State Posts Vaccine Inventory by Hospital
On Feb. 15, the state published the amount of vaccine reported on hand for each vaccine provider (under “Toggle Views,” select drop down for “Provider Detail”). Multi-county entities are reported in aggregate, instead of by each hospital campus. The posted data are reported daily by each provider into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) VaccineFinder database. These data reflect vaccine on hand and do not account for scheduled appointments. Vaccines available may likely be reserved for appointments already planned for the week. For hospitals and health systems that may need to respond to questions about the many reasons that providers may have vaccines on hand, CHA has prepared these key messages.
State Issues Vaccine Third-Party Administrator Contract
On Feb. 15, the state issued its contract with Blue Shield of California to be the third-party administrator for vaccine distribution in California, charged with creating, managing, and overseeing the statewide network of vaccine providers. For a summary of the contract’s details, see this overview released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Latest Changes in Vaccine Allocation Guidelines
On Feb. 12, CDPH again updated its COVID-19 vaccine allocation guidelines. This latest guidance announces that, beginning March 15, health care providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the “severe health conditions” specified in the department’s provider bulletin. These specified severe health conditions include cancer (current with debilitated or immunocompromised state); chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or above); chronic pulmonary disease (oxygen dependent); Down syndrome; immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension); severe obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2); Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%; or if, as a result of a developmental or other severe high-risk disability, one or more of conditions specified in the bulletin applies.
This latest guidance also clarifies that family member caregivers with direct risk of COVID-19 exposure who care for regional center consumers at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as health care providers. The regional center consumers at such high risk include those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and those with specialized health care needs, including dependence on ventilators, oxygen, and other technology. Eligible family members must obtain documentation from their regional centers verifying the qualifying condition of the family member cared for and caregiver status.
CHA Posts Step-by-Step Guide for Requesting Resources
CHA has prepared a guide to requesting resources from the state and through Medical Health Operational Area Coordinators, including a chart that illustrates the flow of information and resources.
CDC Updates Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccinated Individuals
On Feb. 10, the CDC updated its quarantine guidance for vaccinated individuals. The new guidance suggests that persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet certain criteria.
CHA Webinar Explains Updated Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements
On Jan. 15, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated its Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting requirements to reflect changes required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. In addition to calculating lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 based on the difference between 2019 and 2020 actual patient care revenue, PRF recipients may now choose from two other methodologies.
CHA will host a complimentary, members-only webinar on Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m. (PT) to discuss these updated reporting requirements, how the changes will impact hospitals, and how to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Considerations for Administrative Meetings
Some hospitals have asked CHA whether they can hold in-person administrative meetings. To determine the guidelines for your local health jurisdiction:
- Determine in which county you would hold the meeting. Visit Blueprint for a Safer Economy – Coronavirus COVID-19 Response to figure out that county’s color tier.
- Then check this chart to see what is allowed in that color tier.
- Finally, check the local health department’s website to see if there’s a more restrictive local health jurisdiction order.
CHA Continues Advocacy on Amount of PPE Required by Hospital Stockpile Law
A new California law requires hospitals to maintain a stockpile equivalent to three months of normal consumption for specified personal protective equipment (PPE) as of April 1. Based on the plain language of the statute and legislative history, CHA has advocated that the stockpile amount should be based on 2019 data. Unfortunately, at this point, Cal/OSHA has not agreed to that plain language reading and instead believes emergency rulemaking is necessary to define normal consumption.
As part of the pre-rulemaking discussions, Cal/OSHA has shared its concept that “normal consumption” for the purposes of determining the amount of the PPE stockpile is a rolling number based on the previous 24 months of PPE consumption. CHA strongly disagrees with this concept and has submitted written comments further explaining why the stockpile amount should be based on 2019 PPE consumption. Cal/OSHA has scheduled an Advisory Committee meeting for Feb. 19 to solicit stakeholder input on this issue. Hospitals should monitor developments and encourage any stakeholders that may be interested in this issue to participate in the Advisory Committee meeting and/or submit written comments to Cal/OSHA before the Feb. 19 meeting.
Next CDPH Office Hours: Feb. 19
CDPH will hold a COVID-19 Vaccination Office Hours call for hospitals on Feb. 19 from 9 to 10 a.m. (PT). To participate, visit this link.
Next CDPH Call for Health Care Facilities: Feb. 23, 8-9 a.m. (PT)
Dial: (844) 721-7239
Summary of Feb. 9 CDPH Call
CDPH has provided a summary of its recent weekly call with health care facilities.
Recent Media Coverage on Vaccines
Below are some recent news stories about the state’s third-party administrator and vaccination efforts:
- Los Angeles Times: Data problems hurt California’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts
- The Mercury News: COVID-19: Blue Shield aims to speed up California vaccine rollout
- Fresno Bee: California will pay up to $15M to distribute vaccines under new contract with Blue Shield
- Los Angeles Daily News: Details emerge on California’s coronavirus vaccine contract with Blue Shield
- San Francisco Chronicle: California aims to more than double vaccination rate in new partnership with Blue Shield
Surge-Related Data Resources