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In Focus Newsletter December 4, 2020

December 4, 2020

Updates

New Executive Order—Patient Transfers: On November 8th, Governor Polis issued Executive Order 20-260.  The purpose of the Order is to address the possibility that hospitals reach or exceed their capacities.  As it pertains to long term care, this Order gives CDPHE the authority to direct the transfer of patients from a hospital to another care setting (specifically calling out nursing homes).  Through several conversations this week CDPHE has told CHCA that they will not be directing the transfer of a resident from a hospital to a SNF against the desires of a SNF. If any entity indicates to you that this Executive Order somehow requires your community to accept a transfer, please contact Doug Farmer (dfarmer@cohca.org).

The current state of COVID-19 is putting many hospitals at immediate risk of reaching capacity and being forced to turn patients away.  At the same time, the barriers to appropriately accepting new residents has had a significant negative impact on long term care providers.  CHCA has been working with CDPHE, HCPF and the Colorado Hospital Association to break down regulatory and payment barriers for nursing homes to be able to safely and appropriately accept hospital transfers.  We are hopeful that we will see some changes next week that will begin to address the current situation.  As soon as we are aware of any confirmed changes, we will share that information with members.

New Public Health Order-Testing Reporting:  On December 1st, CDPHE issued Public Health Order 20-33.  CDPHE followed up with a Health Alert Network Broadcast on December 2nd with more specific requirements.  This Order requires that all providers performing COVID-19 testing to report all results to CDPHE by January 2nd.

Through conversation with CDPHE, CHCA has learned the following.  If you are using a lab that reports to the state you will not need to do additional reporting of labs.  If you are conducting point of care testing that does not go to a lab, you will need to report the results and information on all positive and negative tests to the state.  NHSN has the ability to collect the information that is required to be reported for POC tests.  If a facility is reporting data into NHSN they have met the state’s requirement under the Public Health Order.  If you do not have the increased SAMS security access to report patient level data from POC testing you will need to follow one of the other reporting options that was included in the HAN Broadcast.  If you need information on how to report testing results through NHSN, please consult the Long Term Care portion of the NHSN Website.  All providers are encouraged to continue any additional reporting your county requires if separate from what is listed in the HAN.

For questions or assistance, please contact Erin Thomas (Ethomas@cohca.org)

Vaccine Update: The COVID-19 vaccine situation continues to develop rapidly, both in Colorado and throughout the country.  This week CHCA learned that the State of Colorado will be receiving the first round of vaccines available in the state.  The state vaccination plan prioritizes health care workers, include those in nursing home and assisted living settings. The state is finalizing their plans for distribution of the first vaccines, and those plans are likely to include vaccine clinics located in hospitals and a few clinics hosted by local health departments.  The vaccines will likely be administered later this month, and CHCA will share more detailed information as state plans are finalized.

The federal Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Program is the mechanism for vaccinating long term care residents.  Providers should have registered their preference for administration of these vaccines through Walgreens, CVS, or your long-term care pharmacy partner.  Those providers who elected to use their long-term care pharmacy partner for vaccine administration must also have registered a backup with CVS or Walgreens.  If you have not registered a backup pharmacy, please contact CHCA for assistance.

Vaccine Hesitation: With any vaccination effort, there is some natural hesitation on the part of those receiving the vaccinations. One of the few tools we have in the fight against COVID-19 is this vaccine effort, and vaccinating as many as possible should be our goal. We realize that simply offering a vaccine is not sufficient to secure widespread vaccination uptake among long term care residents and staff.  Dr. Leslie Eber is President of the Colorado Medical Directors Association and a long-term care physician.  In concert with the American Medical Directors Association, Dr. Eber has developed some informational slides to educate people on the COVID-19 vaccine, and to answer many of the most common vaccine related questions.  Please review the COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy link to review Dr Eber’s slide presentation on vaccine hesitation.

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