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Vaccination Update

State Issues New Vaccination Guidance

New general guidance for vaccinators was issued by the State on May 6th. Please note its reference to the new predrawn syringe guidance, which will assist long term care facilities and home care agencies in delivering and administering the vaccine to individuals in adult care facilities (ACFs) and nursing homes, as well as the homebound.

The State Vaccination Program also recently issued guidance on reporting vaccine wastage. Members in custody of the COVID-19 vaccine and administering and reporting it in the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) are required to report unused, spoiled, damaged, or expired vaccine in NYSIIS as it occurs. This is necessary to accurately maintain and report vaccine inventory. Accurate reporting of wasted doses must be tracked to include information such as manufacturer, lot number, and wastage reason. Members should carefully review the guidance and instructions on accurately reporting vaccine that falls into this category. Please let LeadingAge NY know of any questions or concerns regarding this process. This reporting should only be completed by the vaccinator responsible for NYSIIS reporting.

Although most, if not all, members are not ordering vaccine directly from the State or federal government, please note new updated guidance documents for those that are: Requesting COVID-19 Vaccine in NYSIIS, Accepting Vaccine Shipments into NYSIIS Inventory, and Updating Inventory into NYSIIS for Redistribution. The documents can be found here.

New VaccineFinder Requirements

LeadingAge NY members enrolled in the State Vaccination Provider Program were emailed last week regarding a new requirement to register in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) VaccineFinder tool, which provides information regarding vaccination sites open to the general public. LeadingAge NY reached out to the Department of Health (DOH) to inquire whether facilities vaccinating only their residents and staff had to comply with registration in the tool. DOH counseled that members would not be required to enroll, as they do not offer vaccinations to the general public, and they instructed members to let the CDC know that they did not have to register and comply. As the CDC has been contacting members, however, it has stated that members do, in fact, need to comply by registering and updating their information, though they may click on a tab that hides their status from view by the general public.

LeadingAge NY will be reaching out to DOH to ask for provider exemption from this process. We will let members know if we make any headway in this regard.

State Offers Framework for Counties to Vaccinate Homebound

DOH and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) have issued a letter and template to all counties calling upon them to develop a plan to vaccinate the homebound. They will now require a single point of contact per county for all homebound individuals seeking to be vaccinated. The State has identified the following possible vaccination options based on feedback from counties. The options include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Using nursing staff of the county’s hospice or home care agency, whether it is a Licensed Home Care Services Agency (LHCSA) or Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA);
  2. Partnering with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agencies that have been designated as Community Paramedicine Programs to have Community Paramedics (CP) conduct in-home vaccinations;
  3. Contracting with a pharmacy partner to have licensed pharmacists, in good standing, administer the COVID-19 vaccine to homebound persons; 
  4. Contracting with or entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with another provider, such as a private medical group or private home care provider (CHHA, LHCSA) which is an enrolled provider eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine and has staff legally authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The process would require agencies to enter into an MOU per Public Health Law (PHL) Section 2805-X, which provides for a temporary collaborative agreement between the county and an agency. The State referenced federal funds for this initiative through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). It is unclear if the ARP funds would go to paying agencies or if agencies would bill Medicare or Medicaid for administration and monitoring of patient.

We realize that some counties already have plans in place, but this will be helpful for many regions. We have some questions for the Department, namely whether this applies to New York City (NYC) boroughs, whether vaccine providers or the county would update and report in NYSIIS, and how agency payment/billing of administration of vaccine would be carried out. Members should reach out if they have other questions regarding this process.

Webinars on Vaccine Hesitancy

LeadingAge NY members are encouraged to attend the following webinars to help combat vaccine hesitancy in health care personnel (HCP):

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) COVID-19 Webinar for HCP

Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Using Motivational Interviewing Techniques – Fri., May 14th, 1 to 2 p.m.

Speakers:

Uché Blackstock, MD, founder and CEO, Advancing Health Equity
Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS, founder and executive director, Health Justice

Click here to register for the webinar.

Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) Webinar

How Approaching Vaccine Hesitancy with Compassion Led a Nursing Home Leader to Success – Wed., May 19th, 3 to 4 p.m.

Speaker:

Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills of DC nursing home and senior living community, will discuss her successful efforts in achieving vaccination of 86 percent of her staff (and still climbing). Ms. Sandri has been featured in The New York TimesBecker’s Hospital ReviewMcKnight’s Long-Term Care News, and on CNN for her unique, trauma-informed, and caring approach to vaccine hesitancy. She will share the strategies that led to the significantly high vaccine uptake among her staff as well as participate in a Q&A and discussion with the audience. Attendees are encouraged to bring commentary from their own successes and challenges in this crucial area.

Click here to register for the webinar. (Please note that while the form is designed for HANYS members, non-members may proceed to the registration page without designating a facility.)