Archive October 2021

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Each year, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) and other advocates mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic/intimate partner violence is a crime that can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, economic and sexual abuse. It does not discriminate based on race, age or gender.
MHCA reminds members of resources and tools available to you as employers. Employers across Maine have created workplace domestic violence policies that support victims and address workplace abuse. The simple act of implementing a workplace domestic violence policy lets victims know that their jobs will be safe if they seek help. It also sends a powerful message to abusers that their actions will not be supported by their employer. MCEDV provides a variety of services to assist employers including development of policies and procedures to deal with domestic violence within the workplace and dissemination of educational materials.
For a free consultation, call MCEDV today (207-430-8334). To find help on a local level, see the list of organizations in your county at
Most importantly, please note, the state-wide Domestic Violence Helpline is 1-866-834-HELP. (1-866-834-4357).

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MHCA Virtual Fall Conference login information sent via email, there is still time to register!

Registered attendees of the upcoming MHCA Virtual Fall Health Care Conference will be receiving an important email today, granting you access to the virtual platform and providing you with confirmation details to prepare you for next Wednesday's opening day of the conference. Please reach out to the association office if you are registered for the event and do not receive an email by Friday.

If you have not yet registered for the conference, there is still time to do soplease click here to access the online registration form. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to confirm your registration status, please reach out to me in the association office, either by email as below or (207) 623-1146.

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John Bolduc Elected to National NCAL Board

John Bolduc, Executive Director of the Odd Fellows & Rebekahs’ Home of Maine, a multi-level facility located in Auburn, ME has been re-elected to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Board of Directors. John has been on the NCAL Board of Directors since 2017 as an at-large member.
For over 26 years, John has provided leadership, worked effectively with a non-profit board of directors, and above all, maintained a level of quality care and customer service that define Maine providers. John also serves on the Maine Health Care Association Board of Directors as Vice President. 
His focus during his term on the NCAL Board will include:
  • Pursuing creative solutions to address the workforce crisis in long term care 
  • Addressing the challenges facing small assisted living facilities 
  • Avoiding excessive regulation from the federal government 
  • Preserving the kind of person-centered care that makes AL the right setting at the right time 
  • Encouraging AL provider participation in NCAL quality initiatives
Please join MHCA in congratulating John on his successful re-election! 
John is featured here with LeShuan Bethea, the new Executive Director of the National Center for Assisted Living and Angela Westhoff, MHCA President/CEO.

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Maine Veteran’s Home- Bangor Receives National Quality Award

The Maine Health Care Association wishes to congratulate all the staff of the Maine Veterans Home- Bangor on receiving the AHCA/NCAL’s Gold Excellence in Quality Award. This milestone toward performance excellence takes years of hard work and perseverance to become one of the very best long term care centers in the nation. On October 12 at the AHCA/NCAL Convention in front of an audience of providers from all across the country, Maine Veteran’s Home staff were recognized for their incredible work. They were one of two homes that were honored with this impressive award this year.  
At the Gold Award level, applicants must show superior performance in areas of the criteria including leadership, strategic planning, and customer and staff satisfaction. By completing the Gold level criteria, organizations take their quality journey to a higher level through the valuable feedback received in the application process and thereby reaching organizational goals. Applicants are required to receive the Bronze – Commitment to Quality and Silver – Achievement in Quality Awards before applying at the Gold level.
Please join MHCA in acknowledging one of our own in their fantastic accomplishment!
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Health Care Worker COVID-19 Vaccination Data Updated & Flexibility for New Hires

On October 13, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published updated monthly data showing that COVID-19 vaccination rates rose rapidly in September among Maine health care workers.
Over the most recent reporting period, between September 1 through September 30, nursing home facility worker vaccination rates rose to 85.8% up from 77.2% in the prior month and assisted living facilities rose to 88% from 78.8% previously. Hospitals’ vaccination rate rose to 91.6% from 84.6% previously.
DHHS has also signaled that the vaccine monthly reporting will end with October 2021 vaccination rates, which DHHS will use in compliance activity. This survey will then transition from a monthly report to an annual compliance report in December 2021.
In addition to using the 2021 health care worker vaccination rate survey as a basis for ongoing reporting, Maine DHHS and CDC intend to deploy effective compliance tools such as random audits and complaint-driven investigations to protect health care workers as well as patients.
In response to suggestions from stakeholders, and to help facilities during the transition to the new rule in November, Maine DHHS and CDC will use enforcement discretion during this time-limited period to allow health care facilities subject to the emergency rule to hire a new employee who has received at least a first dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to the employee’s start date. This is conditional on the employer ensuring that the employee uses appropriate personal protective equipment and is tested at least weekly until the employee is fully vaccinated (including an employee who received a Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine prior to the start of employment). Any such employee who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must receive the second dose on the FDA-authorized schedule.
More information can be found here.  

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Long Term Care Supplemental Payment FAQ Now Available

Earlier this week, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for Sections 2, 67, and 97 Appendix C Providers with regards to the $123 Million in supplemental payments for long term care facilities. 
Please see the Department’s website for FAQs regarding supplemental COVID-19 payments to in-state Nursing Facilities (NFs), PNMI Appendix Cs (Residential Care Facilities, or RCFs), and Adult Family Care Homes (AFCHs). 
As previously communicated, pursuant to?PL 2021 Chap 398?(pages 107, 118, 131, and Sec QQQQ-1), the Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing over $37 million in state funds in supplemental COVID-19 payments to these providers. 
The Department estimates that this will draw approximately $86 million in federal matching funds, for a total of just over $123 million.
Specific details can be found in DHHS e-messages on September 10th and 21st Approximately 50% of these total payment amounts per pay-to provider went out in September, and the remaining amount will go out in October. Please contact Provider Relations Specialist, Tammy Usher, with any questions.
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MHCA Comments on Chapter 264 - Immunization Requirements for Health Care Workers

On Monday, September 27th the Maine Health Care Association provided verbal testimony on the proposed rule changes to 10-144 CMR Chapter 264: Immunization Requirements for Health Care Workers. The public hearing lasted approximately 90 minutes with 20 individuals testifying. The Maine Medical Association, Northern Light, and MaineMed were among those who offered comments. 
MHCA is also submitting written comments. We collected feedback from providers over the past several weeks. Our comments included a number of questions seeking clarity around presumptive immunity for varicella, rubeola, mumps and rubella. In light of the staffing crisis, MHCA testimony also included a request for a COVID-19 vaccination mandate grace period for newly hired health care workers and consideration of a daily testing alternative for staff that are unvaccinated to continue to educate and address vaccine hesitancy. We also asked that short term contract workers that do not have direct patient contact be exempted from the mandate. Lastly, we have requested that state consider aligning its vaccination mandate with the anticipated federal mandate to ensure consistency across the healthcare continuum. 
Written comments on the proposed rule are due today, October 7th by 5:00 PM. Providers are encouraged to submit comments directly as well. 

MHCA CEO elected to Maine Council on Aging Board of Directors, Previous CEO honored with Legacy Award

The Maine Council on Aging (MCOA) recently welcomed three new members of its Board of Directors during its annual meeting on September 20, 2021, including MHCA President and CEO Angela Westhoff. She joins Peter Baker, LCSW, Program Manager for Geriatrics at MaineHealth and Catherine Ryder, LCPC, CEO at TriCounty Mental Health Services.

“We are thrilled to add these strong leaders with such diverse backgrounds and knowledge to our Board of Directors,” said Jess Maurer, MCOA Executive Director. “These new voices will advance our work in building an integrated system of formal and informal supports for older people that prioritizes low cost/high value interventions and builds across all systems.”

Also at the meeting, MHCA's former President and CEO, Rick Erb received the 2021 Lasting Legacy Award. This award recognizes and celebrates the sustained leadership of people whose commitment, ideals, and actions throughout their careers have brought about lasting and positive change to the lives of older Mainers. Rick was a founding member of the MCOA and served on the Board of Directors for 9 years. His commitment to aligning advocacy efforts related to essential support workers across the continuum of care was pivotal to many legislative successes. 

MCOA is a broad, multidisciplinary network of over 120 organizations, businesses, municipalities, and older community members dedicated to advancing healthy aging in Maine homes and communities.

Watch the 2021 Excellence in LTC Awards Program to be inspired

Last week, MHCA and the Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman Program presented 33 dedicated long term care employees with the 2021 Excellence in Long Term Care Award during a virtual event. The celebration, which was well attended, featured opening remarks by Representative Jessica Fay (House District 66, Parts of Casco, Poland, and Raymond). Representative Fay recently served on a long term care study commission and is passionate about workforce development. She shared the following in her comments to winners:

“The skill necessary to understand the needs of so many different people is invaluable and it is an honor and a privilege to be here with you to celebrate that today. What I noticed as I read the wonderful and well-deserved comments, was that there were some common threads and themes that emerged about you all.

You stepped up– are continuing to step up – big time during COVID, and gave so much to the people who depend on you, even at incredible personal sacrifice. There are many people who are alive today because of you. And other people who could take comfort in loss knowing that even if they couldn’t be with their loved ones, they had you there for them providing care and comfort. Wow.

Each of you are a gift – to your colleagues, to those you care for and to their families, and on behalf of my colleagues, thank you for taking care of all of us!”

Winners will receive $100, as well as a commemorative tumbler and program book. Watch the event to be inspired and join MHCA in thanking these dedicated employees for their work.

Notify MHCA if you need a pharmacy partner for Pfizer booster shots

Pfizer booster shot clinics are already underway for some member facilities. MHCA recommends that you contact your pharmacy representative as soon as possible to schedule booster shots for residents who had Pfizer, as well as any staff who may want the booster if six months have passed since primary dose. Please note – the third shot is not included in the Maine CDC definition of “fully vaccinated” for the purpose of the state health care worker mandate. 

Given the frailty of our long term care population and the storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, in-house clinics provided by pharmacies are preferable, but members should discuss the options with their pharmacy providers. If your pharmacy is unable to provide a clinic, please contact Nadine Grosso at MHCA, or 207-623-1146 so we may work with CDC on options. 

As a reminder, the CDC and ACIP have noted that the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccination can be co-administered in cases where an individual is eligible for both vaccinations.
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