Sharing a reminder that the deadline to opt-in to HHS’ Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program is Friday, October 30. This program is intended to help long-term care communities, at no cost, with complete vaccination management through a retail pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Long-term care communities are not mandated to participate in this program and can request to use their current pharmacy contracts to support COVID-19 vaccination. However, providers should ensure that their long-term care pharmacy is a registered provider with their state. It is also important to note that if communities opt-in to the HHS program, the decision on how to receive vaccines can be changed at any time before vaccines are distributed.
Today, HHS issued an announcement that it has revised the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting requirements and broadened the definition of “lost revenue”.
In the coming days, we'll be hosting important member-only webinars on COVID-19. We encourage you to join us to be sure you have the latest details on applying for Provider Relief Fund Phase 3 funding (10/21); testing (10/26); and compliance with Provider Relief Fund payments (11/9).
Today, HHS announced that it has partnered with CVS and Walgreens for the complete management of the COVID-19 vaccination process for long-term care communities. We have been emphasizing the importance of not only prioritization, but also assistance with vaccine administration, and we appreciate HHS’ attention to and action on this integral issue.
This week, Jim Parker, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Health Reform at HHS, spoke to Argentum’s Executive Advisory Board (EAB) about COVID-19 relief funding for assisted living communities. Members of the EAB had an opportunity to ask questions regarding the Phase 3 General Distribution from the Provider Relief Fund. This distribution of $20 billion was announced on October 1 and is open to all eligible providers from earlier Provider Relief Fund distributions.
Parker indicated that the Phase 3 distribution is meant to bring all qualified providers to a “baseline” distribution equivalent to 2% of revenue for a single year. Additionally, once that threshold has been met for all applicants, HHS will develop a methodology to disburse the remaining funds.
On October 7, Argentum joined a call with the CDC focused on vaccine distribution in nursing homes and assisted living communities. Some key takeaways from the call include:
- Concerning dosage of vaccines: Vaccines would use the same product for two doses with the second dose recommended to occur after an interval of approximately 21-28 days from the first dose.
All assisted living communities with a CLIA certificate of waiver will receive rapid point-of-care tests from HHS. The the first distributions will go to all CLIA-certified assisted living communities whether or not they are in a COVID-19 hotspot (as determined by CDC epidemiological data).
Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus released the final 237-page “Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine” report. Sponsored by NIH and CDC, the report is intended to help guide equitable allocation of a limited initial supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to an updated framework for equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine, the final report includes recommendations for ensuring equity in distribution, administration, and access; for effective community engagement, risk communication, and strategies to promote vaccine acceptance; and for global considerations.
On October 1, HHS announced the next phase of funding from the Provider Relief Fund, for which assisted living providers are eligible. This funding, which includes $20 billion for providers on the front lines of the pandemic, is intended to offer the opportunity for providers that have already received funding to apply for additional funding based on financial losses and changes in operating expenses as a result of COVID-19. According to HHS, it is “designed to balance an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.”
The CDC has released its COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations. This document is intended to serve as guidance for state, territorial, and local public health programs and partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19 within their jurisdictions. Argentum’s Vaccine Task Force, made up of clinical experts, is reviewing this document from the CDC and is working to make sure senior living is ready for administration of COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. The task force is providing the CDC with detailed feedback and hopes to have additional guidance distributed within a few weeks.