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Executive Order Includes HCA-sought Flexibility on Vaccine Administration Timeframes 

Governor Cuomo recently signed a COVID-19 emergency Executive Order (202.102) with a provision reflecting HCA’s request for flexibility in the timeframes for vaccination administration.

The new provision specifically eliminates the $100,000 civil penalty for failure of a provider to administer its allocated COVID-19 vaccine within seven days of receipt. The change is intended to give flexibility in scheduling vaccination appointments if a provider needs more than seven days to use a vaccine allocation.

HCA has been meeting with the Governor’s office on home care-led vaccination efforts as well as needs for support, guidance, and flexibility. In early April, we provided officials with a paper describing experiences, best-practices, and recommendations drawn from a roundtable of HCA-member home care agencies offering their input about their vaccination efforts to date and some solutions for overcoming challenges.

In that paper, HCA called on officials to increase the number of days a home care provider must use their allocation. “This increase will allow the home care provider increased flexibility for planning and scheduling vaccination administration,” we wrote. “At the same time, the more realistic timeframe will allow for a reasonable continuation of operations for home care agencies.”

Our other recommendations address the need for: reimbursement reflecting the true cost of vaccination in home care, greater flexibility in the current geographic limitations governing vaccinations, guidance or protocols that consider vaccination of family members and others in the household, and various other administrative requirements.

NYS Stresses that Performance Still a Factor in Allocations 

A message from the New York State COVID-19 vaccine team, which accompanied the new Executive Order, clarified that “while the enhanced civil penalty has been eliminated, performance, effort, and effective administration of vaccines by providers will continue to be key factors, along with equity access and regional positivity rates, in making future vaccine allocation decisions.”

Changes to Vaccine Allocation Requests Due to New Flexibility

If you are enrolled in the New York State (outside of NYC) COVID-19 Vaccination Program and did not yet submit a week 20 (week beginning April 26) weekly planning request for vaccines, or if you need to revise your submission considering the change in Executive Order No. 202.102, providers are urged to do so by 5 p.m. today (April 21).

A Related Note on Johnson & Johnson Vaccines

In a related matter, a panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to meet Friday on recommendations for use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As we’ve previously reported, the vaccine has been put on hold pending a review of its potential link to rare, but severe, blood clots. The CDC’s decision will have a significant impact on the course of home care vaccination efforts going forward, and HCA will immediately report to the membership on any updates.