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December 22, 2020

In this Issue:

  1. Information on COVID-19 Vaccination Process
  2. FTC Blog on COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
  3. Economic Relief Package Includes Elder Justice Funding But No Immunity Provisions
  4. How has the Consumer Voice responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Information on COVID-19 Vaccination Process

What We Know

  • CDC is partnering with CVS, Walgreens, and Managed Health Care Association, Inc. to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Three vaccination clinics are being scheduled at each nursing facility.  
  • At this time, neither the facility nor the residents are able to choose which vaccination is given.
  • An Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers contains vaccine-specific information including benefits and risks, as well as potential side effects.  It is to be given to the resident or their legal representative.
  • Consent must be obtained. Both Walgreens and CVS have created consent forms.  If a resident does not have the physical or cognitive capacity to consent, there are procedures the facility can follow to obtain oral consent from the resident’s “responsible party.”
  • It is not known for sure if someone who has been vaccinated can still spread the virus. CMS has said facilities must continue to take precautions and follow the “CORE Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention” set forth in the September 17, 2020 guidance on nursing home visitation.  CMS has also indicated that the September guidance will remain in place.  

What Consumers and Advocates Can Do

  • Be as informed as possible about the vaccination process in your/your loved one’s facility or the facilities in your area/state. Find out which pharmacy will be handling the vaccinations and what the schedule will be.
  • Prior to the scheduled vaccination date:
    • Encourage your/your loved one’s facility or facilities in your area/state to hold educational sessions for residents, their family, and representatives that include discussion of risks, benefits and possible side effects. Such sessions could be held by phone or video.
    • Make sure you/your loved one or residents in the facilities in your area/state have received and understand information about the vaccine.  Work with facility staff if not.
  • Ask facility administration how residents will be cared for if a number of staff are not feeling well after the vaccination and call out sick.

Visit Consumer Voice's New COVID-19 Vaccination Information webpage for further resources and information.

FTC Blog on COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a blog (also available in Spanish) warning of potential COVID-19 vaccination scams.  The FTC advises the following:

  • You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine.
  • No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
  • Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam.

For more information, read the FTC's blog (Spanish).

Economic Relief Package Includes Elder Justice Funding But No Immunity Provisions
The COVID-19 economic relief bill passed by the Senate and House includes $100 million in elder justice funding but no immunity provisions.  The bill will dedicate $50 million to supporting the work of state Adult Protective Services programs and specifically directs the funds to be spent for activities authorized under the Elder Justice Act during the pandemic.  However, missing from the legislation are provisions regarding immunity for long-term care facilities. The bill is now headed to President Trump's desk to sign.

How has Consumer Voice responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Throughout the past nine months, Consumer Voice has steadfastly advocated for residents, educated and empowered families, and supported the advocacy of ombudsmen and citizen advocates.

Our staff jumped into action quickly and have been working tirelessly to address the needs of consumers, families, and advocates by -

  • Creating new resources - We have created resources for long-term care consumers, their family, and advocates tackling the challenging situations that have arisen throughout the pandemic.
  • Analyzing rules & regulations - The Consumer Voice staff has analyzed nursing facility rules and regulations - examining their impact on long-term care consumers and creating summaries to help better understand the information.
  • Tracking federal & state policies - We have been diligently tracking federal and state policies that affect residents, families, and long-term care ombudsmen.
  • Raising the voices of residents and families - We have raised the voices and concerns of residents and families with CMS and members of Congress, and have been fighting to reunite residents and families, obtain hazard pay and other supports for staff, and focus attention and resources on the immediate care needs of residents.

As our communities are facing record numbers of COVID-19 cases, the continued tragic impact of both COVID-19 and isolation on residents continues, making Consumer Voice’s work more important than ever.

Can we count on you to support the work of Consumer Voice?

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