Update on CDPH COVID-19-Related Waivers
Hospitals report that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to process requests for additional staff and will maintain staffing waivers until those staff arrive. As a reminder, all existing approved COVID-19 staffing-related waivers ended at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 8 (per All Facilities Letter (AFL) 20-26.6) unless CDPH explicitly extended a waiver in the last week following conversations with the hospital. CHA has asked CDPH to process all remaining requests as soon as possible. CDPH has advised that hospitals still waiting for staff and/or needed waivers to be maintained should contact the Centralized Program Flexibility Unit at [email protected].
Hospitals should be aware that CDPH plans to revoke a staffing waiver effective 48 hours after when 90-95% of the requested staff are scheduled to arrive, because it expects hospitals to utilize its float pool for the other 5-10%. Hospitals should bear this timing with their staffing waiver in mind when planning for the arrival of these additional staff.
Hospitals are reminded that the state may subsidize staffing provided through its contracted staffing agencies (see AFL 21-07). CHA understands these subsidies are being made available to hospitals with fewer than 200 licensed beds that are not a part of a large health system. Each hospital will negotiate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CDPH, and that MOU will indicate the specific level of support CDPH will provide.
CDPH has rescinded AFL 21-09, which provided certain administrative and documentation flexibilities in the counties affected by the State Public Health Officer Order on Hospital Surge because the order has now been lifted. As a reminder, that order required hospitals to notify various government entities when transitioning to crisis care standards, postpone certain elective surgeries, and make/accept certain patient transfers. All hospitals continue to be able to utilize the flexibilities in AFL 20-26.6, related to the use of space and processes for the discharge of homeless patients, among others.
State Revises Guidance on Vaccination Allocation
On Feb. 4, CDPH updated its COVID-19 vaccine allocation guidelines. While this guidance reaffirms that individuals in Phase 1A (health care workers and long-term care residents) and Phase 1B, Tier One (individuals 65 and older and those working in the sectors of education and childcare, emergency services, or food and agriculture) currently are or will be eligible for the vaccines, it clarifies what individuals fall within these categories.
For example, the guidance specifies that workers in the state’s health care workforce who are not considered eligible for Phase 1A vaccinations include those who manage health plans, billing, and health information (as opposed to administrative workers in clinical or other settings). More details about the revised guidelines are available in this CHA News article.
State’s CalVax Provider System Gets a New Name
CDPH has announced that the recently launched CalVax provider vaccine management system will soon be renamed myCAvax. The intent of the name change is to reduce confusion with other systems and ensure consistency with California’s vaccine scheduling system, My Turn. Aside from the name and other branding changes, functionality remains the same, and providers do not need to do anything differently. In a few weeks, CDPH will send information about a new login site. More details about the name change are available in an FAQ document.
Recording Available of CHA’s Webinar on COVID-19 Vaccination Third-Party Administration
CHA has posted a recording of the Feb. 9 webinar it hosted with Paul Markovich, CEO of Blue Shield of California, and Marta Green, the state’s lead on COVID-19 vaccination third-party administration.
Next CDPH Office Hours: Feb. 12
CDPH will hold a COVID-19 Vaccination Office Hours call for hospitals on Feb. 12 from 9 to 10 a.m. (PT). To participate, visit this link.
Next CDPH Call for Health Care Facilities: Feb. 16, 8-9 a.m. (PT)
Dial: (844) 721-7239
Summary of Feb. 2 CDPH Call
CDPH has provided a summary of its recent weekly call with health care facilities.
Recent Media Coverage
Below are recent news stories how COVID-19 is impacting hospitals and their front-line workers:
- STAT News: Why some hospitals have to scramble for oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients
- California Healthline: California’s Rural Counties Endure a Deadly Covid Winter
- Los Angeles Times: ‘I was just bawling in my PPE’: Surge fades, but anguish remains for healthcare workers
- Los Angeles Daily News: L.A. County hospitals decompress as coronavirus continues gradual slowdown
Surge-Related Data Resources