As the new COVID-19 vaccine is being released, long term care facilities need to be aware of the CMS and DPH regulatory requirement to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to staff and residents. The CMS requirement was originally referenced in QSO-21-19-ALL and made permanent through the COVID-19 Vaccination Final Rule, effective on August 5, 2023. The DPH requirement can be found in the most current 105 CMR 150.000 Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities amended and finalized on September 30, 2023. Facilities must educate, offer, and document the consent and/or declination of COVID-19 vaccines for both residents and staff.
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. Per DPH, if the vaccine is unavailable, a facility shall not be required to provide or arrange for COVID-19 vaccination during such times the vaccine is unavailable for purchase, shipment, distribution, or administration by a third-party or when complying with an order of the Commissioner restricting the use of the vaccine. A facility shall obtain and administer COVID-19 vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
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 to residents and staff.