COVID-19: Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program

The federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program provides onsite vaccinators for Wisconsin’s long-term care facilities. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies (referred to as the vaccinator) have been contracted to offer onsite COVID-19 vaccination services to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that participate in this program.

This will facilitate safe vaccination of this critical patient population, and reduce the burden on long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and health departments. This program began vaccinating patients at skilled nursing facilities on December 28.

In the frequently asked questions below:

  • Facility refers to long-term care facilities that are participating in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program.
  • Vaccinator or provider refers to the pharmacy (Walgreens or CVS) that will be providing and managing vaccine for the facility.
  • Program refers to the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care.
  • The State refers to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

General program information

When will the program start and how long will it last?

Governor Evers announced on Monday, December 14 that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has officially activated the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long -Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. The program will utilize the Moderna vaccine. The effort, beginning with skilled nursing facilities, began on Dec. 28, 2020. This program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC.

Activation of Part B (vaccination of the remaining facilities enrolled in the program) was announced by DHS on January 7th, 2021 and is effective at the federal level January 25, 2021. However, vaccinators such as pharmacies may begin vaccinating assisted living and other remaining facilities as soon as they have adequate vaccine.

CDC expects the Pharmacy Partnership for long-term care services to continue on-site at participating facilities for approximately two months from the date of the first vaccination clinic. After the initial two months of vaccinations, facilities that matched with Walgreens or CVS may continue working with them or shift to another pharmacy provider that is enrolled with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to provide COVID-19 vaccine on a routine basis.

What types of facilities will be vaccinated through this program?

Long-term care facilities including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities (residential long-term care facilities providing assistance and supervision to primarily elderly residents with activities of daily living and skills for independent living), and similar congregate living settings where most individuals receiving care/supervision are older than 65 years of age are eligible for this program.

Eligible facilities include:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Residential care
  • HUD 202 facilities
  • Veteran’s homes (federal and non-federal)

Non-eligible facilities include:

  • Substance abuse recovery centers
  • Psychiatric care facilities for younger adults
  • Children’s/pediatric care facilities
  • Independent living
  • Adult day care programs

How is it being determined which facilities get the vaccine first?

The program is split into two components. Part A includes vaccination of skilled nursing facilities, and Part B includes vaccination of the remaining facilities enrolled in the program. 

Part A began on December 28, 2020 and is ongoing. Activation of Part B was announced by DHS on January 7th, 2021 and is effective at the federal level January 25, 2021. However, pharmacies may begin vaccinating assisted living and other remaining facilities as soon as they have adequate vaccine.

Not every facility in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will receive vaccine on the same day. It is anticipated that facilities will have their first vaccine clinic within several weeks of the start of the program; these clinics will be scheduled by the pharmacies, taking CDC prioritization guidelines and operational efficiency into consideration.

How can I contact the pharmacies?

CVS

Walgreens

Program enrollment

Can facilities still enroll in this program?

No. Enrollment into the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program has closed. Enrollment into this program is non-binding. If your facility is not enrolled or is ineligible for the program, please email dhscovidvaccinator@wi.gov.

Does my facility need to complete the COVID-19 Vaccinator Enrollment process if we are participating in the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program?

A long-term care facility only needs to complete the COVID-19 vaccinator enrollment process if they plan to provide vaccine, either for their staff, and/or for their residents themselves, meaning they will order, store, manage, administer and report doses to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry. Steps for this process are outlined on the COVID-19 Vaccinator webpage. If you are working with a partner to vaccinate your staff and residents, the partner will enroll as a vaccinator.

I signed up to have Walgreens/CVS be our vaccination provider through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program but have not heard from them. What is the next step?

Walgreens and CVS have received the enrollment data for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long -Term Care Program and are reaching out to facilities. If your facility is enrolled and you have not yet received information from Walgreens or CVS, please email dhscovidvaccinator@wi.gov.

Walgreens/CVS reached out to us. Can we work with a different pharmacy partner instead?

Walgreens and CVS are reaching out if a facility indicated them either as a preference or contingency option. Enrollment is non-binding and facilities maintain the right to decline services at any time from the federal Partnership and Walgreens or CVS. Facilities should have received an email with more information about this process on January 7th, 2021.

If a facility wishes to opt out of the federal program and work with a different pharmacy the following items must be done:

  1. Pharmacy chosen must ensure they are enrolled with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a COVID-19 Vaccinator
    • For pharmacies that completed this process after November 25, 2020, Wisconsin DHS cannot guarantee that they will be eligible to administer vaccine at the initial onset of the Pharmacy Partnership Program for Long-Term Care program. Vaccinator enrollment is ongoing and DHS will work with pharmacy partners to get them enrolled as a vaccinator as soon as possible.
  2. Facility must communicate declination of services to Walgreens or CVS.
  3. Pharmacy or the facility should communicate to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services via dhscovidvaccinator@wi.gov that the facility declined the federal Partnership. This can assist in vaccine allocation planning.

Can facilities update their contact information for the program?

Wisconsin DHS is unable to update contact information. Please visit the website below that corresponds to the pharmacy you are matched with to find out how you can communicate any contact information updates. If pharmacies are unable to reach you, they will let CDC know and they will reach out to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services if necessary.

What if both CVS and Walgreens have reached out to our facility?

In this case, you should choose which pharmacy they would like to work with and inform the pharmacies accordingly so that the appropriate pharmacy can either keep or remove them from their list.

Staff vaccination

Can staff at my facility get vaccinated via this program?

Yes. Federal pharmacy partners will vaccinate both long-term care facility residents and staff at the same onsite clinics.

What if some long-term care facility staff are not onsite the day of the vaccination clinic? How will they get vaccinated?

Long-term care facility staff are considered health care personnel and are eligible for vaccination in Phase 1a according to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. It is anticipated that pharmacies will schedule three onsite clinics for each facility to accommodate residents and/or staff not present for previous clinics.

Should our staff be prepared to provide their insurance for the administration fee of the vaccinator?

Yes. Walgreens and CVS are asking for insurance information from residents and staff as they can bill insurance for the vaccine administration fee. However, pharmacies cannot deny vaccination should a person not have insurance.

Our long-term care facility employs staff as young as 16 years of age. How will they be vaccinated if Moderna is only approved for individuals 18 and older?

These staff may be vaccinated by another provider according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services plans to vaccinate its healthcare workers. More information is forthcoming.

What staff will the pharmacies vaccinate?

Vaccination plans are based on the roster that facilities will be asked to provide to the pharmacies in advance of clinic scheduling. Direct and ancillary staff who can come in contact with residents who are able to transmit SARS-CoV-2, and/or infectious material containing SARS-CoV-2 virus are eligible for vaccination.

How might facilities address staffing challenges in the event that staff experience post-vaccination symptoms?

These Centers for Disease Control & Prevention resources address these concerns and can help facilities prepare:

Onsite clinics

What if a person leaves a facility after receiving the first dose but before they are due for the second dose?

People who receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of the long-term care program, but are not onsite to receive the second dose should plan to return to the facility when the second clinic takes place. This guarantees that the second dose will be available to them. If a resident has been transferred to a new facility, that individual should provide their vaccination record to the facility to ensure they are set to receive the second dose when a vaccination clinic is held at the new facility.

How would new long-term care facility residents be vaccinated?

After the initial phase of vaccinations, the facility can choose to continue to work with the pharmacy that provided their initial on-site clinics for additional doses or can choose to work with a pharmacy provider of their choice that has successfully complete the COVID-19 Vaccinator Enrollment process through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Is there a consent form?

There is no special federal or state requirement for consent forms for COVID-19 vaccines, so CDC and DHS are not intending to provide templates. Walgreens and CVS will be providing and requiring consent forms. Vaccinating entities are free to use a consent form they have developed for their own needs in addition to the form used by the pharmacies.

There is a requirement to provide the Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheet for the specific COVID-19 vaccine to each person administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

When pharmacies go on site will they have an emergency kit including Epi, Benadryl, etc. or are facilities responsible for being prepared for that?

Yes, both CVS and Walgreens vaccinators will bring these materials to the onsite clinics.

If a non-skilled nursing facility is connected to or in the same building as a skilled nursing facility, would that facility be vaccinated at the same time as the skilled nursing facility?

Now that part B of the program has been activated, DHS has authorized CVS and Walgreens to include attached independent living facility residents and staff who are on the same campus as the skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility when those vaccination clinics are scheduled.   


Due to the size of some independent living settings that are attached to skilled and assisted living facilities, the pharmacies may not be able to adjust the schedule for those scheduled over the next two weeks to include the independent facilities, but will work to schedule them for future clinics.


Non-SNF facilities, including Independent living facilities, attached to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities are being vaccinated due to resident and staff intermingling across the campus setting and for operational efficiency since the pharmacies will be on the campus to administer vaccine. Residents in unattached independent living facilities are not eligible for the federal program and will receive vaccine in other phases of the vaccine rollout as set by the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC).

Where can I get more information about the onsite clinics or the consent process for my pharmacy partner?

CVS

Walgreens

Costs/Billing

What costs are we responsible for if we choose to participate in the pharmacy partnership program?

The federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long -Term Care program is free of charge to facilities. CVS or Walgreens will bill private and public insurance for the vaccine administration fee. Get additional information regarding COVID-19 vaccination costs.

If the facility chooses its own pharmacy provider, will that pharmacy provider receive a payment for administering the vaccine?

Yes, it is anticipated that pharmacy providers will bill public and private insurance for the vaccine administration fees.

Regulations/Reporting

Is Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandating residents to be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine?

Not at this time. Please refer to CMS directly for requirements around COVID-19 vaccine in long-term care facilities.

Last Revised: January 19, 2021