CMS Requires All Staff of Long-Term Care Facilities to be Vaccinated
On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an emergency regulation requiring long term care facilities to develop and implement policies to ensure all staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All eligible staff must receive their first vaccine dose (if receiving a two-dose vaccine) by December 5, 2021 and must be fully vaccinated, having received two doses of a two dose vaccine or one dose of a one dose vaccine by January 4, 2022.
Staff covered by this requirement include: facility employees; licensed practitioners; students, trainees, and volunteers; and individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its residents, under contract or by other arrangement.
Under this requirement, facilities must establish a process to ensure all staff are fully vaccinated, except for those who are granted exemptions; they must implement additional precautions to mitigate the transmission and spread of COVID-19 for the staff who are not fully vaccinated; and they must track and document the vaccination status of all staff and whether staff have obtained boosters.
Facilities are also required to establish a process for staff to request medical and religious exemptions to the vaccine requirement. They must track and document information on all staff who have been granted exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination requirements and ensure they have all the required medical documentation regarding the exemptions. Additionally, they must track and document staff whose vaccinations must be temporarily delayed due to clinical precautions as recommended by the CDC.
The regulation also applies to Home Health Services and most other Medicare and Medicaid providers. Compliance will be ensured through existing survey and enforcement processes.
Residents continue to have the right to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine and change their decision at any time.
CMS held a webinar about these new regulations. Watch the recording and get the slides.
Book from Essential Caregiver Movement with Stories from Family of Long-Term Care Residents During COVID-19
“Protecting Them to Death, The Impact of Isolation in Long-Term Care”, is an advocacy publication from The Essential Caregiver Movement which contains stories from families in all 50 states who have loved ones who lived in long-term care facilities during the COVID isolation protocols. These stories demonstrate the devastating effects that isolation has had on long-term care residents and their loved ones. The book has been mailed to all 435 US Congressmen and 100 US Senators to encourage them to support H.R. 3733, The Essential Caregiver Bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Get the book.
Updated Handbook for Lawyers on Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity
The ABA Commission on Law and Aging and the American Psychological Association have released a second edition of Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacities: A Handbook for Lawyers. The 100-page volume provides a conceptual framework and a practical system for identifying and addressing problems of client capacity, including how to work effectively with clinicians when needed. The new edition includes added chapters on standards of capacity for a wide variety of transactions and on the assessment of undue influence, as well as incorporating supported decision-making practices throughout. The volume contains a revised worksheet for preliminary screening of capacities and a new screening tool for undue influence. Multiple appendices provide an overview of psychological testing instruments; a sample referral letter to clinicians and sample clinical evaluation; a reference chart of medical conditions affecting capacity; and an overview of normal brain aging and disease.
The Handbook is available for $49.95 from the ABA Store.
National Center on Law & Elder Rights Webinar on New Toolkit to Fight Nursing Home Evictions
The National Center on Law & Elder Rights is holding a webinar on Thursday, November 18th at 2:00pm ET entitled "Using the New Toolkit to Fight Nursing Home Evictions." Legal assistance attorneys and elder rights and aging advocates play an important role in fighting nursing home evictions. Justice in Aging has created an actionable toolkit of resources to help residents and advocates fight back. To educate both residents and professionals, the toolkit includes:
- Write-ups to identify and challenge eight common evictions;
- Sample language for use in defending residents in administrative hearings, specifically for attorneys and other advocates; and
- Templates for state-court injunctive relief actions to force a nursing facility to allow a resident to return after a hospitalization.
In this training, presenters will demonstrate how to access and use the toolkit and how to apply it to common situations that advocates may encounter.