As the nation enters the holiday season, activity is heating up in Washington D.C., with Congress coming back to session after the Thanksgiving break. Focus is mainly on avoiding a government shutdown by passing of a funding bill and addressing the outstanding need for further COVID relief. At this stage, the forecast is muddy, at best, and it is impossible to make predictions on if lawmakers can come to some kind of agreement and what that agreement might include. NAHC continues our advocacy efforts on behalf of the private home care community related to additional business protections and the supports and resources needed to protect our front line workers providing care to some of the most vulnerable in our nation.
In addition to our advocacy around COVID-19 relief, NAHC has partnered with the nation’s leading home care and hospice organizations, including the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, the Home care Association of America (HCAOA), the National Hospice and Palliative Care organization (NHPCO), the Partnership for Medicaid Home-Base Care (PMHC), and the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, (PQHH), to express our overwhelming support for the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation on the inclusion of the home care and hospice workforce in Phase 1a of Covid-19 vaccine distribution. Recognition and inclusion of home care workers, including those in the private duty home care community, in this priority phase of vaccine distribution, was the product of a diligent, on-going, and coordinated advocacy effort from leaders in the home care industry.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done and a long road ahead. While the ACIP has made recommendations on the framework for equitable distribution and allocation to the CDC and prioritized the home care workforce, their recommendations, even after formally endorsed by the CDC, are just that, recommendations. The logistics and plan for final distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations rests largely at the hands of the individual state health departments and state governors. Just a few short days ago, to further bolster our advocacy efforts, joint letters were sent to state health departments across the nation and their respective governors, urging them to abide by the ACIP’s December 1st recommendations to the CDC to include home care workers in the initial priority distribution of vaccines. The home care workforce is working tirelessly to prevent the spread of the virus and protect those that they care and provide services for. We now need to do everything we can to protect them, including prioritizing them in the initial 1a vaccination distribution group.
We encourage you to add your voices to the effort and contact your local state health departments and governor’s offices asking them to support the ACIP’s recommendations as they finalize their own frameworks for equitable vaccine distribution. We are stronger together and you can be assured that NAHC will not rest in our advocacy efforts on your behalf.
Every Voice, Every Heart, Every Action