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December 31, 2020


As 2020 Comes to A Close - A Year-End Message.

Dear OHCA Member,

When many people reflect on the year 2020, unprecedented is the word that often comes to mind. But when I reflect on 2020 and the many challenges faced by all of you this past year, words likes strength, courage, perseverance, and love are the words that actually come to my mind.

On behalf of the entire staff at OHCA, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all you have done for those you employ, manage, and serve. Your actions have been nothing short of astonishing and we couldn’t be more proud and honored to represent the noble profession of long term care. 

As we begin 2021, know that your Association stands ready more determined than ever to help you get to the other side of this pandemic. The page is finally turning. Our wish for all of you is good health, continued hope, and much happiness in the new year.

Notes from Director McElroy. This morning, Director of Aging Ursel McElroy shared two points that may be of interest. First, relative to the state's plan to deduct from their allotment of BinaxNOW cards to SNFs or assisted living communities that choose that option on the opt-in/opt-out survey any cards a facility receives from the Department of Health and Human Services, Director McElroy said the deduction may lag behind distribution of the supplies. Members should be aware that the next distribution will be minus the HHS-supplied tests, so they should retain the seemingly excess cards they receive now.

As a reminder, the assisted living survey is due today and the SNF survey is due Sunday.

Second, Director McElroy informed us that tentatively on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week, the state will offer a "round table" (webinar) directed at facility staff encouraging them to take the COVID-19 vaccine. She added that the webinars will be available three times each day to try to reach as many staff as possible and to help improve the currently low vaccine uptake rate.

We also learned from Shannon Richey of the Health Department (ODH) that a licensed residential care facility (RCF) on the same campus or in the same building as a SNF must get its own Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver if the RCF wishes to use any kind of point-of-care antigen COVID-19 testing device, including BinaxNOW cards through the new option under the Department of Aging state support program for assisted living testing. Assisted living members interested in obtaining a Certificate of Waiver should review this brochure, which explains how to complete a CLIA application. You only need to complete the sections applicable to a Certificate of Waiver, then email the form to CLIA@odh.ohio.gov.

More on Recovered COVID-19 Patients and Vaccination. We learned yesterday and this morning that some members encountered problems with both CVS and Walgreens refusing to vaccinate individuals who previously had COVID-19 unless at least 90 days had passed. This is contrary to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, as explained in last night's COVID-19 Update, which allow a person who had COVID-19 to be vaccinated if the period for transmission-based precautions has ended. We brought the members' concerns to both the state and AHCA/NCAL and believe the issue has been addressed with both pharmacy companies. If you encounter this problem in your clinic, please immediately notify OHCA, and we will work to correct it before the clinic ends.

Prepare for the Future: Consider Becoming a Vaccine Provider. Congregate long-term care settings that signed up for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations through the clinics scheduled by the pharmacy partners. The clinics, however, only cover staff and residents who are in place when the clinics occur. Starting in late January, the three-clinic cycles will start to come to a close, but new staff and residents will continue to arrive. One likely way to vaccinate new arrivals is for facilities to administer the vaccine themselves, but it requires being enrolled with ODH as a vaccine provider. We advise all members to enroll as providers if they wish to be in a position to administer the COVID-19 vaccine after their clinics end.

Please see this ODH web page for information about enrolling as a provider. Remember that enrolling does not commit you to administering vaccine if you choose to go a different route when the time comes. Additionally, this page lists ODH's communications to vaccine providers, including today's guidance about transporting the Moderna vaccine.

Also, you may be interested in a webinar ODH is holding next week on reporting to the Ohio Impact Statewide Immunization Information System (ImpactSIIS). ImpactSIIS is the system to which vaccine providers report vaccination data. The webinar will be Tuesday, January 5, from 2:00-2:45 p.m. You may participate via this link or call in to 408-418-9388, access code 179 301 5374.

For ID/DD Provider Members. The Department of Developmental Disabilities' Dr. Laura (Sorg) recorded a video about the COVID-19 vaccine that you may find useful and is offering a webinar to help dispel myths about the vaccine. The video features Dr. Laura personally receiving the vaccine and sharing information about it. The webinar, part of Dr. Laura's "Well Aware" series, will address DD-specific questions and concerns around the vaccine. You may register here for the webinar on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.