Donna DeBlois Inducted into NAHC and HHFMA Hall of Fame

It is with pride, but heavy hearts that the Board of Directors of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) announce that the late Donna DeBlois, President of MaineHealth Care at Home, was inducted into the both the Home Care & Hospice Hall of Fame and the Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Hall of Fame on October 1, 2021. Unfortunately, Ms. DeBlois passed away that same day, at her home surrounded by family and friends.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held later this month, where hundreds of attendees are expected. Ms. DeBlois requested contributions be made to MaineHealthCare at Home Hospice Program; Maine Health Care at Home,15 Industrial Park Rd,Saco, ME 04072.

“Donna was a very special person with a passion and dedication to health care at home that was at the center of her professional life,” said NAHC President William A. Dombi.  “She was always there for the home care and hospice community, including through leadership positions on the NAHC Board and committees and in similar capacities with the Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine,” he added.  “Moreover, she brought her friendship to everyone, along with an ever-present smile that blended so well with the high professionalism of her work.”

A memorial service will be held in Maine, at which time her family will be presented with the Hall of Fame plaque that is inscribed with:

For her energetic leadership and dedication to advancing health care in the home, her innovative approaches to the delivery and administration of home care and hospice, her support and mentoring of future home care leaders,  her collaborative advocacy on behalf of home care and hospice patients and providers, her dedication and commitment to the community of home care and hospice through her deep involvement as a Board member of national and state associations, and her boundless positive spirit that she shared with all, we induct the Donna DeBlois, RN, BSW, MSB, MBA, AHCA, President, MaineHealth Care at Home jointly into the Home Care & Hospice Hall of Fame and Home Care & Hospice Financial Managers Hall of Fame.

Donna is the 64th inductee into the NAHC Hall of Fame and 18th inductee into the HHFMA Hall of Fame. She is the first person to be inducted into both simultaneously.

Donna DeBlois Inducted into NAHC and HHFMA Hall of Fame

It is with pride, but heavy hearts that the Board of Directors of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) announce that the late Donna DeBlois, President of MaineHealth Care at Home, was inducted into the both the Home Care & Hospice Hall of Fame and the Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers…

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, the first COVID-19 vaccine to move enjoy a status beyond emergency use status in the United States.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

William A. Dombi, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) hailed the approval, calling the coronavirus vaccines “safe and vitally important for us to move beyond the COVID pandemic.”

From the beginning of the public health emergency, NAHC has been at the forefront of COVID-19 education and advocacy. You can learn more about coronavirus and care in the home at the following pages:

About 85 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated and the federal government hopes FDA approval will encourage many of them to now get vaccinated. Those who continue to reject vaccination may face considerable problems keeping or getting jobs, as well as gaining access to some public facilities and private businesses.

A June 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found about 30 percent of unvaccinated Americans would be more likely to get vaccinated if a vaccine receives regulatory approval.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved some COVID vaccine requirements and incentives, as we reported in this space back in early June.

FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is likely to trigger a wave of vaccine requirements by cities, businesses, universities, health care systems and organizations, and more. The Veterans Administration became the first federal agency to require the COVID vaccine for employees, followed quickly by the Department of Defense, and the Department of Health & Human Services health care workers. The Pentagon vaccine requirement covers 1.3 million active duty troops and comes into effect after approval of the first vaccine, which has just occurred.

California has come close to a vaccine mandate for health care workers, while Oregon has created a vaccine mandate for schoolteachers and staff in public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.

United Airlines recently announced it will require all employees to show proof of vaccination within five weeks of FDA approval of a vaccine.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products. For all vaccines, the FDA evaluates data and information included in the manufacturer’s submission of a biologics license application.

“Our scientific and medical experts conducted an incredibly thorough and thoughtful evaluation of this vaccine. We evaluated scientific data and information included in hundreds of thousands of pages, conducted our own analyses of Comirnaty’s safety and effectiveness, and performed a detailed assessment of the manufacturing processes, including inspections of the manufacturing facilities,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We have not lost sight that the COVID-19 public health crisis continues in the U.S. and that the public is counting on safe and effective vaccines. The public and medical community can be confident that although we approved this vaccine expeditiously, it was fully in keeping with our existing high standards for vaccines in the U.S.”

According to Pfizer, it showed the FDA data from 44,000 clinical trial participants in the United States, South America, European Union, Turkey, and South Africa, demonstrating the vaccine is 91 percent effective in preventing infection.

As NAHC Report reported on Wednesday, August 18, the Biden Administration has developed a plan to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots this fall, subject to an independent evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issuing booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has strongly communicated to HHS how important it is that shipments of booster vaccines be sent directly to home care providers, so that safe and efficient booster vaccinations of the elderly and disabled – the most at-risk population – can take place in the home. NAHC will continue to make this case and we will keep our members up to date on this critically important topic.

“We look forward to working with the Administration to get vaccines to a very vulnerable group of individuals who, in many cases, are homebound and cannot otherwise secure the life-saving Covid vaccines and booster shots,” said NAHC President Bill Dombi, in response to the news.

NAHC Teams with National Minority Health Association to Vaccinate Home Health Workers in COVID-19 Fight

Increasing the vaccination rates among home health workers is critical to slowing the spread of COVID19.  The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in consultation with industry leaders, estimate a vaccination range of 40 percent to 90 percent depending on the company and the discipline of the caregiver.  With the rise of the Delta variant, NAHC is joining forces with the National Minority Health Association (NMHA) and the Flex for Checks program in a concerted effort to increase vaccinations among homecare workers.

The Flex for Checks (www.flexforchecks.org) community-based program was developed as part of an $11.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that seeks to mobilize home care workers to increase vaccination confidence and rates in underserved communities in the fight against COVID-19. The NMHA has also enlisted to support of television personality and author, Dr. Ian Smith, as a campaign spokesperson.

“We need to be honest and recognize our shortfall in vaccinations as an industry.  But as an industry, we need to come together to solve it, said Bill Dombi, President & CEO, NAHC.  This is even more of an urgent issue as the Delta variant is quickly spreading among the unvaccinated, coupled with colder winter months approaching,” Dombi continued.  We are pleased to join with NMHA in this collaborative effort.”

AccentCare, a leading home care provider has agreed to join in the launch by introducing Flex for Checks to its employees with a goal of 5,000 shots. “We recognize that the industry has a problem when it comes to vaccinations, said, Stephan Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer of AccentCare.  Vaccination is the first line of defense against COVID-19 and we want to be part of the solution, and that’s why we are aggressively encouraging our team members to get vaccinated.”

The HRSA grant is part of the approximately $125 million available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) American Rescue Plan to develop and support a community-based workforce that will serve as trusted voices in sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase vaccine confidence, and address barriers to vaccination for those living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities.

The grant funding will help community-based organizations like the NMHA better mobilize frontline home health workers as trusted messengers to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in receiving reliable information about vaccinations and reward health care agency workers for helping guide consumers to receive that vaccination as well as help increase vaccination among healthcare workers.

“We are thrilled to partner with NAHC and AccentCare as we seek to get as many home care workers and people in underserved areas vaccinated as possible”, said Burgess Harrison executive director of the NMHA.

“Nothing like this program has been undertaken in this manner, where homecare agencies, workers, consumers, pharmacies, and software companies come together and flex their arms in the fight of our lives against COVID-19,” continued Harrison.

NAHC Teams with National Minority Health Association to Vaccinate Home Health Workers in COVID-19 Fight

Increasing the vaccination rates among home health workers is critical to slowing the spread of COVID19.  The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in consultation with industry leaders, estimate a vaccination range of 40 percent to 90 percent depending on the company and the discipline of the caregiver.  With the rise of the Delta variant,…

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, the first COVID-19 vaccine to move enjoy a status beyond emergency use status in the United States. The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16…

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