- COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
To assist members with talking to their community about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, Mass Senior Care has updated the FAQs for Nursing Facility Staff, Residents, and Family Members. Dr. Larissa Lucas shares her response for the question: Should pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine? As additional information becomes available, Mass Senior Care will be providing updates to these important resources.
- Post Open Positions on the State’s COVID-19 Staffing Portal 3.0
To assist long term care facilities with recruiting workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth has re-launched the COVID-19 Long-Term Care Staffing Portal 3.0. Currently, the Portal has a surplus of candidates for the following positions: CNA, Resident Care Assistants (RCAs), OT, PT, LICSW, and Activities Coordinators. In this latest version of the Portal, you will find new enhanced features for facilities including viewing candidate matches directly on the Portal and the ability to update the hiring status of each candidate. For a brief video tutorial on how to use the Portal, please click here.
- REMINDER: COVID-19 Vaccination Criteria
Mass Senior Care would like to remind nursing facilities that the COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to all long-term care staff. The definition of long-term care staff includes: employees, consultants, contractors (including hospice staff), volunteers, caregivers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility (i.e. staff from temporary staffing agencies), and students in the facility’s nurse aide training programs or from affiliated academic institutions. In addition, nursing facilities must follow the protocols related to vaccine administration and only vaccinate residents and staff (as defined above). Family members of residents and staff are not to be included in a nursing facility vaccine clinic.
- CMS Releases Revised Criteria for Conducting Focused Infection Control Surveys and Survey FAQs
CMS has released updated guidance on the frequency of focused infection control (FIC) surveys as well as providing frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding health, emergency preparedness (EP), and life safety code (LSC) surveys. Updated FIC Guidance - CMS will continue to require state agencies to conduct onsite FIC surveys within three to five days of identification of a facility with three or more new confirmed COVID-19 cases or one confirmed case in a facility that was previously COVID-free. However, CMS is updating this guidance to require states to also consider additional factors to determine whether to conduct a FIC, such as multiple weeks with new COVID cases, low staffing levels, and allegations or complaints related to concerns of abuse or quality of care such weight loss and decline in functioning. CMS adds that during FIC surveys, surveyors should investigate concerns related to residents that have had a significant decline in condition such as weight loss or mobility. Providers should continue to proactively monitor any of these quality of care concerns including quality measure indicators and document their efforts through their quality improvement processes. In addition, CMS is limiting the frequency of FIC surveys, stating that facilities that have had a FIC in the past three weeks—whether a standalone FIC survey or as part of a recertification survey—do not need to be re-surveyed if they meet the criteria to be surveyed again within a three-week period. However, a facility could be re-surveyed in the fourth week or thereafter.
- Update to Comprehensive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance
The Department of Public Health (DPH) released updated Comprehensive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidance to clarify information regarding PPE that health care personnel (HCP) use in clinical care areas.
Health care organizations and providers that require additional PPE in order to meet the use standards described in this guidance and are not able to obtain through their usual supply chain resources may request one-time support from DPH as a bridge until health care organizations increase their ordering and receipt of gowns and N95 respirators. Providers can download the PPE request form PPE Request Form and submit it via email to Covid19.email@example.com.