JHF Webinar Supports State Long-Term Care COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
On May 4, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) offered the latest in a series of educational COVID-19 vaccine webinars to hundreds of long-term care facilities statewide, as the PA Department of Health operationalizes a new plan to ensure long-term care facilities receive COVID-19 vaccines on an ongoing basis through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. The JHF webinar explained and promoted the new partnership, which is available to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and it focused on the importance of assuring maximum rates of vaccination among staff and residents. Featured speakers included Lawrence Appel, MD, SFHM, Medical Director, Office of Long-term Living, Debbie Smith, Strategy & Planning Consultant/Long-Term Care Task Force, COVID-19 Response, PADOH, and Nancy Zionts, MBA, JHF COO and Chief Program Officer moderated.
The webinar highlighted a best practice case study presented by Cindy Rouvre, Director of Risk/Compliance, Garden Spot Communities in Lancaster County. The speakers answered logistical questions while stressing the importance of overcoming hesitancy among long-term care workers who may still represent a risk to spreading the virus if they remain unvaccinated.
This webinar builds on months of collaboration between JHF and the PA Departments of Health and Human Services to reduce vaccine hesitancy among long-term care facility staff as part of JHF's involvement in the Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCAT) program. JHF, the PA Health Funders Collaborative and others around the country have been advocating for an ongoing program to provide access to vaccines for both workers and seniors. The original pharmacy partnership was not designed with a long-term term strategy in mind, despite high levels of skilled nursing facility resident and staff turnover creating a need for continued vaccination offerings in this setting. Once the new plan was introduced by CMS in late April, JHF moved quickly to partner with the PA Departments of Health and Human Services to promote the opportunity.