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8/31/21: On August 27, 2021, Governor Pete Ricketts issued an Executive Order and new Directed Health Measures for Nebraska.  Full text of EO 21-12 is available by clicking here.  The newly issued DHM is available by clicking here. This Executive Order DOES apply to nursing home and LTC facilities. Dan Taylor at DHHS has offered to be on a zoom webinar this Thursday, September 2 at 4:00pm CT to discuss the changes in the effective dates for "temporary" nurse aides and medication aides with our members.  He is receiving questions, as are we, so we thought it would be beneficial to offer time when he could respond to member questions all at once. Join us in conjunction with NHCA for this valuable information to review the new Executive Order.

8/31/21: Nebraska COVID-19 Dashboard for Nursing Homes by County: The number of Covid-19 cases in Nebraska Nursing Homes has increased this week. There are currently 98 facilities across the state currently experiencing an outbreak. Dr. Ashraf reports 161 staff and 102 residents testing positive this week. There are 15 facilities across Nebraska with 3 or more residents in an active COVID-19 status.  The number of counties in the "red" zone has increased again to 4 and the "yellow" zone has also increased to 33 from 31 the previous week. A full list of all counties in the United States can be found at  https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data. Data for the Nebraska counties has been summarized below.

National Data:

National Percent of Vaccinated Residents per Facility:  83.1%

National Percent of Vaccinated Staff per Facility:  61.1%

By the numbers

  • 671,237 Total Resident COVID-19 Confirmed Cases
  • 134,071 Total Resident COVID-19 Deaths
  • 608,666 Total Staff COVID-19 Confirmed Cases
  • 1,980 Total Staff COVID-19 Deaths

Nebraska Data: The State of Nebraska COVID-19 Dashboard is no longer available as of June 30, 2021. Updates regarding coronavirus will be provided every Wednesday on the COVID-19 Weekly Data Update page. It should be noted that numbers for testing in this data set are significantly skewed due to the return of University students and the significant testing that occurred throughout Nebraska with that population. Dr. Ashraf reported today that there were 161 staff and 102 residents of LTC facilities testing positive this week. There are 98 facilities across Nebraska with an active outbreak and 15 facilities with 3 or more residents testing positive at this time. The availability of testing sites for the general community has become a problem across Nebraska counties, making it difficult to provide early detection among communities before entering facilities, which is generally increasing the spread in the facility settings.

8/31/21: Vaccine Updates:

Additional 3rd Dose for Immunocompromised: Who is moderately to severely immunocompromised?  Following CDC's recommendation on August 13 that individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, we have received questions about who falls into this category. In making this determination, healthcare and vaccine providers may find it useful to refer to  this guidance from CDC. In addition to detailing exactly who CDC considers moderately to severely immunocompromised, the resource also provides tips on discussing additional doses with eligible patients. Facilities should be working with physicians to receive vaccines for those meeting the CDC criteria.

Booster Shots: Now is the time to assure facilities have a pharmacy partnership to complete booster shots starting in September. If your facility is having difficulty locating a pharmacy partnership, reach out to LeadingAge Nebraska at info@leadingagene.org for assistance.

Co-administration of vaccines: We've received a number of questions recently about co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines as providers prepare for COVID-19 boosters, flu shots, and other injection scenarios. The CDC recently updated guidance on co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines. This information is available here and states that the COVID-19 vaccine can now be administered at the same time as other vaccines, including flu vaccines. There is no need to delay the previously-recommended 14 days before and after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC notes, however, that when simultaneously administering vaccines on the same day, vaccine injection sites should be at least one inch apart and providers may wish to consider administering vaccines in different limbs.

We note that the guidance on co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine with TB tests (tuberculin skin test or an interferon release assay) has not changed. TB tests may be administered prior to or at the same time as COVID-19 vaccination; however, if COVID-19 vaccination has already taken place, TB testing should be delayed until 4 or more weeks after completion of COVID-19 vaccination. This information is available here.

8/31/21: Action Alert: Vaccine Mandate. We have posted our action alert (https://mobilize4change.org/Ca7S9hM) for members to send to Congress asking for support for LeadingAge's position that all health care providers should be included in the Administration's expected vaccine mandate for nursing home staff. We have a letter drafted for members to give out if they get a response and talking points for meetings that we will share as needed. This is obviously a long-shot, but it is important to raise with Congress as the crisis continues. Marsha (MGreenfield@LeadingAge.org) is covering this issue and will be happy to work with you or members to get (virtual) meetings, respond to office questions, etc.

8/31/21: COVID-19 Assistance for Rural Health Providers: Rural Development/USDA is providing up to $500 million in grant funding for eligible applicants and eligible facilities to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, health care services, telehealth services, food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities, and collaborative, evidence-based support for the long-term sustainability of rural health care. If you are interested in seeking one of these grant opportunities, you are encouraged to reach out to your local Rural Development office as soon as possible to make them aware of your intent, Offices in Nebraska can be found at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/contactpage/nebraska-contacts

USDA will make this $500 million in grant funding available to be distributed between two tracks of funding to eligible applicants: 

  •  Track One: Recovery Grants Provides immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. Grant funds must be used in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support immediate health care needs, to help prepare for a future pandemic event, or to increase access to quality health care services and improve community health outcomes. Grant awards range from $25,000 - $1 million.
  •  Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health care. Long-term sustainability is defined as "improved health outcomes, improved access to quality health care, and creating and maintaining sustainable economic development for small communities." Grant funds must be used in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards range from $5 million - $10 million.

To learn more about the Community Facilities emergency pilot program and the American Rescue Plan, visit their website.

8/31/21: COVID Update Calls - how to handle breakthrough COVID cases. And, do any of us really need boosters?  All update calls are at 3:30 PM, ET. Next week, our Coronavirus calls will focus on breakthrough COVID-19 cases and expert analysis of the Delta Variant, as well as other hot topics like booster shots and what the return to schools for children means for families. On Monday, August 30, we will welcome fellow LeadingAge member Barbara Thomas, CEO of Kendal at Oberlin who will talk about her recent experience with breakthrough COVID-19 cases and the lessons learned from the experience. On Wednesday, September 1, Dr. Monica Gandhi, a perennial favorite speaker on our update calls, will outline her thinking and rationale about whether boosters are needed and provide candid advice on what is happening with COVID-19. If you haven't registered for the calls on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:30pm ET, you can do so here.

8/31/21: Nursing Home Advisory Group call summary: Thanks again to all who participated in the monthly Nursing Home Advisory Group call this past Tuesday. It was another great call with close to 150 participants. Read a summary of the call here. The call took place one week earlier than usual this month due to next week's Survey Readiness webinar scheduled for Tuesday, August 31 at 2pm ET. Register for that webinar here. Next month's Nursing Home Advisory Group call will take place on Tuesday, September 28 and will be a special edition Town Hall Conversation. If you would like to be added to the email list for the monthly call, please email Jodi Eyigor jeyigor@leadingage.org.

8/31/21: Senators Implore HHS to Release the remaining Provider Relief Funds: 43 Senators, including the chair of Senate Finance Committee and chair of SFC Health Subcommittee sent a bipartisan letter to HHS Secretary Becerra Aug. 26 saying, "As the health care provider community continues to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, this funding should be released without any further delay."  They said they wanted an immediate update on how the remaining funds would be distributed.  LeadingAge helped encourage Senators to sign on to this letter led by Sens. Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen. Regrettably, this is at least the 3rd or 4th letter from members of Congress directed at HHS regarding the need for the remaining PRF to get into the hands of providers who are still battling the COVID-19 virus and suffering financial losses and additional expenses because of those efforts. Let's hope this finally gets them to act.  

On a related note, it has been reported that HHS has hired outside firms to audit the PRF reports that will be coming in (first PRF report is due Sept. 30) explaining how providers used the PRF funds. This process appears similar to how HHS approached the Phase 3 applications where some of them went through a more detailed financial review. This action was likely also taken to respond to pressure from Congress and other governmental oversight agencies for HHS to account for how these dollars were used following much criticism about how the first few rounds of funds were distributed early in the pandemic.  

8/31/21: White House Updates COVID-19 Data. LeadingAge participated in a call with the White House Office of Public Engagement, led by the director, former Representative Cedric Richmond and Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, Data Director (with a very long, impressive, resume!), providing an update on COVID-19 and vaccines, and discussing sources of data available on the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker.  Rep. Richmond said, "COVID is within our control", focusing his presentation on vaccination rates, the importance of education, and his experience talking to vaccine-hesitant people in his home state, Louisiana.  He emphasized the following - the difference in hospitalization and death between vaccinated and unvaccinated; that the research behind the vaccines is actually a decade long, not something new;  and that the final FDA approval should alleviate doubts about safety.  And, of course, that everyone should be responsible. He noted that they expect the regulation on boosters to drop on Sept. 20, approving the booster 8 months after the second shot (except for immunocompromised persons). Dr. Shahpar focused on the valuable state, county and local data available on the  CDC COVID data tracker website, although with the caveat that some states don't report county-level data. Other datasets highlighted included a site on health equity (using the Social Vulnerability Index); vaccine confidence; a weekly state profile report site .  Of course we will continue to keep you updated on the latest federal updates but thought you would find this drill-down useful.

8/31/21: This Week's Drive for 75. For our sixtieth segment (can you believe it's been that many?), we featured a mash-up of articles on individual experiences with vaccine hesitancy, and pondered how convincing a vaccine hesitant person to get the vaccine can be like getting a cat out of a ceiling. Our sixty-first segment reviewed an article that called delta variant the "Goldilocks Virus" and explained how we ended up where we are with delta. You can read the full transcripts here.

8/24/21: Letter to the Administration on the CMS nursing home vaccine mandate announcement.  Katie Sloan sent a letter to Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, outlining LeadingAge member concerns, saying all Medicare and Medicaid provider staff should be mandated to be vaccinated in all settings, and pointing out that mandating vaccines only for nursing home providers will cause workforce shortages in LTC to grow even worse.

LeadingAge requests in the letter are:

  • Level the field across all of health care to keep everyone protected. The vaccine mandate as a condition of employment should apply to all health care providers that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. 
  • Address workforce shortages. Vaccine mandates must be coupled with direct assistance to providers, enabling them to maintain staff to keep serving and caring for residents.  
  • Allocate Provider Relief Funds. The remaining PRF must get to long-term care providers as quickly as possible to help ensure they can continue to serve older adults.
  • Step up vaccine education. Please increase vaccine acceptance education and resources in aging services settings.

Here are some talking points state partners and members can use with members of Congress.  Several of you have told us that you and/or members are already reaching out to Senators and Representatives.  If you organize members or you hear from them they are contacting members of Congress, these talking points can be helpful and offer a consistent LeadingAge message.  We are putting together an action alert with the same request - that members of Congress send a letter to the Administration saying that vaccine mandates should apply to all Medicare and Medicaid providers; requiring them of nursing homes only will not protect nursing home residents and will further exacerbate workforce shortages if nursing home staff jump to other settings. 

8/24/21: Nebraska COVID-19 Dashboard for Nursing Homes by County: The number of Covid-19 cases in Nebraska continues to rise, however the county positivity metrics for nursing homes across the state have remained stable since the last reporting period. There are currently 85 facilities across the state currently experiencing an outbreak. A full list of all counties in the United States can be found at https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data. Data for the Nebraska counties has been summarized below.

8/24/21: National Data:

National Percent of Vaccinated Residents per Facility:  82.8%

National Percent of Vaccinated Staff per Facility:  60.5%

By the numbers

  • 667,659 Total Resident COVID-19 Confirmed Cases
  • 133,736 Total Resident COVID-19 Deaths
  • 602,330 Total Staff COVID-19 Confirmed Cases
  • 2,004 Total Staff COVID-19 Deaths

8/24/21: Nebraska numbers statewide were last updated on: August 18, 2021 Nebraska numbers continue to rise for the 9th straight week. This is the highest sustained level since February with counts topping the original surge in spring 2020.

For up-to-date information https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Weekly-Update.aspx

As the crisis continues in Nebraska, UNMC reminds us all of the Health Care Crisis Protocol Published by Nebraska Medical Emergency Operations Center adopted May 2021 can be found at NE-Crisis-Protocol.pdf (unmc.edu) . This has already been implemented in many parts of the state in some fashion to assist in providing resources to all health care facilities across the state.

8/24/21: CMS Updates Medicare COVID-19 Snapshot: Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. The updated data show over 4.5 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and over 1.2 million COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

The updated snapshot covers the period from January 1, 2020 to June 19, 2021. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by July 16, 2021. To view the updated snapshot visit: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/preliminary-medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot

8/24/21: Vaccine Updates: The Pfizer vaccine has now received approval from the FDA: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/08/23/1030251410/pfizer-covid-vaccine-fda-approval

8/24/21: COVID-19 vaccination in nursing homes. As we reported Wednesday, CMS has announced plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for staff working in nursing homes. This announcement was a directive from the Biden Administration and we expect to see the interim final rule in September. There is still so much we don't know about this pending requirement. CMS put out a press release and shared the White House fact sheet, but is otherwise unable to discuss the details due to the rulemaking process. Here are some of the pressing questions for which we do not yet have answers:

  • When will the rule come out? When will it be effective?
  • By what date must nursing home staff be fully vaccinated?
  • Who will be considered "staff" for purposes of this rule?
  • Will there be any exemptions from this rule, such as medical exemptions or religious exemptions?
  • How should nursing homes handle staff who decline vaccination, including those who decline for medical or religious reasons?
  • What will happen to nursing homes that employ unvaccinated staff?

8/24/21: Delta Variant is the predominant strain effecting the US: As our understanding of the Delta variant evolves, ASTHO updated its side-by-side comparison of the three COVID-19 vaccines with the latest information on vaccine efficacy, booster shots, and safety considerations. Moderna-Pfizer-JJ-Comparison.pdf

8/24/21: Vaccine Mandates by States. Who Is, and Who Isn't, and How? LeadingAge has started to track the vaccine mandate trends in each state; to date, we find that 23 states have vaccine mandates; 7 states (so far) have vaccine mandate bans. Fourteen of the states with mandates have language specific to healthcare settings or long-term care. Some states' mandates are strictly 'vaccinate or terminate;' others have a 'vaccinate or weekly testing' dichotomy. The tracking spreadsheet will be updated daily; you can read today's summary here:  Vaccine Mandates by State: Who is, who isn't, and How?

Are you discussing vaccines with staff? As cases rise and the requirement for nursing home staff to vaccinate will soon be coming out from CMS, now is the time to take a pulse of where your team is with the vaccination process and the potential impacts it will have on your staffing. When talking to your staff, we recommend to use a genuine, listening approach. It is expected that staff that are unvaccinated at this time have specific reasons that they are choosing not to be vaccinated. It is likely that they will have an emotional response to the fear of a mandate from CMS. It is important not to respond in a negative way to their feelings. The following is recommended when talking to staff:

  1. Take an assessment - what is your current # of unvaccinated staff. Identify who they are and have a genuine, open conversation with each of them on an individual basis
  2. Individual Conversations - now is the time for empathy and active listening, not the time to present information or try to convince them of how to move forward
  3. Get to know the WHY - medical condition, religion, personal preference, misinformation are all reasons that people have not received the vaccine. Knowing this reasoning from each person will assist your facility to determine your path forward to address issues on an individual basis.
  4. Will they want to seek an exemption? While we don't know specifics about the federal mandate, we can presume we will need a process to address exemptions. Find out what information they believe will qualify them for an exemption. From there, the facility can determine how exemptions will be evaluated, what will be granted exemption, and can provide employees additional time to prepare the potential documentation they will need for an exemption.
  5. Determine your agency standards - While the standards of exemptions have not been announced, facilities should discuss examples of medial and religious exemptions for best practice and determine the process they would like to use for exemptions.

8/24/21: State health plan advisory for add on reimbursement for in home covid 19 vaccine administration: This health plan advisory is being issued to notify the Heritage Health plans of upcoming changes to reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccination administration. This change applies to claims paid directly by the program via fee for service and to claims paid by the Heritage Health plans in managed care. https://dhhs.ne.gov/Medicaid%20Health%20Plan%20Advisories/Health%20Plan%20Advisory%2021-05.pdf

8/24/21: From CDC:  Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 vaccine boosters - HHS announced a plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots this fall. CDC's independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will continue to meet and discuss data on the evolution of the pandemic and the use of COVID-19 vaccines. ACIP will make further recommendations on the use of boosters for the public after a thorough review of the evidence. Below are answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

  • Q: When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
  • A: Not immediately. The goal is for people to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning in the fall, with individuals being eligible starting 8 months after they have received their second dose of mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). This is subject to FDA approval and CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) authorization and recommendation.
  • Q:  Who will be the first people to get a booster dose? 
  • A: Once FDA approves and ACIP recommends a booster dose, the goal is for the first people eligible to be those who were the first to receive their shots in the earlier phases of the vaccine rollout and those who are most at risk. This includes healthcare providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. 
  • Q: Why are we waiting to start offering COVID-19 vaccine boosters?
  • A: The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, COVID-19 constantly evolves. We're looking at all available data to understand as much as we can about how well the vaccines are working, including how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness. Once FDA approves and ACIP recommends, the goal is for people to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot this fall.
  • Q: Will people who received Johnson & Johnson's (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine need a booster shot?
  • A: It is likely that people who received a J&J COVID-19 vaccine will need a booster dose. Because the J&J vaccine wasn't given in the United States until 70 days after the first mRNA vaccine doses (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), the data needed to make this decision isn't available yet. We expect more data to come in the next few weeks. With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well. 
  • Q: Can people who received Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine get a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine?
  • A: There's not enough data currently to support getting an mRNA vaccine booster dose (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) if someone has gotten a J&J vaccine. People who took the J&J vaccine will likely need a booster dose, and more data is expected in the next few weeks. With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well. 
  • Q: If we need a booster, does that mean that the vaccine is not working?
  • A: No. The COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.  However, with the Delta variant, we are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. For that reason, we are planning for a booster shot to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability. 
  • Q: What's the difference between a booster shot and an additional dose?
  • A: An "additional dose" refers to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receiving an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). This is because they may not have received adequate protection from their initial 2-dose vaccine series. 

A "booster dose" is a supplemental vaccine dose given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series was adequate but is likely to have decreased over time.

8/24/21: Additional Updates: More mandate discussion and talk about maintaining staff morale on Wednesday's LeadingAge Update Call.  Making the vaccine a condition of employment is on the top of minds for LeadingAge members. On Wednesday, August 25 at 3:30, we will provide some strategies that members have used to prepare for a mandate and how to handle considerations like exemptions and policies. Staff morale is more important these days for LeadingAge members.  Join us to hear from Christy Zeitz from member Fellowship Square communities who will share how her staff is working to bolster morale amid trying times.  Join us to also hear the latest policy developments and to hear about LeadingAge's targeted advocacy work.  If you haven't registered for the calls, you can do so here.

8/17/21: Last Chance for the LeadingAge Member Snap Survey: Vaccine Mandates: As vaccine mandates continue to roll out across industries, LeadingAge is taking a quick pulse-check to gather information on vaccine mandates among members. Please take a moment to  complete the survey by Tuesday, Aug. 17.

8/17/21: Nebraska COVID-19 Dashboard: The number of Covid-19 cases in Nebraska continues to rise, however the number of counties in the RED positivity rates has decreased by one in this reporting period, for a total of three. A full list of all counties in the United States can be found at https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data. Data for the Nebraska counties has been summarized below.

How do you stack up?

8/17/21: Vaccine rates becoming widely publicized: AARP Vaccination Dashboard: AARP released its updated Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. The Dashboard uses publicly available NHSN data to provide snapshots every four weeks. Yesterday's update shows cases of COVID-19 continue to rise among nursing home residents and staff, by 50% and 60% respectively in the middle of July compared to the week before.

8/17/21: Are You Considering a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy? If so, you are not alone. Many long-term care facilities are considering mandatory vaccinations as a means to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among staff and residents. Below are some helpful resources for members considering a mandatory vaccination policy that have been gathered in the LeadingAge community. These resources are being shared with permission by the authoring community and are intended purely as a member resource. LeadingAge claims no authorship and has not reviewed the content for legal enforcement or compliance purposes.

8/17/21: New materials from CDC for SNF and assisted living providers.  This morning CDC shared the attached materials that SNF and assisted living providers can use to support and encourage staff to be vaccinated.  The new materials include posters, social media posts, and other items.  In addition, CDC compiled this list of links of existing web resources for nursing home and, in some instances, other providers:

8/17/21: Third Doses for Moderately and Severely Immunocompromised People. On August 13, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to recommend an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and older and of the Moderna vaccine for those 18 and older following a primary series in immunocompromised people. The ACIP took the vote after reaching the conclusion that the desirable consequences of the third dose for this population "clearly outweigh undesirable consequences in most settings." The ACIP recommendations allow self-attesting moderately and severely immunocompromised people to receive a third dose. People will not need a prescription or a doctor's signature to receive a third dose. As for the rollout of this decision, CDC staff said they have been working with pharmacies to be prepared should the Committee vote positively today and the CDC is hoping these third doses can be rapidly implemented. An article about the ACIP's decision is here.

8/17/21: Third Doses / Changes to Weekly NHSN COVID-19 Vaccination Data Collection Forms. Following the August 13 ACIP recommendation for additional vaccine series for moderately and severely immunocompromised people, the CDC has announced new questions on vaccine doses will be added to the data collection forms. The main changes are: Question #2 remains the same, except it asks about the primary vaccination series; Added question #4 for facilities to report on the cumulative number of individuals eligible to receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Added question #5 for facilities to report on the cumulative number of individuals who received an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine (by manufacturer type). The CDC will be conducting training webinars in late August.

8/17/21: Payment for COVID-19 Vaccine Additional Dose: Medicare stands ready to pay for administering an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine consistent with the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA). They will pay the same amount to administer this additional dose as they did for other doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (approximately $40 each). More information in the coming days about billing and coding.

For more information:

8/17/21: This Week's Drive for 75: This week, we explored the vaccine passports 'coming soon' to New York City, France and Italy, and got to role play a hesitancy conversation using the HEAR technique. Read all about it here.

8/17/21: White House Webinar on Long COVID: The White House webinar "Briefing on Guidance for Those Experiencing Symptoms of Long COVID" is now available for viewing. The webinar reviewed guidance from the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education on when long COVID can be a disability under various civil rights laws, and how those laws protect people with COVID-19-related disabilities. View "Briefing on Guidance for Those Experiencing Symptoms of Long COVID"

8/10/21: COVID-19 UPDATE: The number of Covid-19 cases in Nebraska continues to rise; however, the number of counties in the RED positivity rates is holding steady at a total of four for this reporting period. A full list of all counties in the United States can be found at https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data Data for the Nebraska counties has been summarized below.

While testing, prevention and reporting measures remain the same, the surge has caused an increase in some facilities implementing facility based additional measures for prevention for high risk situations. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Testing vaccinated or unvaccinated staff on an increased basis
  • Increased use of masks both in and out of the facility for visits and high risk situations
  • Increased use of eye protection within the facility
  • Evaluating the use of prophylactic medications for high risk exposures

Additional resources on COVID-19 vaccine information and Resources can be found on the LeadingAge website at COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Resources | LeadingAge.