• Home Care Workers to be Vaccinated Beginning January 11 – Plan Now!
  • Think Ahead! BE PREPARED for Home Care Worker Vaccination
  • HCP Launches Take 5 to Fight COVID Video Series
  • HCP To Hold Webinar to Address Vaccination Roll-Out Questions

Home Care Workers to be Vaccinated Beginning January 11 – Plan Now!

Over the weekend, the New York State Department of Health (DOH/the Department) issued new guidance for providers regarding weeks 1-5 of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in New York.

This guidance supersedes all prior guidance. The guidance, while instructive, is largely directed toward those providing services and vaccinations within facilities. Home care providers should review the guidance as it provides important insights as to how facilities are vaccinating or preparing to vaccinate staff and others.

The guidance covers responsibilities of vaccinators, time lines for use of vaccine, who to vaccinate, prohibitions on use of vaccine, transport, tracking staff vaccinations, vaccinating other priority populations outside of facilities and planning for the second dose.

Most importantly, as HCP has been incessantly advocating, the DOH guidance now explicitly lists home care workers including those in the consumer directed programs and hospice workers to the eligible priority group for Week 5, which will commence Monday, January 11.

The location at which vaccinations for home care will take place is to be determined. HCP continues its advocacy to ensure this information is made available soon.

An overview of the guidance pertinent to home care follows, below.

BEGIN YOUR AGENCIES VACCINATION PLANNING NOW!

In addition to the article immediately below regarding planning for vaccination in your agency, the guidance details steps to take related to vaccinations. The steps listed below, while not fully applicable in a home care setting, are instructive for appropriate provider vaccination planning. See related article below.

  • Identify and prioritize your staff based on their risk
  • Stagger vaccinations based on scheduling needs
  • Plan immediately for the second COVID-19 dose
  • Ensure that your staff has a Vaccine Form
  • Ensure that your staff has Proof of Occupation
  • Keep proof of staff vaccination, as DOH may request it
  • Communicate your plan with Staff

Vaccine Attestation Form

All individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccination must fill out the DOH COVID-19 Vaccine form pursuant to Executive Order 202.86 and attest that they are eligible to be vaccinated.

The DOH vaccine form includes a self-attestation regarding eligibility for vaccination, which must be completed prior to vaccination. Vaccination eligibility must be based on current employment status.

Proof of Occupation

Individuals being vaccinated must bring proof of eligibility to the vaccination site. This could include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status. HCP has developed a template letter for this purpose, available here.

DOH advises not to vaccinate any person who does not have proof of their occupation or priority status. Executive Order 202.86 imposes monetary penalties for any provider vaccinating an individual who has not certified eligibility or for who the provider otherwise has knowledge the individual is not a member of a priority group.

DOH has stated that 1) facilities are required to track vaccine uptake among their staff and must be prepared to provide this data to DOH upon request, and 2) all individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccination must fill out the DOH COVID-19 vaccine screening form pursuant to Executive Order 202.86 and attest that they are eligible to be vaccinated. HCP has learned that the vaccine screening form is being updated and will be posted soon on DOH’s webpage with vaccine information for providers.

Communicating the Plan

Please be sure to clearly communicate how prioritization will work to all staff and provide updates. Identify the individuals who meet the prioritization criteria and communicate to them your plan for coordinating access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This guidance is in effect from the date of issuance until it is updated, or additional guidance is issued by DOH. For questions, please contact the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Immunization at COVID19vaccine@health.ny.gov.

Think Ahead! BE PREPARED for Home Care Worker Vaccination

HCP recently shared the following information in its weekly newsletter, the Insider, to help providers prepare for vaccinating its workforce.

BE PREPARED!

In order to begin preparing your workforce for vaccination without delay, we offer the following planning tips for prioritizing staff members within your agency. This stratification is a required element of a successful immunization program due to limited vaccine supplies, administration logistics, and workforce balance considerations. As HCP learns of the State’s plans, we will update these tips and provide further details to assist you. You are urged to begin Step 1 as soon as possible.

STEP 1:
* Develop a list of all workers in your organization
* Rank the workers by COVID exposure risk. Elements to consider include the following: Exposure to COVID-19 patients; Exposure to patients receiving aerosolized therapies in the home (e.g., nebulizer treatments); Exposure to high-risk patients (e.g., elderly patients, diabetics, cardiac care patients); Extensive public transportation use

STEP 2:
* Score workers based on known risk factors
* Workers with higher risks should be vaccinated first

STEP 3: (more details on this step will depend on vaccination logistics)
* Divide the list into 3 relatively equal groups based on score (e.g., 1/3 high risk, 1/3 medium risk, 1/3 low risk)
* If possible, do not place all workers serving a single patient into the same group. This is a workforce balance consideration, as a minority of vaccine recipients may need a day or so away from work post-vaccination due to side effects.

Continue to monitor your weekly HCP Insider and News Alerts for guidance and vaccination news. The COVID-19 immunization situation is very fluid, and HCP is advocating constantly on behalf of our members and home care workers to get both vaccinations and information to you as soon as possible. Contact kerwin@nyshcp.org or deyoe@nyshcp.org for comments or questions.

HCP Launches Take 5 to Fight COVID Video Series

HCP launched a series of short webinars to educate our members and their staff about the COVID-19 vaccine. “Take 5 to Fight COVID” will be released in segments over the next several weeks. The introductory segment is available now for viewing and sharing. Viewers will need to enter their name and email address. We hope for wide distribution of this important series. Please share with your staff, colleagues, vendors, and on social media.

Clinical topics such as vaccine development and safety, efficacy and side effects, as well as access and monitoring will be outlined by HCP’s Associate for Public Policy, Carole Deyoe. Carole is a NYS registered pharmacist and certified immunizer with over 20 years of experience in patient care and education.

The video series will lay the groundwork for our members to help reduce vaccine hesitancy and maximize workforce protection from COVID-19 when our opportunity to be immunized is presented by the state.

In addition, HCP has posted New York State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit on our COVID-19 Vaccine Resource webpage which shares key messaging, sample social media posts, sample emails, and frequently asked questions.

Meanwhile, WASH your hands, WEAR your mask, and WATCH your distance. We’re in this together, and immunizations will ADD to our current efforts, not replace them.

Contact HCP Pubic Policy Associate Carole Deyoe deyoe@nyshcp.org or Vice President Kevin Kerwin kerwin@nyshcp.org with questions or comments.

HCP to Hold Webinar to Address Vaccination Roll-Out Questions

Later this week, HCP will be holding a webinar for members to address frequently asked questions regarding the vaccine roll-out for home care and discuss concerns members are facing as they plan for vaccinating their staff.

Additional information will be shared soon.

This webinar will be recorded and made available to HCP members and non-members in the future.