COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Released by State of California
On Oct. 19, the state of California publicly released its plan for administering COVID-19 vaccinations. The plan responds to questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for every state, describing how the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will work within state government and with local health departments and health care providers to distribute and administer the vaccine. California has received $28 million from the CDC to administer this program.
The plan describes the state’s internal governance structure — the California Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force — that has representation from multiple state departments and is co-led by CDPH and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). Three external groups will be convened:
- Drafting Guidelines Workgroup
- Scientific Safety Review Workgroup (membership was announced on Oct. 19)
- Community Vaccine Advisory Committee
Many hospital and health system health care personnel are anticipated to be in the first phase, 1-A, of those offered the vaccine when doses are initially limited. The document describes this first phase as including both health care personnel likely treating patients with COVID-19 and likely to be exposed to COVID-19.
Allocation is described in the plan as flowing first from the federal government to the state; then from the state to large multi-jurisdictional entities such as health providers and systems with locations in multiple counties; and finally to local health departments, which will allocate to health care providers and other entities within their counties.
The plan also discusses cold chain storage capacity, how providers will be enrolled to serve as vaccination sites, and data reporting requirements for vaccinators, among other issues. CHA has convened a COVID-19 Vaccine Workgroup to inform its policy advocacy in this area and participates in weekly meetings with state leadership on its COVID-19 planning, along with other statewide associations.
California Certified to Submit COVID-19 Data to Federal Government
On Oct. 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance — with accompanying FAQs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — on how it will enforce CMS’ interim final rule that requires hospitals to report COVID-19 data, in order to continue to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The FAQs noted that hospitals could be relieved from reporting directly to the federal government if they receive a written release from the state indicating that the state is certified and will collect the data from the hospitals and take over the hospital’s federal reporting responsibilities. On Oct. 15, CDPH received that release. More information and a copy of the letter are available here.
HHS Webinar Oct. 22 on COVID-19 Data Reporting Interim Final Rule
HHS’ Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will host a webinar Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. (PT) about the CMS guidance on its interim final rule on COVID-19 data reporting. Registration is available here. Participating hospitals and health systems will have an opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
CMS to Adjust Lab Payments for Faster Test Results
CMS has announced it will adjust Medicare payments to incentivize labs to deliver quicker results to patients undergoing COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, Medicare will pay $100 only to laboratories that complete high throughput COVID-19 diagnostic tests within two calendar days of the specimen’s collection. Laboratories that take longer than two days to complete these tests will receive a $75 Medicare payment.
New COVID-19 Website Designed to Support Hospitals
CHA and the Regional Associations have launched a new website — ourcovidresponse.org — to support hospitals and health systems as they continue to respond to ongoing COVID-19 challenges. All resources developed so far have been consolidated to make it easier to find what is needed via a browsable set of tools and information, including:
- The latest on federal and state waivers
- Updated news and FAQs
- Details about federal financial relief
- Our work with the Governor’s Office and administration
- Regional work being done to help hospitals meet the needs of their communities
- And much more
The site is anchored by a slideshow tribute featuring California hospital staff providing care over the past several months.
Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for Certified Nurse Assistants
CDPH has issued All Facilities Letter 20-35.2 to allow a certified nurse assistant who remains in an “employable during the current state of emergency” status to complete in-service or continuing educations units and count them toward certificate renewal.
Next CDPH Call for Health Care Facilities: Oct. 27, 8-9 a.m. (PT)
Dial: (844) 721-7239
Summary of Oct. 13 CDPH Call
CDPH has provided a summary of its recent weekly call with health care facilities.