HCA continues daily outreach and advocacy efforts with state, county, local and hospital-based regional planning officials to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to home care and hospice staff as the state adjusts its vaccine rollout amid supply shortages.
Recently, HCA reached out to or met with the Southern Tier, Capital District, and Western New York regional vaccination hubs; the New York City Health Care Coalition Leadership Council; the New York State Association of County Health Officials; the state Department of Health (DOH) Office of Health Emergency Preparedness; the DOH Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management; and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The overarching message from all of these venues is that home care and hospice providers should continue making appointments with city, state or hospital-run sites, which have been instructed to prioritize health care workers. Meanwhile, pharmacies are instructed to prioritize individuals age 65 and older; and county health departments are instructed to prioritize non-health-care essential workers, such as police, firefighters, teachers, and grocery store workers.
Some further instructions are below.
- NYS sites. Home care and hospice agencies outside of New York City should try to arrange vaccine appointments with the state-run vaccination sites using the state’s eligibility and screening website.
- NYC sites. Agencies that provide services in New York City should still go to the city’s vaccine finder to locate vaccination sites.
- Hospital sites. Providers can also contact their local hospitals who have received vaccines and are designated to prioritize 1A staff, which includes home care and hospice. While many hospitals report that they’ve exhausted their supplies, or have extremely limited supply at this time, the overall vaccine shipment and delivery system is extremely fluid, and HCA members should check back regularly with their local hospitals for any changes in availability.
- Individuals age 65-plus. Home care and hospice staff who are age 65 or older can also contact pharmacies for appointments.
All of this information is based on the amount of vaccine made available to New York State. These policies are adjusted frequently, based on vaccine availability and distribution. HCA will inform the membership of changes in protocol as we continue our advocacy and outreach with state, county and city officials as well as all ten of the state’s regional vaccine planning hubs.