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December 9, 2020

LTC Cases Again Exceed Previous Record. The Health Department (ODH) released their weekly COVID-19 data for long-term care facilities, encompassing SNFs, assisted living communities, and ICFs/IID. The state's facilities reported 4,703 new cases, 607 more than last week's record. Staff cases were 174 higher than the previous week at 3,081. An additional 212 residents and staff deaths were attributed to COVID-19, the highest weekly total since June 10. Overall, today's daily total of reported COVID-19 cases again topped 10,000, with 84 deaths.

Vaccine News. ODH's Lance Himes reported on the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort to a large group of stakeholders today. Responding to questions from OHCA, Mr. Himes clarified that only providers who signed up for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care by the federal deadline are included in the program, and no more will be added. Any Phase 1a vaccine candidates who are not in the Partnership will be vaccinated by local health departments. Phase 1a, which comprises high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents, covers as many as 1.3 million Ohioans. The state expects the pharmacies in the Partnership will receive another 123,000 Pfizer doses, in addition to the original 88,000, around December 22. Another 148,000 doses are anticipated the following week. Other high-risk health care workers will get the Moderna vaccine.

As a Walgreens representative stated in the stakeholder meeting, OHCA members reported receiving emails from Walgreens today with additional materials to prepare for their clinics: a vaccine administration record, which includes their consent form, with instructions, and a tip sheet on how the clinics will work. Mr. Himes said all four pharmacies participating in the Partnership in Ohio should have contacted their facility partners by now, but some OHCA members report not hearing from them yet.

Reminder: AHCA/NCAL is offering a webinar entitled, "Preparing for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics," at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, December 10. You may register for the webinar at this link.

OHCA COVID-19 Vaccine Informational Material. Many members have asked about educational material on the COVID-19 vaccine to help them communicate with residents, families, and staff. We pulled together this compilation, which consists of the text of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) very useful fact sheet plus links to many other explanatory resources. We anticipate continually updating this material as more information comes out, which we expect will expand significantly after one or more vaccines receive Emergency Use Authorizations.

Monoclonal Antibodies News. Project ECHO will hold a free webinar on antibody treatments for COVID-19 tomorrow from 2:30-4:00 p.m. Please see this flyer for more information. You may register here. This webinar is not related to OHCA's ongoing Project ECHO program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted updates to their frequently-asked questions and an infographic further explaining Medicare coverage and billing for monoclonal antibodies. There is no beneficiary cost-sharing for monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19. A Medicare toolkit and program guidance can be found at this web page. CMS comments that:

[A] broad range of providers and suppliers, including freestanding and hospital-based infusion centers, home health agencies, nursing homes, and entities with whom nursing homes contract, to administer this treatment in accordance with the Food & Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and bill Medicare to administer these infusions. Currently, two monoclonal antibody therapies have received EUA’s for treatment of COVID-19.