Vaccine Update: Member Zoom Meeting Offers Guidance, Polling on Provider, Patient and Staff Experiences

Situation Report | January 18, 2021

On Wednesday, January 13, HCA gathered members for a Zoom meeting to share guidance and learn more about provider experiences amid the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. If you missed the meeting, please review the slide deck. You can also obtain a recorded archive of the meeting by completing the form here.

Key Takeaways from the Meeting

During the meeting, HCA provided background and guidance, citing the resources on our COVID-19 resource page for further information. Here are some important takeaways:

  • Prepare your staff for vaccination by consulting HCA’s Home Care and Hospice Provider Checklist for Vaccination Readiness: 5 Steps. This explains how to make an appointment, what to bring and how to document staff vaccination. It also provides staff education resources.
  • Get in touch with the vaccination hub, also known as the Regional Advisory Task Force (RATF), in your region. If you are having any major difficulties in the vaccination process, the RATFs should be a main point of contact, and HCA’s COVID-19 resource page has a spreadsheet offering RATF lead contact people with e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all RATFs.
  • Vaccine appointments should be made using either the New York City Vaccine Finder or The New York State Vaccine Eligibility App. Providers, their staff and patients should check appointment availability on a regular basis as site locations are added and as capacity fluctuates due to vaccine production and delivery variables and the introduction of new priority groups.

A Very Important Note About Vaccine Appointments and Unauthorized Sites

Vaccine logistical information has been complex and often inconsistent, with instructions coming from a variety of overlapping state, regional and local authorities. One area of ongoing confusion is the process by which providers should direct their staff for vaccination appointments. In recent weeks, HCA has been posting site-specific appointment links shared with us by several of the RATFs. We’ve taken great care to ensure that these links derive from official sources. Other organizations have been reportedly sharing unpublished and unauthorized appointment links — via social media and other channels — offering vaccine appointments for state-operated sites that are not currently open and were not taking appointments, adding to the confusion.

HCA members should please be aware of a statement released Friday by the state’s Counsel for the Office of Information Technology Services “Regarding the Unauthorized Use of Unpublished Scheduling Link for State Vaccination Sites.” According to the statement, “all unauthorized appointments have been voided — we are currently contacting everyone who used the unauthorized link to inform them of the situation. We will continue to safeguard all New Yorkers’ information and ensure equal access to the vaccine for everyone eligible. As a reminder, the only way to sign up for vaccinations at state-operated locations is through the Department of Health’s Am I Eligible website.”

HCA encourages providers to use this state-operated channel as well as New York City’s vaccine finder, linked above, which is also an official site for vaccine appointments.

HCA Polls Members on Vaccination Rates, Hesitancy and More 

During last week’s Zoom meeting, HCA also polled members in real time, asking a series of questions about vaccination rates, staff or patient hesitancy to receive the vaccine, whether providers have been in contact with their regional vaccination hubs, and more.

A majority of providers (82 percent) say they are asking patients and staff to schedule their own appointments (as opposed to provider-arranged appointments or mass vaccination of staff). None of the polled providers are administering the vaccine to staff or patients (though we know from other venues that some home care providers are doing so).

Please note that the poll sample is only comprised of HCA members who attended the Zoom meeting and answered our live polls.

Most respondents (85 percent) indicated that 1 to 10 percent of their staff have been vaccinated at this point, with higher rates reported by a smaller number of providers.

Our results also told us that vaccine hesitancy is a very real issue — a problem that we will be seeking to address.

  • 55 percent of agencies reported refusal from 1 to 10 percent of their staff;
  • 10 percent reported refusal from 11 to 20 percent of their staff;
  • 15 percent reported refusal from 31 to 40 percent of staff.
  • 10 percent of agencies reported refusal rates of 41 percent and above.

Please be on watch for additional resources and instructions soon to help overcome hesitancy and refusal rates. In the meantime, our slide deck and COVID-19 resource page offer resources to help you make staff education a top priority.

All of our polling results are below.

Do not hesitate to contact any of the HCA Policy staff with any issues, questions or urgent needs.