DOH Issues Dear Administrator Letters to Nursing Homes and ACFs Regarding Ongoing Efforts to Provide Vaccinations
Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) issued two Dear Administrator Letters (DALs) reminding nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs) of the requirement to offer or arrange for primary COVID-19 vaccination as well as next and booster doses for both staff and residents.
The DALs remind providers of the vaccine mandate for health care personnel (HCP) and encourage all staff and residents to receive primary series and initial booster vaccinations. They recognize recent federal approval of a second booster for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised or individuals age 50 and over, regardless of health status, and require facilities to offer or make available those vaccines for residents or staff who are eligible and choose to receive them. As members know, staff are not mandated to receive first or second booster doses, but must be provided the opportunity to receive them if eligible.
The ACF DAL reminds providers of the following:
- Every ACF regulated pursuant to Title 18 NYCRR Parts 487, 488, and 490 (i.e., adult homes, enriched housing programs, and residences for adults) and/or 10 NYCRR Part 1001 (assisted living residences) must make diligent efforts to arrange for all consenting, unvaccinated existing personnel and residents to register for a vaccine appointment and an appointment to receive any recommended booster and document attempts to schedule and methods used to schedule the vaccine in the individual’s personnel file or case management notes, as applicable.
- ACFs must arrange for the COVID-19 vaccination, including the first or any recommended next or booster dose, of all new personnel, including employees and contract staff, and every new resident and resident readmitted to the facility.
- Information related to vaccinations must be documented with the resident’s pre-admission screening information and, if admitted, retained in the resident’s case management records.
- The ACF must document its attempts to schedule and methods used to schedule the vaccine appointment in the resident’s case management notes, or for staff, in the individual’s personnel file. ACFs are reminded of the timeframes for complying with this requirement (seven days within admission, readmission, or in the case of staff, seven days from the date of hire).
The nursing home DAL reminds providers of the following:
- Every nursing home regulated pursuant to Title 10 NYCRR Part 415 must offer all consenting, unvaccinated existing personnel and residents an opportunity to receive the first or any recommended next or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The operator and administrator of every nursing home must ensure that all new personnel, including employees and contract staff, and every new resident and resident readmitted to the facility have an opportunity to receive the first or any recommended next or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of having been hired by or admitted or readmitted to such facility, as applicable. Nursing homes are reminded to document eligibility status.
- Nursing homes must post conspicuous signage throughout the facility, including at points of entry and exit and each residential hallway, reminding personnel and residents that the facility offers COVID-19 vaccination.
- Nursing homes must provide all personnel and residents who decline to be vaccinated a written affirmation for their signature, which indicates that they were offered the opportunity for a COVID-19 vaccination but declined. Such affirmation must state that the signatory is aware that, if they later decide to be vaccinated for COVID-19, it is their responsibility to request vaccination from the facility.
The Department has communicated that they will not be updating questions on the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) to recognize second booster reporting and that facilities should report second booster doses within the same question they currently report data for first boosters.
Contact: Meg Everett, firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-867-8871