COVID-19 UPDATE #121
December 29, 2020
COVID-19 VACCINE SAFETY: A FIRESIDE CHAT WITH AHCA/NCAL, CMS, AND CDC | TOMORROW,
DECEMBER 30 | 1:00 PM
Please join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for a fireside chat on vaccine safety tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30, at 1:00 PM PST.

This discussion kicks off a special series, as a part of the CMS National Nursing Home Stakeholder call series, aimed at addressing staff questions and concerns about the new COVID-19 vaccines. Each session will be moderated by CMS with speakers from CDC and representatives of frontline staff and providers.  

The initial call will address myths surrounding vaccine danger with the following panelists:  
  • Dr. Lee Fleisher, Chief Medical Officer and Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CMS)  
  • Dr. Amanda Cohn, Chief Medical Officer (Acting), Office of Vaccine Policy, Preparedness, and Global Health, Office of the Director (CDC)  
  • Dr. David Gifford, Chief Medical Officer and Director, Center for Health Policy Evaluation in LTC (ACHA/NCAL)  

Preparing for the call:  
  • Register in advance for the webinar here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
  • Would you like to submit questions for the panel to discuss? Questions can be sent to COVID-19@cms.hhs.gov. Note that there will not be a Q&A session during the call. 
  • Access the long term care toolkit resource here

The target audience for this webinar includes nursing home frontline staff and Chief Nursing Officers. Register here.
AHCA/NCAL UPDATE ON COVID-19 MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENTS
According to AHCA/NCAL, the Special Projects for Equitable and Efficient Distribution (SPEED) should go live this week to help allocate monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to priority populations, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The public portal distribution locations map is going through the final stages of approval before launching. We will provide an update when the site goes live.
 
Once live, the public portal distribution location map will provide information where providers can obtain the therapeutic mAbs. It will be accessible by clinicians and patients, as well as providers. The information displayed will include both bamlanivimab (Eli Lilly mAb) and the combination drugs casirivimab and imdevimab (commonly referred to as Regeneron) recipient locations. The portal will allow for search function to locate the mAbs based on address, zip code, and scrolling features. Contact information for the locations will be provided in the portal.
 
The mAb is being made available to nursing homes and assisted living principally through two ways: 

Steps for connecting long term care facilities with partnering pharmacies using mAb:
  • Reach out to current pharmacy to see if they are already participating.
  • If they are not participating, but are interested, they should email Chad Worz and include the name of the individual pharmacy, address, contact person, email address, and request initial allocation based on the pharmacy size.
  • If the pharmacy is already an Amerisource Bergan customer, they should include their customer ID, or if not a current Amerisource Bergan customer, include the pharmacy license number for the location.
  • HHS will work to expedite a relationship between Amerisource Bergan Specialty and the pharmacy so that they receive product timely.
WEEKLY LTC Q&A CALLS CHANGE FOR 2021
The Department of Health is changing the format of the weekly Q&A calls. One significant change is that each week will concentrate on a specific LTC setting on a rotating basis. More structure will also be added to the meetings. The weekly agenda will feature updates and 10-15 minute micro-learning on an infection control topic before transitioning to questions. There will be two trainings each month.

The HAI mailbox will continue to be available for submitting questions prior to each week’s call.

  • The first and third Thursdays will focus on SNF/ALF guidance and issues.
  • The second and fourth Thursdays will focus on AFH.
  • Fifth Thursdays will be open Q&A for all settings.

Please register for 2021 COVID-19 Q & A for Long-Term Care: Weekly Sessions begin on January 7, 2021, 11:00 AM PST here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
NHSN LAUNCHES NEW OPTIONAL COVID-19 VACCINE MODULES
The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) has launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Modules for residents and healthcare personnel in long term care facilities (LTCFs). These new reporting modules are optional and require only Level-1 SAMS security clearance, which is the same security clearance required to upload data to the COVID-19 LTCFs module.  
 
The COVID-19 Vaccine Modules can be accessed here. There are training slides available to help LTCFs who choose to upload COVID-19 Vaccine data to this module. COVID-19 Data Collection forms and full Table of Instructions for each form can be found on the Surveillance for Weekly HCP and Resident COVID-19 Vaccination webpage.
NHSN DATA UPLOAD ISSUES REPORTED
The National Health Care Safety Network (NHSN) has reported that there is an error occurring with data upload to the NHSN Long Term Care Facility modules. This has to do with an incorrect auto-populated date error. The CDC is urgently working to correct the NHSN application error that is impacting reporting COVID-19 data since December 26, 2020.

When entering weekly COVID-19 data for the week of December 21-27, the pre-populated date for the week indicates that the week ends on December 27, 2021, instead of December 27, 2020. When trying to save data, the system generates an error message and will not allow facilities to save their data.

A solution will be deployed in the NHSN application later this week, but until then a work-around can be used to continue reporting COVID-19 vaccination data.

The CDC has offered the following steps for the work-around:
  1. On the weekly vaccination data entry screen, toggle the calendar to its previous month (November 2020) using the left-facing arrow.  
  2. After the month of November 2020 appears, toggle the calendar back to December 2020 using the right-facing arrow.  
  3. You should now be able to enter data for the week ending December 27, 2020.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website. If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.