120 days into 2022.
All of this said, as HFAM has been updating over the last several weeks, we encourage individuals in your center who have been working as temporary nursing assistants to enroll ASAP in a permanent full training program and pass the GNA certification exam to remain on the job long-term.  We HIGHLY recommend such enrollment now. Many of our members have directly or contract with such programs, and our Maryland Community Colleges are a tremendous resource. Email Patty DeGrasse on our team if you need guidance on GNA training programs.
Project Firstline

We are partnering with the Maryland Department of Health and Health Quality Innovators (HQI) to let you know about a new free infection prevention learning initiative from the CDC called Project Firstline. Project Firstline aims to spread infection control learning opportunities to front line workers in the healthcare field, even those without a clinical background.
Project Firstline’s CDC-developed training and engagement opportunities include short, accessible training videos, virtual interactive events, and telementoring to ensure every worker in every healthcare setting is empowered with the science and reasoning behind essential infection control practices, and can confidently apply those practices to protect themselves, their facility, their family, and their community.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Lynne Layug ( at HQI.
The 2021 HFAM Conference “Together We Re-Imagine” will be held in person October 4 – 7, 2021 at the Maryland Live Hotel and Casino in Hanover, Maryland. Hundreds of long-term care leaders will connect, share best practices and discuss actionable insights on how we can reflect, reform, rebuild, and revolutionize quality care. You and your teams will not want to miss this opportunity as we come together again.

Visit the conference website to learn more and register.
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