On December 28, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that skilled nursing home residents and staff members would begin to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine immediately. This effort is made possible by the state of Michigan’s participation in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Program is a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and CVS, Walgreens, and certain participating Managed Health Care Associates, Inc. (MHA) pharmacies, to offer COVID-19 vaccination for residents and employees of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Starting in November 2020, long term care facilities (LTCFs) could sign up for the program and choose a federal pharmacy partner. The CDC worked with local jurisdictions to match facilities with their selected pharmacy partner. Pharmacy partners then reached out to their assigned LTCF to coordinate the vaccine process. Through the program, LTCFs will receive the vaccine free of charge, and will be provided with end-to-end management of the vaccine process, including on-site administration of vaccinations, scheduling, and coordination of on-site clinic dates, ordering vaccines and necessary supplies, and the implementation of reporting requirements. The goal of the program is to reduce the burden on LTCFs and local health departments, while increasing vaccination to vulnerable, priority populations.
Skilled nursing home residents and staff are among the highest risk for severe illness and death due to COVID-19. In Michigan, over 5,000 LTC facilities, including 400 skilled nursing facilities, are enrolled in the vaccine program. There are approximately 91,000 skilled nursing residents and employees to be vaccinated, with the process estimated to require three weeks to completely vaccinate this population. Other facilities eligible for the Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Program, such as, assisted living facilities, personal care homes, residential care, adult family homes, adult foster homes, HUD supportive housing for the elderly and veterans’ homes, will soon receive vaccinations as well. Adult day care facilities, independent living facilities, facilities exclusively for children or adolescents, psychiatric rehabilitation or behavioral treatment facilities, and drug or alcohol rehabilitation centers are not eligible for the program.
To promote safety and efficacy, vaccinators must follow all Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 testing requirements for staff at LTCFs. Additionally, participating pharmacists must be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. It is expected that on-site vaccination services offered through the program will continue at participating facilities for two months after the date of the initial phase of vaccinations. After this point, facilities can continue to work with their federal pharmacy partner or change to a different pharmacy provider and continue ongoing vaccination. Each person who receives the COVID-19 vaccine will also receive a vaccination record card. Individuals who receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at an LTCF can bring their vaccination record card to another provider administering the vaccine and continue their vaccination process.
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