HCA Urges Vaccination Access Flexibility for Priority Home Care Workers, Discusses Next Steps on Vaccination of Homebound Patients

Situation Report | March 1, 2021

HCA ramped up our efforts to get more vaccines to home care workers while initiating important discussions on vaccination of home care patients with the regional vaccination hubs and Governor’s office.

To demonstrate existing needs, HCA and our partners at the New York State Association of Health Care Providers and LeadingAge New York shared survey results showing that approximately 75 percent of home care workers have yet to be vaccinated due to logistical challenges and supply shortages.

HCA advocated that multiple vaccination sites be available to home care workers, including pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, local health departments, and points of dispensing (PODs) — in addition to local hospitals or state-run sites, which to date have been a primary means for priority 1A vaccination but present significant access limitations.

HCA also pushed for a simplified registration processes that allow agencies to register their aides via mass enrollment.

After months of requests, the state Department of Health (DOH) has released data to HCA from Health Electronic Response Data System (HERDS) surveys. The data encompasses last week’s surveys of Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHAs) and hospices, which include information on the vaccine status of the agencies’ staff in addition to personal protective equipment (PPE) needs of agencies. HCA has requested this data to help inform our situational awareness of agencies’ experiences during the pandemic and to inform our advocacy efforts. HCA will be examining the data to determine next steps.

HCA also started discussions with DOH and vaccination hubs about how to get patients vaccinated, including utilizing CHHAs, Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (LHCSAs), emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and others. In response to a request from the Capital Region’s task force, specifically, HCA continues to work with HCP and LeadingAge NY to tabulate survey findings on the number of homebound patients in the Capital Region that have not been vaccinated.