CDC Issues New Safety Guidelines for Vaccinated Persons

On Tuesday, April 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new health and safety guidelines for persons who are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus COVID-19, declaring that many activities discouraged as unsafe before vaccination will now be safe. The highlights are: If you are fully vaccinated you can start doing many things that…

CDC Issues Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new interim recommnedation for people who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus, urging people to remain vigilant against infection and spreading even after full vaccination. The new guidance provides recommendations for fully vaccinated people, including: How fully vaccinated people can safely visit with…

CDC Provides New Guidance on COVID Vaccine Needs of Homebound Patients

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has been urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC0 to recognize the special COVID-19 vaccine needs of homebound individuals and we are pleased to report that this has happened. New guidance from the CDC covers training of staff to deliver the vaccine, vaccine administration, safe storage of the vaccine, and pre-vaccination planning for the vaccination of homebound patients.

While this recognition is significant, the CDC has yet to address how home care companies access vaccines for purposes of administration to homebound individuals. Last week, NAHC President William A. Dombi wrote to new CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, to urge action on getting vaccines to home care agencies so their homebound patients may receive the vaccine in a timely manner.

The 12 million Americans who are homebound and receive care from home health agencies, home care providers, and hospices are not capable of travelling to a local or state health department, a mass immunization site, or the local pharmacy to receive vaccination. This large population of America’s most vulnerable need to the vaccine to come to them or they will likely not receive it.

These Americans and their families and loved ones would helped enormously if the CDC could address  the essential issue as to how home care providers can access the vaccine for their patients.. We recognize that vaccine access is a need that goes well beyond homebound patients. Still, the known action to date by the CDC and state officials does not appear to consider this population at all. The recent expansions of access through pharmacies and mass immunization sites is a great improvement in vaccine access, but it does not help the 12 million homebound patients, virtually all of whom fall into a high priority classification.

More than 90 percent of home care and hospice providers are freestanding and not a part of the health systems that have received a vaccine supply. Those facilities have used vaccines for their inpatients and health care staff. Similarly, the vaccines provided to nursing home residents through the CDC partnership with Walgreens and CVC does not go to homebound patients.

NAHC represents most of the companies that provide health care in the home and we stand ready to work with the CDC is developing a viable plan of action to get America’s homebound population vaccinated. We worked extensively with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and CDC in the distribution of the BINAX rapid tests in home care, the administration of infused therapeutics, and the prioritization of vaccines to home care staff. NAHC and HHS should consider us constructive partners in the vaccine administration, too.

NAHC is not insisting that homebound patients get special access. Rather, we are urging CDC to never allow these Americans to be forgotten. To effectively provide vaccinations to the homebound may require direct supply to the home care and hospice health care companies that care for these patients on a daily basis. There may be other options in administering the vaccine, but it is apparent it is necessary to develop a plan to make it happen. NAHC is ready to participate in developing that plan as we bring a knowledge and experience base that can be very helpful. Our members tell us that patients and their families are asking how and when the homebound population will gain access to the vaccine. We should at least be able to tell them that such a plan is in development.

NAHC has been in contact with CDC to ensure homebound patients receive fair access to the COVID vaccine and the enormous competencies of home health, home care, and hospice providers are tapped to make that effort a complete success. NAHC will continue to engage with the CDC on this matter and keep readers updated in NAHC Report and the Private Duty Source.

CDC Provides New Guidance on COVID Vaccine Needs of Homebound Patients

NAHC urges CDC to help get vaccine to home health, home care, hospice patients Find the new CDC guidance on NAHC’s COVID-19 News & Resources page! The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has been urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC0 to recognize the special COVID-19 vaccine needs of homebound…

COVID-19 Response Vaccine Update from the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is inviting health care stakeholders to join their weekly partner call for updates on the COVID-19 response, including new resources for the private sector and the general public. You can register for the call HERE. Date: Monday, December 21, 2020 Time: 3:00—4:00 p.m. ET CDC Speakers Dr. Nancy…

“Advocacy in Action”

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

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NAHC: Prioritize Home Care and Hospice Workers for COVID-19 Vaccine

NAHC will be working with membership to organize efforts in the states to ensure that home health and hospice workers receive prioritization for the vaccine once one is approved.  Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted 13-1 on Tuesday, December 1, to recommend health care workers and residents of long-term…

CDC Updates “How COVID is Spread” Webpage

Yesterday, the Centers for Diseasse Control & Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance to its How COVID-19 Spreads website, which includes information about the potential for airborne spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a…

COVID-19 Nursing Home Facility Info for Home Health & Hospice

The Quality, Safety and Oversight (QSO) group of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a memo to nursing homes that is of interest to hospice and home health  providers.  Specifically, QSO-20-29-NH Interim Final Rule Updating Requirements for Notification of Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 Cases Among Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes,…

CMS Nursing Home FAQs on Policies Related to Admission of Hospice Staff

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided a recap of previous guidance related to nursing home visitors (see Q&A 4) and access to facility patients by health care workers, including hospice workers (Q&A 6). Most recently, as part of a memorandum to state survey agency directors (QSO-20-28-NH: Quality Nursing Home Five Star…