November 5, 2021
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) issued the emergency regulation requiring COVID-19 Vaccination for health care workers. The guidelines issued in this regulation require that all eligible health care employees receive at least their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine by December 5, 2021.
All eligible employees must be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022 or have received appropriate exemption based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs, observances or practices. These forms must be filled out with MD note or religious leader note and other proof attached.
This news directly impacts anyone who has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination. It includes: employees, volunteers, agency staff, students and other contracted medical providers. Here at VMP we will be targeting completion of the first dose (or exemption form submitted) by November 18th to ensure we meet the Federal deadline of December 5th. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in non-payment and citations from Medicare and Medicaid to our facility.
Our VMP leadership and Infection Preventionists are working to establish vaccine clinics for any unvaccinated employees and campus volunteers as early as next week. This will also provide an opportunity for our employees who received the vaccine over six months ago to receive a booster if they are interested.
As for resident vaccine boosters, all Maplewood and Palmer House residents who want them have received them. We are currently working to host an onsite booster vaccine clinic for our Wesley Park residents. Until then, we are encouraging them to reach out to their physician, Walgreens or other vaccination sites for opportunities to receive the booster.
Our COVID-19 team is also working on guidelines for the upcoming holiday season. We are reviewing the CMS and CDC guidelines and will be preparing communication for the residents, families and friends. We know how important this time of year is for family and will work diligently to enable the safest gatherings and celebrations.
Employee COVID-19 testing continues two times per week. On average we have at least one positive result each week which then results in contact tracing, notification of potential exposure, appropriate quarantining and follow-up testing. As of today, any positive employee results have not yielded any positive resident results. If we have a positive case, we will notify the affected resident, their family and follow all privacy requirements. Dr. Keshni Ramnanan, Medical Director, and local and state health departments guide our efforts, as well as, our own preparedness plans.
As always, we are continuing to closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as, state and local health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps.
We continue to work around-the-clock to protect our community and the broader community. Key components of the action plan are:
- Continuing to monitor and screen residents for symptoms. We continue to actively screen residents for fever and respiratory symptoms. Residents are asked to wash their hands often, avoid touching their face, cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and to wear a mask. Residents know to notify the staff immediately if they feel ill. When ill residents are identified, they are monitored closely, isolated in their rooms, and reminded to wear a mask. Medical providers are consulted as appropriate. Residents have been reminded that social distancing remains extremely important. We’ve shared that they should take everyday precautions to keep space between themselves and others (i.e., stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths).
- We encourage you to review the CDC website for information about COVID-19, including its symptoms, how it spreads, actions that you and your loved ones can take to protect your health, and how to manage stress and anxiety. See the following links for additional information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html.
- Continuing to screen staff prior to beginning work. Staff are not allowed in the building if they are ill. Upon arriving at the building, a detailed health screening is completed including taking their temperature to check for a fever. Any staff who exhibit symptoms are instructed to put on a mask, isolate at home, call their medical provider, and notify their supervisor. Additionally, our staff is following CDC guidelines for hand and other related hygiene requirements.
- Advising affected staff to take all appropriate measures. For their health and well-being, staff members with a COVID-19 diagnosis are asked to quarantine at home, and contact their medical provider to guide their care. We will follow all CDC guidance on the return to work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19.
- Continuing to implement environmental safety precautions. Housekeeping staff continue to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building. This includes countertops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, door knobs, crash bars, door handles, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and hand rails.
- Visitation in Maplewood Healthcare Center and Palmer House Memory Care We encourage everyone to utilize our Visit Lines for the most up to date information on visitation. This pandemic is ever changings so we may have to restrict visitation in a certain area for a period of time. This information can be obtained through calling the below number before visiting.
- Maplewood Visit Line: (414) 607-4191
- Palmer House Visit Line: (414) 607-4185
- Utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) when interacting with residents, as directed by CMS guidelines.