The Academy of Senior Health Sciences, Inc. (formerly The Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes, Inc.) seeks to provide public education and awareness initiatives to the long-term care community in Ohio. Our membership represents a true cross-section of the skilled nursing facility profession, from small sole proprietorships to larger Ohio-based multi-facility companies, as well as those businesses that service our industry. Through our public education and awareness efforts, the Academy brings the collective influences of the members together into a single voice on vital issues affecting our profession.
Founded in 1966, the Academy then identified one of its core purposes as "To foster a spirit of goodwill among those persons engaged in the nursing home industry, to promote ethical practices in their relationships with each other, their employees, and the general public to the end that all interests may be served fairly..." Though the organization has undergone several transformations over the years, most notably in 2011, its dedication and commitment to Ohio's most frail and elderly remains the same.
| The Academy Weekly Headlines from 2 Weeks Ago|
State aware of provider concerns over vaccine mandate
CMS's vaccination mandate for nursing home staff has garnered both national and local attention. Of primary concern to providers is the ability to maintain staffing levels given the already tight labor market. Some NH providers were already heading in the direction of mandating the vaccine with a target date as early as October 1. Despite a lot of education and incentives for staff, even providers that created their own vaccination policy are having difficulty reaching 100% vaccination. Furthermore, while the federal mandate has created a level playing field for the vaccine requirement among nursing home providers, there are still other LTSS jobs nursing home staff can turn to that do not currently require the vaccine. The Academy has made the state aware of provider concerns related to the mandate. And we noted that the state staffing resources used to help struggling nursing homes will also have to comply. The timeframe and consequences of non-compliance for the mandate are not yet final; however, the choice of penalties or insufficient staff is one everyone agrees needs to be avoided. There is no current plan on how the state will help providers; only a commitment to address these issues with the goal of providers maintaining staffing levels while remaining compliant with the mandate.
ODH is monitoring vaccine booster status; distributed info for vaccine providers
The Ohio Department of Health is following closely information related to the mRNA booster shots expected to begin in late September. HHS released a statement in mid August announcing that booster shots would be recommended after 8 months of the initial vaccination for the mRNA vaccines: "We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose. At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster. We would also begin efforts to deliver booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities at that time, given the distribution of vaccines to this population early in the vaccine rollout and the continued increased risk that COVID-19 poses to them. We also anticipate booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Administration of the J&J vaccine did not begin in the U.S. until March 2021, and we expect more data on J&J in the next few weeks. With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well."
ODH issued the following information to vaccine providers:
The Ohio Department of Health is reviewing the latest data. In the meantime, ODH would like to share with COVID-19 vaccine providers key messages to share with patients. We’ve also included links to the newly published CDC reports for your review.
Key messages/talking points:
- The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.
- Although we continue to see stable and highly effective protection against hospitalizations and severe outcomes for people who are fully vaccinated, we are seeing a decrease in vaccine effectiveness against infection.
- The White House outlined a plan to offer booster doses for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to fully vaccinated adults 18 and older eight months after their second dose of the vaccine.
- This plan would tentatively begin on Sept. 20 for those Americans who received the first doses of mRNA vaccines in the winter, including older Ohioans, those in long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers. At this time, the need for and timing of booster doses for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients is still under study.
- This plan is still contingent on a recommendation by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and approval by the FDA.
Save the date: ASHS Fall Conference Dec 9 and 10!
The Academy will be hosting its 2021 Fall Conference and Annual Meeting on Dec 9 and 10! The conference will once again be virtual via Zoom. While we understand people want in-person meetings and conferences again, the Delta variant along with the continued stress providers face with staffing has led us to another virtual conference. We really hope hindsight suggests this a terrible decision and by December we are back to living like it was 2019. But given attendees work with the most vulnerable population and to error on the side of caution, we will be keeping it real online. So join us via computer/tablet/phone December 9 and 10! More details coming soon!
- Click Here to read The Academy Weekly in PDF format