White Home publicizes main COVID-19 vaccination enhance for nursing properties and suppliers are pushing again
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a $475 million, six-week campaign to increase COVID-19 immunization coverage among nursing home residents, and sector leaders immediately responded with a unified call for shared responsibility by other providers and Interest Groups.
Several direct threats have been made against nursing home operators as part of the White House’s multi-pronged plan to increase awareness of booster shots and access to vaccinations for the frail and elderly.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have each issued companion announcements that highlight portions of the overall announcement. The White House announcement singled out nursing homes in connection with enforcing federal guidelines on educating staff and residents and offering vaccinations to residents.
“CMS will clarify that nursing homes with low immunization rates will be referred to state survey agencies for scrutiny and that facilities meeting the requirement to provide life-saving COVID-19 vaccines and educate about their benefits will not face enforcement action, including the need to establish corrective action plans to achieve compliance,” the White House statement said.
Additionally, the White House is urging governors to increase pressure on providers, noting that the government “will highlight for them how their states compare to their peers.”
In addition, CMS will share data with states and health plans to “highlight the worst performing nursing homes to help them take action” to increase immunization coverage.
Providers defend record
The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge promptly hit back with a special, combined statement in defense of the providers.
“Nursing homes have done a remarkable job of getting residents vaccinated, but we’re dealing with the most recent boost,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, and Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, in a rare joint Explanation. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of residents are up to date on their COVID vaccinations, which is nearly four times higher than the dismal 11% rate in the general population.
“We all have the same goal: to ensure the health and well-being of older adults. We believe we can continue to increase this refresh rate and it will take a concerted effort from government and other healthcare providers to do so. For example, 90 percent of hospital residents are admitted to nursing homes, and very few of those residents are up to date on their vaccines at admission. Working with hospitals can improve immunization coverage.”
The Biden administration said it wants to help by: making vaccinations more convenient; increased funding for community-based organizations and health centers; Emphasis on enforcing nursing home requirements to educate staff and residents about vaccinations and offer them to residents; continuing to work with communities and organizations to provide pop-up clinics; and sensitization.
Refresher clinics are one solution
A prominent foster home advocate said the campaign could work with additional federal aid. Policy enforcement by Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services is probably not enough to ensure an increase in immunizations in nursing homes, David Grabowski, PhD, professor of health policy in the Department of Health Policy at Harvard University, told McKnight’s Long Term Care News.
“Some facilities have done a great job of administering boosters, but others have had real problems,” Grabowski said. “For facilities with low booster rates, I’m not convinced you can fine them to bring them up to acceptable levels. These are systems that often face greater challenges alongside boosters.”
Grabowski has consistently promoted the use of refresher clinics in nursing homes.
“This approach worked with the initial launch of the vaccine and I believe it can work for booster shots,” he said. “They worked under the original long-term care dispensary program but I am not aware that they are widely used for booster shots. It would clearly require federal dollars and a similar type of national pharmacy partnership that was used when the vaccine was originally launched.”
The government appeared to be heading in that direction with Tuesday’s announcement, but it was unclear what the level of involvement would compare to the federal government’s original reach after COVID vaccines became available. In addition to $350 million for community center involvement, officials said they would allocate $125 million to organizations that serve seniors and people with disabilities and to help conduct “vaccination events at senior and community centers.” .