Requirement to Educate/Offer COVID Vaccine
LTC Facilities Required to Educate and Offer COVID-19 Vaccine to Staff and Residents
As the new COVID-19 vaccine is being released, long term care facilities need to be aware of the regulatory requirement to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to staff and residents. This requirement was originally referenced in QSO-21-19-ALL under the tag F887- COVID Immunization and made permanent through the COVID-19 Vaccination Final Rule, effective on August 5, 2023. Facilities must educate, offer, and document the consent and/or declination of COVID-19 vaccines for both residents and staff.
To provide more clarity on what it means to offer the vaccine, if the vaccine is unavailable in the facility, the facility should provide information on opportunities to obtain vaccination externally (e.g., health department or local retail pharmacy) to individuals. CMS expects that the facility will provide evidence, upon request, of efforts made to make the vaccine available to staff and residents.
AHCA has developed a comprehensive vaccine toolkit that includes a vaccination checklist that provide best practices on getting residents vaccinated for all three respiratory viruses this fall. Providers are encouraged to keep working with their LTC pharmacies to access and make available vaccinations and/or find opportunities for offsite vaccination.
NOTE: Colorado has included a similar requirement in their COVID Mitigation Guidance for Assisted Living communities as well.