Elevating the Post-Acute and
Long Term Care Profession

June 16, 2021

Recording, Slides from AHCA/NCAL OSHA Webinar Available. AHCA/NCAL posted the recording and slides from this afternoon's webinar on the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 in health care. The program was presented by Brad Hammock, an attorney with Littler, and featured a number of questions and answers. If any SNF, assisted living, or ICF/IID members missed the live webinar or would like to review it again, here are AHCA/NCAL's instructions for obtaining the recording:

1. Go to https://educate.ahcancal.org/products/osha-emergency-temporary-standard-implications-for-skilled-nursing-facilities-assisted-living-communities-and-intermediate-care-facilities-for-individuals-with-intellectual-disabilities-icfsiid?force_login=1 and log in using your username and password.

2. Once the page opens, click on the “View Archived Recording" button on the right hand side of the page. The presentation will open in a new window for you to view and hear the program.

3. Click on the Handout tab to download your copy of the handouts and other available materials.

For questions or support, please email educate@ahca.org.

Also related to the OSHA standard, the agency published a flow chart to determine coverage of different workers, although Mr. Hammock stated in the webinar that he views the key consideration to be whether the worker provides services "for the purpose of promoting, maintaining, monitoring, or restoring health." He felt that this broad language reflect's OSHA's intent that all services provided by OHCA members, including in small settings and individual homes, fall within the standard's coverage, although he anticipated additional guidance from OSHA on this and other issues.

Aging Sets Webinars for SNFs, Assisted Living Communities. This morning, the state published on the Enhanced Information Dissemination and Collection (EIDC) system invitations to SNFs and assisted living communities to participate in Department of Aging webinars entitled, "We're on the Road Back." Topics listed include COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance, state Health Director's orders, testing, vaccines, and resources. The webinars will be presented two different times for each provider type, once each on Friday, June 18, and on Tuesday, June 22. Please see the state's flyers for assisted living and SNFs for registration links. We do not know what announcements these webinars may include.

CMS Promotes "We Can Do This" COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign. CMS circulated an email today on the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS's) COVID-19 vaccination campaign called "We Can Do This." CMS explained that the campaign is "a national initiative working hand in hand with trusted leaders and community organizations to continue to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and get more people vaccinated. This campaign offers tailored resources and toolkits for stakeholders to use to provide COVID-19 vaccine information to at-risk populations." CMS is offering webinars highlighting toolkits for various population groups. Two of them may be of particular interest:

  • Thursday June 24, 1:00-1:30 p.m.: Healthcare Workers Toolkit – Register here.
  • Thursday, July 8, 1:00-1:30 p.m.: Older Adults Toolkit – Register here

Pharmacy Board Removes Roadblock to Administering Vaccines. Last week, the Board of Pharmacy eliminated the requirement that a long-term care facility that wishes to administer COVID-19 vaccinations must have a special Category 2 license. The board wrote in its notice on the subject that a facility "may possess and administer vaccines and other biologics to patients and staff under the terminal distributor of dangerous drugs license issued to the facility’s servicing pharmacy (e.g., contingency stock license)." The same rationale applies to drugs stocked by the facility to address adverse reactions. Please see the notice for more information on this topic and the process for discontinuing a terminal distributor license. The board pointed out that facilities are not prohibited from maintaining the license, they just are not required to do so.

More on Provider Relief Fund Reporting and Related Issues. We reported last Friday that HHS issued new guidance giving Provider Relief Fund (PRF) recipients more time to spend the money they received and to report on how the money was spent. That same day, HHS also updated its PRF frequently-asked questions to address the revised spending and reporting deadlines, along with several other issues. Search the document for "6/11/2021" to identify these changes. Please note that these guidelines apply to funding received directly from HHS (the Health Resources and Services Administration), not to funding routed through the state.

NHSN Vaccination Reporting Pitfalls. We reported Monday that CMS informally allowed SNFs an additional week to report vaccination data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) by exercising its discretion not to enforce the requirement until June 21, 2021. Today, AHCA/NCAL supplied a spreadsheet (Excel download) listing Ohio SNFs that they identified as not submitting the data by last Sunday (June 13) and that are at risk of civil money penalties if the situation is not corrected. If your facility is on the list, but you feel you did report, check this Thursday's data when CMS posts it on their COVID-19 data page (scroll down to "COVID-19 Vaccination") to see if it is listed. If it is not, there is a problem that you will need to correct by 11:59 p.m. this Sunday, June 20. One possible issue is failure to complete item 2.99 on the reporting forms for residents and staff. This item asks for the number of completed vaccinations with an unspecified (unknown) vaccine manufacturer. Many facilities will not have vaccinations that fall into this category, as the vaccine used generally is known, and they may not complete the item because it is not clearly marked as a required element. It also does not generate an error message, as other required fields do. Nonetheless, it is a required field that must be completed, even if the answer is zero.