Coronavirus Response Newsletter

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

CDPH Hospital Survey for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will soon release a COVID-19 vaccine hospital survey via an All Facilities Letter (AFL). The survey results will inform how the state allocates doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which could be available as soon as Nov. 1. There will likely be a short turnaround time to respond to the survey (a week or less), which will require information from human resources, pharmacy, employee health, information technology, and potentially other departments. Hospitals may want to determine now who will respond on behalf of their hospital or health system.

CDPH has indicated that the hospital survey will ask about:

  • The numbers of hospital employees and staff based on risk level of exposure to COVID-19
  • Vaccine storage capacity
  • Logistical capacity to offer the vaccine to all employees, and capacity to support community vaccine initiatives
  • Information technology systems and data reporting

Health systems will have the ability to respond on behalf of all hospitals in their system. The actual survey and response deadline will be released by CDPH, and CHA will distribute widely once the information becomes available.

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration Extended
The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the renewal of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. The renewal is effective Oct. 23 and will continue for an additional 90 days, ensuring flexibilities — like waivers and special rules tied to the public health emergency declaration — remain in place for providers.

HHS Announces Additional $20 Billion in New Phase of Provider Relief Funding
HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, announced last week that $20 billion in new funding will be available for providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by COVID-19. Details about who is eligible, how to apply, and upcoming HHS webinars about the process are available here.

State to Factor in Equity in Determining County Tier Status
On Sept. 30, CDPH released a new equity metric that it will use as part of its calculation of each county’s tier in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. In this framework, counties fall into one of four tiers based on risk of community transmission: Purple (widespread), Red (substantial), Orange (moderate), and Yellow (minimal). A county’s status determines the level of reopening for its indoor businesses.

To advance to the next less-restrictive tier, depending on its size, a county will need to meet the equity metric and demonstrate targeted investments to eliminate disparities in COVID-19 transmission. Additional details about the new equity metric are available here.

CMS Modifies Certain SNF Testing Requirements for Health Care Personnel
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an update to recently issued guidance for testing health care personnel in skilled-nursing facilities. This includes a provision that testing frequency be determined by the positivity rate of the county in which the skilled-nursing facility is located. The updated guidance also ties the requirements to the number of tests per county. These changes were made in response to feedback from rural facilities concerned that higher positivity rates in rural areas might be related to low amounts of testing volume and not necessarily indicative of greater COVID-19 presence.

The guidance calls for skilled-nursing facilities in counties with a positivity rate greater than 10% to test health care personnel twice a week. Facilities located in counties that administered fewer than 500 tests and fewer than 2,000 tests per 10,000 residents, with a positivity rate of greater than 10%, may now test once per week. CDPH requires all California skilled-nursing facilities to test health care personnel at least once per week.

CDPH Notifies SNFs About New Grant Opportunity to Help With In-Person Visitation
CDPH has issued AFL 20-77, which informs skilled-nursing facilities about the availability of a new grant opportunity to receive federal civil monetary penalty funds to purchase materials that aid with in-person visitation. Facilities may apply for up to $3,000 for tents, clear partitions, and installation costs. The AFL follows updated CMS guidance for visitation in skilled-nursing facilities during the pandemic.

Next CDPH Call for Health Care Facilities: Oct. 13, 8-9 a.m. (PT)
Dial: (844) 721-7239
Passcode: 7993227

Summary of Sept. 29 CDPH Call
CDPH has provided a summary of its most recent weekly call with health care facilities.