State Vaccination Prioritization Process
New York State is currently in the process of determining which health care providers (HCP) are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This process is progressing each week as more allocations of the vaccine are distributed from the federal government to states.
New York is proceeding with its vaccination plan on three different fronts. As members know, most long term care facilities (LTCFs) are enrolled and currently participating in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care vaccine program. Many nursing home members had their first clinics this week or are scheduled to have them in early January. The federal Partnership includes vaccination of both LTCF staff and residents, though will likely only be able to provide vaccinations for part of the staff, thus requiring additional options for staff vaccination through other means. Adult care facilities (ACFs) and similar congregate settings will be next in line to participate in this program.
New York State is now distributing the vaccine to hospitals for priority hospital staff through the State Vaccination Program. Last week, the State mandated hospitals to set aside some of the vaccine for certain community-based populations as well. The State has begun to issue guidance on an intermittent basis setting forth which entities are next to receive and administer the vaccine and which community populations those facilities will vaccinate.
In last week’s vaccine allotment, hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) were asked to vaccinate Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers, coroners, funeral directors, and staff and residents of facilities under the Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Those HCP populations and residents also received guidance on how best to plan for and prioritize for vaccination those of greatest risk for COVID-19. For background on how this might roll out eventually for member staff and patient populations, please see Department of Health (DOH) guidance on vaccine allotments here and here and guidance on preparation for vaccination for communities already on the prioritization list here and here. This week, urgent care centers were added to the list as both vaccinators and HCP to be vaccinated. Front-line public health workers are also next to receive the vaccine. The allotment guidance also indicates State and City entities responsible for vaccination.
Last week, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a letter to HCP across the state regarding the planning and implementation of the State’s Regional Vaccination Networks. As discussed last week in Intelligence and on our Dec. 28th COVID-19 update webinar, we urge members to participate in this process to ensure inclusion of your HCP staff as well as your patient/resident populations and to advise the regional anchor organizations and stakeholder groups how best to identify, educate, and facilitate vaccination of the staff and vulnerable populations they serve. LeadingAge NY will be communicating to DOH in this regard as well. Contact information for the anchor organizations in charge of the Regional Vaccination Networks is available here.
Please know that LeadingAge NY continues to advocate for inclusion of all of its member staff, residents, and patients in the State prioritization process, through all federal, State, and regional vaccine programmatic fronts. Please reach out to us if you have suggestions or concerns as this process unfolds.