COVID-19 UPDATE #129
January 21, 2021
WASHINGTON'S NEW VACCINE DASHBOARD WILL OFFER NEW WINDOW INTO PROGRESS
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with Microsoft AI for Health, is proud to announce vaccine data is now available on its dashboard, an addition that will help DOH share progress being made statewide as they endeavor to get COVID-19 vaccine to millions of people across the state of Washington.

The dashboard now includes a high-level vaccination snapshot under the Current Status tab as well as a new Vaccinations tab with statewide and county-level data on where, when and how many people are getting vaccinated. In the new tab, you can view the number of doses given in each county and statewide in a map view or by date. Read the full news release here.
ALTSA AND DOH PROVIDING LTC SAFE START UPDATE WEBINARS
Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) and the Department of Health (DOH) are hosting two webinars to present an overview of the revised LTC Safe Start Requirements and Recommendations documents for all care settings; Adult Family Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes, ICF/IID facilities, Enhanced Services Facilities and Certified Community Residential Services and Supports agencies. The LTC Safe Start documents have been updated to reflect changes in guidance documents, basic COVID care principles including infection control, and movements between LTC Safe Start phases.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. DOH recommends using Google Chrome to register.
NURSING ASSISTANT WAIVERS EXTENDED UNTIL STATE OF EMERGENCY TERMINATED
NAR Four-month Rule Proclamation
The Legislature has approved an extension for the Governor’s proclamation suspending certification requirements in nursing homes. The proclamation, which you can find here, is effective until the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency pursuant to RCW 43.06.210, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. This means that a nursing assistant-registered can work in a nursing home past 120 days before obtaining a nursing assistant-certified credential.

Long Term Care Worker Rules Proclamation
The Legislature has approved an extension for the Governor’s proclamation suspending certification requirements in community-based settings (adult family homes, assisted living facilities, and home care agencies). The proclamation, which you can find here, is effective until the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency pursuant to RCW 43.06.210, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. This means that a caregiver can work in a community-based setting past 200 days before obtaining a nursing assistant-certified or a certified home care aide credential.

Healthcare Worker Licensing Proclamation
The Legislature has approved an extension for the Governor’s proclamation removing certain barriers for licensure. The proclamation, which you can find here, is effective until the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency pursuant to RCW 43.06.210, or until rescinded; whichever occurs first. Below is a summary of what the waivers pertaining to nursing assistants do.

Barriers to Continued and Uninterrupted Healthcare Practice including continuing education and other training requirements and license renewal deadlines: Licensed health profession rules requiring continuing education (CE), AIDS education, and training in suicide assessment, treatment, and management are waived. This includes the 8 hours of CE required to maintain the medication assistant endorsement and the requirement to demonstrate clinical skills to an instructor in a practice setting in nursing assistant training programs.

Barriers to the Practice of Health Care Provider Volunteers
The requirement that a caregiver performing delegated duties be certified as a nursing assistant or home care aide is waived. Minimum credentialing for a caregiver performing delegated duties is an active Nursing Assistant Registered (NAR). Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission community-based and in-home care setting delegation decision tree are waived.

Barriers to Long-expired Credential Reissuance
The requirement to retake nursing assistant or nursing training and pass the competency examination prior to reissuance when a nursing assistant-certified credential has been expired for over three years is waived.

If you have questions about any of the nursing assistant waivers and/or training needs, please email Vicki McNealley or call her at (800) 562-6170, extension 107.
DEAR ADMINISTRATOR LETTER PROVIDES INSIGHT ON RESIDENTS RIGHTS AND THE COVID-19 VACCINE
In a Dear Administrator letter to all providers dated January 20, 2021, Residential Care Services (RCS) provides information on resident rights and the COVID-19 vaccine. In the letter, providers are reminded that under Chapter 70.129 RCW, every long-term care resident has the right to choose their own healthcare, including the right to receive information about vaccinations, and the right to receive a vaccination if they so desire. This includes the COVID-19 vaccine. If a resident or staff member requests the COVID-19 vaccine, the facility or provider must allow the resident or staff member to receive the vaccine.

If a facility did not enroll in the CDC Pharmacy Partnership COVID-19 Vaccine Program for Long Term Care or with a pharmacy enrolled with the Department of Health (DOH) providing vaccines, Residential Care Services (RCS) staff will be contacting you within the next two weeks to obtain information about numbers of staff and residents needing the vaccine. The information will be provided to DOH and used to match your facility with an enrolled vaccine pharmacy.

If you did enroll and have not been contacted by Walgreens or CVS, please submit a request for assistance to covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov.

The letter also includes a link where you can access additional information about vaccines in multiple languages. 
BACKLOGGED TRAINING AND FINGERPRINT BACKGROUND CHECKS? NOW IS THE TIME TO CATCH UP
While the ongoing state of emergency will drive continuation of the workforce waivers in place in the skilled nursing and assisted living settings, we STRONGLY recommend you work with staff NOW to complete fingerprint background checks and training and certification requirements for all direct care staff. While there are legislative efforts to address training timelines, you should NOT assume those solutions will be adopted by the Legislature. Here are some additional resources to help.
NURSE LICENSING IN WASHINGTON
Click here for a quick and easy guide to licensing nurses in the state of Washington. This resource is provided by the Department of Health Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. It outlines options for practicing as a nurse in Washington and provides approximate timelines to achieve each pathway.
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.