COVID Updates

Thursday, April 14, 2022
COVID-19 Community Impact Level Increased to Medium


Following the arrival of the new Omicron BA.2 variant, now the predominant strain of COVID-19 in DC and the U.S., the level of risk for COVID-19 Community Spread in DC has been increased to Medium after nearly two months in the low range.

This status change means there are moderate levels of COVID-19 disease severity and a resulting moderate impact on DC’s healthcare system. Keys to protection for Unity staff and patients continue to be staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination, physical distancing, and universal source control – wearing an appropriate mask (and eye protection in patient service areas) – at all Unity locations.

Updates to Vaccine Recommendations: 2nd Booster for Ages 50+


As pandemic response evolves, the CDC continues to adjust vaccination recommendations to best protect the population. CDC recommends a booster dose for all people 12 years and older. Some people are now recommended to get a second booster. Here is what you need to know

  • A second booster dose is now recommended for all adults over the age of 50, at least 4 months after the first booster dose. A second booster dose is also recommended for moderately or severely immunocompromised patients ages 12 and up.
  • Patients getting their first dose of the primary series may wait 4-8 weeks for the second dose of Moderna vaccine, or 3-8 weeks for the second dose of Pfizer vaccine. This waiting period may be optimal for male patients 12-39 years of age to reduce the very small risk of myocarditis. (Remember: the risk of myocarditis after infection with COVID-19 is higher than the very small risk of myocarditis from receiving the vaccine!)

Expansion of Access to Oral COVID-19 Therapeutics at Unity


We continue to offer oral COVID-19 therapeutics at no charge to qualifying patients testing positive for COVID-19 and at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. DC Health has broadened the guidance to include any patient 65 years or older with COVID-19 within the first 5 days of symptom onset. Review the most recent DC Health Guidance on Use of Oral Antivirals for COVID-19 Illness or the Pfizer PAXLOVID Info Hub for more on key clinical considerations for these therapeutics.

Same-day or next-day home prescription delivery is an option for at-home patients. Patients or family members may also call the pharmacy to be met outside for curbside delivery. Prescriptions for on-site patients can be expedited and delivered to a designated room/area by pharmacy staff.

Rapid Point-of-Care COVID-19 Tests


Rapid point-of-care COVID–19 tests are available at all Unity Health Centers for distribution to employees, patients, patients’ families, or the general public. Please see access control, patient registration, a medical assistant, your health center director, or your nurse manager to retrieve tests as needed. When distributing tests, please attach both instructional handouts linked below:

RESOURCES


Documentation for COVID-19 Vaccination Administration: The latest COVID-19 vaccination documentation is listed below and housed in the Clinical Resource Library:

 

REMINDERS


COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to MedStar COVID Recovery Program or GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links


 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Rapid Self-Test Kits for Unity Patients: Distribution Guidelines


COVID-19 rapid self-test kits are here and ready to be given out to Unity patients! Here’s what you need to know about how they should be distributed:

  • At this time, Medical Assistants should automatically offer 2 QuickVue rapid self-test kits (each kit contains 2 individual tests) to every patient during their visit.

  • If a patient requests more than the standard 2 QuickVue rapid self-test kits, we can help! Providers or other care team members can use their discretion to provide additional test kits during the course of the patient’s appointment.
    • Many of our patients live in multi-generational or multi-family households. Our goal is to supply them with the number of tests they need to best support the health of their household. Due to the large number of available tests and testing options, we are currently able to provide for our patients without fear of resource scarcity or stockpiling.  
  • If a patient without a scheduled appointment comes in seeking rapid tests, we can help! Access Control has been directed to distribute test kits to patients who request them.
  • Every patient receiving a rapid test kit should receive a printed copy of the Self-Testing Handout linked here.

COVID-19 Booster Requirement


As announced last week, all Unity Health Care staff must receive a COVID-19 booster shot by March 1, 2022, or as soon as they become eligible. Employees not in compliance with this policy will be placed on unpaid leave until their employment status is determined by the Department of Employee Experience and Engagement. Please review the full policy linked here.

Please note, employees working on DC contracts (WIC, DOC, School Based Health Centers, and Healthcare for the Homeless teams) must comply with the mayor’s earlier mandated deadline of February 15. Adherence is critical to ensure we stay in compliance and maintain good working relationships with our DC government partners.

Already boosted? Great! Staff that have already received their booster can proactively submit proof of their vaccination status through the form linked here.

Anyone who received Pfizer or Moderna for the primary series can get a Moderna booster at least 5 months after completing the primary series. If you received the J&J primary series, you can get a Moderna booster at least 2 months after receiving the initial J&J vaccine.

If you are still in need of a booster shot, you can contact the nurse manager at you’re your preferred Unity site to schedule a vaccination appointment, visit vaccines.gov to find a location nearest you, or attend Unity’s Staff Wellness Pop-Up Event – more details below!

Mark Your Calendar! Staff Wellness Pop-Up Event at Parkside


Grab some free lunch, visit with colleagues, and snag a COVID-19 booster appointment on Saturday, February 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Unity’s Parkside Health Center! This event is for Unity employees only. An RSVP link and a sign-up link for booster appointments during the event will be emailed soon!

Staff Wellness Pop-Up Event at Parkside

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


Update to CDC Pre-Vaccination Checklist: Updated versions of the CDC’s pre-vaccination checklist are now available in English and Spanish in the Clinical Resource Library. Updates include additional screening questions about the history of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) or CAR-T-cell therapy, screening for allergic reactions, and the modification of some regarding previous doses and vaccination records.

RESOURCES


Documentation for COVID-19 Vaccination Administration: The latest COVID-19 booster documentation is listed below and linked in the Clinical Resource Library:

 

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to MedStar COVID Recovery Program or GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

REMINDERS


Oral COVID-19 Therapeutics at Unity: We continue to offer oral COVID-19 therapeutics at no charge to qualifying patients testing positive for COVID-19 and at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. Those ordering oral COVID-19 therapeutics should adhere to the following workflows:

  • To avoid delay, ordering providers should contact Unity pharmacies via phone to relay that an urgent prescription is being transmitted for the treatment of COVID-19.
  • For at-home patients, same-day or next-day home prescription delivery is an option. Patients or family members may also call the pharmacy to be met outside for curbside delivery.
  • For patients onsite, prescriptions can be expedited and delivered to a designated room/area by pharmacy staff with adherence to Unity’s Infection Control guidance if patient is symptomatic.

For a refresher on the key clinical considerations for these therapeutics, review the DC Health Guidance on Use of Oral Antivirals for COVID-19 Illness or the Pfizer PAXLOVID Info Hub.

Requesting COVID-19 Leave Through ECHO: Eligible employees can still request COVID-19 leave through Unity's Employee Contributions Helping Others Program through the form linked here. Review the policy linked here for more information on eligibility.

Quick Links


 

Friday, February 4, 2022
QuickVue COVID-19 Rapid Tests Now Available at Unity Sites


Unity now has a supply of QuickVue SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, rapid tests available at our sites. These tests can accurately detect the Omicron variant (among others), are easy to use, can be taken at home, and provide speedy results within 10 to 15 minutes.

QuickVue Rapid TestQuickVue rapid tests are to be used by patients or staff experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection within 6 days of symptom onset, or after a high-risk COVID-19 exposure. Click here for a reminder on what qualifies as a risky COVID-19 exposure. This does not include occasions when appropriate PPE is worn in a healthcare setting.

Nurse Managers will coordinate the distribution of the kits among staff at their respective sites. Kent Campbell, with assistance from Peggy Manley, will coordinate distribution for staff based out of New Jersey Avenue. More information on how tests will be distributed among patients will be available in the coming days. Click here for an instructional video on how to use QuickVue rapid tests.

Unity staff with a positive rapid test result, you should isolate and inform the Infection Control Team as soon as possible at InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org. After testing positive, you may repeat the rapid test on days 5, 6, or 7 of isolation. Proof of a negative test may help you to return to work earlier than after 10 days of isolation. More details about return-to-work may be found in Unity’s Infection Control Guidance.

Receiving a negative rapid test result means the virus was not detected, but it does not completely rule out infection. Repeating the rapid testing process within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected.


Remember, whether you test positive or negative, you should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others. English instructions here. Instrucciones en español aquí.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


New Documentation Following Full FDA Approval of Moderna Vaccine: On January 31, the FDA announced the approval of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, now marketed as Spikevax, confirming that the vaccine met the required rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. Spikevax has the same formulation as the EUA Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and can be used interchangeably with the EUA Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to provide the COVID-19 vaccination series.

Effective February 1, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine consent form will be retired in Unity Health Centers. While it is no longer necessary to have a signed consent for the Moderna vaccine, we will continue to maintain our workflows of screening, counseling, and monitoring for patients receiving the vaccine at our health centers. We are still required to provide a Vaccine Information Fact Sheet (VIS) for every vaccine administered. The updated Moderna/Spikevax VIS can be found here. Additional updated booster documentation is listed below and linked in the Clinical Resource Library:

 

RESOURCES


DC Health COVID Centers in All 8 Wards: Yesterday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health announced that the new Ward 3 COVID Center opens today, Friday, February 4, at 5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW. With the opening of this location, there are now COVID Centers in all 8 Wards offering access to vaccinations, boosters, take-home rapid antigen tests, PCR tests, and KN95 masks. All sites will be open six days a week, as late as 9 p.m., and sites rotate days off so that on any day of the week multiple COVID Centers are open across DC.

COVID Centers All 8 Wards
COVID Sites 2

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to MedStar COVID Recovery Program or GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

REMINDERS


Oral COVID-19 Therapeutics at Unity: We continue to offer oral COVID-19 therapeutics at no charge to qualifying patients testing positive for COVID-19 and at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. Those ordering oral COVID-19 therapeutics should adhere to the following workflows:

  • To avoid delay, ordering providers should contact Unity pharmacies via phone to relay that an urgent prescription is being transmitted for the treatment of COVID-19.
  • For at-home patients, same-day or next-day home prescription delivery is an option. Patients or family members may also call the pharmacy to be met outside for curbside delivery. 
  • For patients onsite, prescriptions can be expedited and delivered to a designated room/area by pharmacy staff with adherence to Unity’s Infection Control guidance if patient is symptomatic.

For a refresher on the key clinical considerations for these therapeutics, review the DC Health Guidance on Use of Oral Antivirals for COVID-19 Illness or the Pfizer PAXLOVID Info Hub.

Requesting COVID-19 Leave Through ECHO: Eligible employees can still request COVID-19 leave through Unity's Employee Contributions Helping Others Program through the form linked here. Review the policy linked here for more information on eligibility.

Quick Links


 



Thursday, January 27, 2022
DC Situational Update: COVID Centers, Free KN95s, Vaccination Requirements


COVID Centers: In today’s Situational Update, Mayor Bowser announced the locations and hours of operation of the additional COVID Centers providing access to vaccinations, boosters, take-home rapid antigen tests, and walk-up testing opportunities for self-administering and registering PCR test. A graphic listing all COVID Centers currently operating is shown here. All sites will be open six days a week with rotating off days.

Free KN95s for DC Residents: High-quality masks matter. Loosely woven cloth masks provide the least protection. Well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer stronger protection, and fitted N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection. Beginning, Friday, January 28, DC residents can pick up 2 FREE KN95 masks per day at one of DC’s COVID Centers below.

COVID Centers DC

District-Wide Vaccination Requirements: By Tuesday, February 15, all DC Government employees must provide proof that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster when eligible. Though boosters are not yet mandated for Unity staff, a mandate is anticipated in the near future. All Unity personnel are strongly encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. Already boosted? Great! Staff that have already received their booster can proactively submit proof of their vaccination status through the form linked here.

Beginning February 15, individuals 12 and older will need to show proof that they have received either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to enter certain indoor venues.

Beginning March 1, all DCPS, charter, independent, private, and parochial school students eligible for a fully FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine (currently applies for ages 16 and older) must be immunized against COVID-19.

Unity Supply of HRSA COVID-19 Rapid Tests


Our supply of rapid COVID-19 tests from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has arrived! The first wave of test kits will be allocated to Unity staff for use at home to report to Infection Control if they are symptomatic. Distribution of staff test kits will begin next week, and guidance will be available then as well. More information about the distribution of rapid test kits to patients will be available in the near future.

Unity Vaccination Clinic Hours & Staff Boosters


The graphic below depicts the most up-to-date hours of operation for Unity’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics. In addition to patient-use, these clinic hours are available for Unity staff to get their booster shots. Unity staff that have not received their booster can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred Unity site below to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Unity Vaccination Clinic Hours & Staff Boosters

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


Oral COVID-19 Therapeutics at Unity: We continue to offer oral COVID-19 therapeutics, at no charge, to qualifying patients testing positive for COVID-19 and at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. To make the most effective use of our supply, we maintain our focus on the distribution of PAXLOVID. Those ordering oral COVID-19 therapeutics should adhere to the following workflows:

  • To avoid delay and assist our pharmacists with prescription prioritization, ordering providers should contact the Unity pharmacy via phone to relay that an urgent prescription is being transmitted for the treatment of COVID-19.
  • For at-home patients, same-day or next-day home prescription delivery is an option; however, providers should be mindful of potential carrier delays, particularly over the weekend. If it’s too late to ensure home delivery within the 5-day window, patients or family members may call the pharmacy to be met outside for curbside service. 
  • For patients onsite, prescriptions can be expedited and delivered to a designated room/area by pharmacy staff with adherence to Unity’s Infection Control guidance if patient is symptomatic.

For a refresher on the key clinical considerations for prescribing these oral therapeutics, review the following documentation:

RESOURCES


COVID-19 Booster Documentation: The latest Moderna Standing Orders have been added to the Clinical Resource Library. These documents, linked below, and the templates in eCW have been updated to reflect the latest changes.

 

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area. 

REMINDERS


Requesting COVID-19 Leave Through ECHO: REMINDER, eligible employees can request COVID-19 leave through Unity's Employee Contributions Helping Others Program through the form linked here.

  • To be eligible to receive donations, staff must have less than 24 hours of leave (including personal, sick, and vacation) in their bank.
  • The max amount of leave that can be requested is 75 hours
  • COVID-19 leave applies to any scenario in which leave must be taken as a result of COVID-19, not just infection.

Quick Links


 

 



Friday, January 21, 2022

Unity Supply of COVID-19 Therapeutics: Workflow & Clinical Considerations


As of this week, we have received supply of the COVID-19 therapeutics PAXLOVID (Pfizer) and Molnupiravir (Merck) from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). To make the most effective use of our supply, we will begin distribution with a focus on PAXLOVID. Below are key clinical considerations for providers and the workflow for those ordering and prescribing PAXLOVID:

Clinical Considerations for PAXLOVID


PAXLOVID is under FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 for those at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. In alignment with DC Health guidance, the following groups are eligible to receive a PAXLOVID prescription through Unity:

  • Patients ages 75+ with a positive antigen or PCR COVID-19 test result
  • Patients ages 65+ with at least one of the following comorbidities and a positive antigen or PCR COVID-19 test result: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, obesity, heart conditions, smoker (current), sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus 
  • Patients ages 12+ with one of the following immune conditions and a positive antigen or PCR COVID-19 test result: actively receiving cancer chemotherapy; on immunosuppressive treatment for organ transplant; with untreated HIV infection and CD4 counts below 50 cells/mm3; with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

Providers should pay close attention to renal dosing for patients with GFR <3 0 and medication interactions with ritonavir (one of the two components of PAXLOVID)

PAXLOVID is not authorized for use as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19. PAXLOVID is not authorized for use for longer than 5 consecutive days

Click here to read more about PAXLOVID. The following links direct to a Provider Fact Sheet and a Patient and Caregiver Fact Sheet.

Workflow for Ordering and Prescribing PAXLOVID

To avoid delay and assist our pharmacists with prioritization, providers ordering PAXLOVID should contact the Unity pharmacy via phone at the numbers below to relay that an urgent prescription is being transmitted for the treatment of COVID-19. Additionally, the date of symptom onset should be added to the prescription notes when ordering.

East of the River: (202) 741-2145; Parkside: (202) 741-5611; Upper Cardozo: (202) 299-1770; Main IVR number to select either pharmacy: (844) 370-6200

For at-home patients, same-day or next-day home prescription delivery is an option; however, providers should be mindful of potential carrier delays, particularly over the weekend.

For patients onsite, prescriptions can be expedited and delivered to a designated room/area by pharmacy staff with adherence to Unity’s Infection Control guidance if patient is symptomatic.

COVID-19 Rapid Tests: HRSA Supply & Ordering through USPS


We are still awaiting our supply of rapid COVID-19 tests from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). When they arrive, guidance on how these supplies will be utilized to best serve Unity patients and the District at large. In the meantime, every home in the U.S. is currently eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through this website to be delivered through USPS.

DC Opens New COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Sites Across the City


This Tuesday, Mayor Bowser announced the opening of 8 new COVID Centers – one in each Ward –that will provide access to vaccinations, boosters, and take-home rapid antigen tests as well as a new walk-up testing opportunity that will allow residents to administer and register a PCR test themselves.

The location and hours of operation for COVID Centers in Wards 1, 2, 7, and 8 are listed below. COVID Centers in Wards 3, 4, 5, and 6 will become operational on Monday, January 24. All sites will be open six days a week. Sites will rotate off days so that multiple COVID Centers will be open across DC on any day of the week.

DC COVID Centers

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


COVID-19 Booster Documentation: The latest Moderna Standing Orders have been added to the Clinical Resource Library. These documents, linked below, and the templates in eCW have been updated to reflect the latest changes.

 

Unity’s EZ Text Alert System: Are You Signed Up? Any disruptions to Unity operations due to inclement weather (delayed starts, snow closures, etc.) or other events, are quickly shared with Unity staff through our EZ Text system. How can you make sure you’re signed up for this voluntary service?

  • If you already receive Unity EZ Text Alerts on your phone from the number 313131, you’re all set!
  • If you don’t receive Unity EZ Text Alerts, and you have not signed up, you can sign up online by visiting https://tapit.us/WRyUw and uploading your first and last name and cell phone number.
  • If you have signed up, but you still don’t receive Unity EZ Text Alerts, you may need to contact your cell phone carrier and request that the block be removed for short code 313131 to receive these messages.

REMINDERS



Staff Booster Shoot SubmitBooster Shots: Get It Then Submit It! All Unity personnel are strongly encouraged to get their Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible. Though boosters are not yet mandated, staff that have already received their booster can proactively submit proof of their vaccination status through the form linked here and accessible through this QR code.

Staff that have not received their booster can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred Unity site to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Requesting COVID-19 Leave Through ECHO: REMINDER, eligible employees can request COVID-19 leave through Unity's Employee Contributions Helping Others Program.

  • To be eligible to receive donations, staff must have less than 24 hours of leave (including personal, sick, and vacation) in their bank.
  • The max amount of leave that can be requested is 75 hours.
  • COVID-19 leave applies to any scenario in which leave must be taken as a result of COVID-19, not just infection.

CLICK TO REQUEST ECHO LEAVE

RESOURCES


COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links


 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

COVID-19 Booster: New Intervals and Updated Documentation


High rates of transmission of the Omicron variant in our community continues to spotlight the importance of vaccination and boosters to protect against severe illness from COVID-19! Per the latest CDC guidance, a COVID-19 booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended at 5 months after completion of the Moderna primary series. This follows last week’s decision recommending a Pfizer booster dose 5 months after the completion of the Pfizer primary series for those aged 12 and older. At this time, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for adolescents ages of 12-17.

Templates in eCW and the documents and resources linked below and in the Clinical Resource Library have been updated to reflect these changes.


Prioritized Rapid Testing for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Senior Age Groups


In a Jan. 10 Situation Update, Mayor Bowser announced that, beginning this week, the District will distribute one rapid antigen test kit per week to all registered pre-K and kindergarten students in DCPS and public charter schools, as well as staff, to be administered before coming back to school on Monday. The District will also distribute rapid antigen tests to all DCPS and public charter schools for use before returning from any break that is at least a full school week (e.g., February Break and Spring Break) for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.

Additionally, it was announced that free rapid COVID-19 antigen tests will be available specifically for DC residents 65 and older at the senior wellness centers listed below. Click here to read the update in full.
Rapid test locations

Booster Shots: Get It Then Submit It!


Booster Shot Submission QR codeAll Unity personnel are strongly encouraged to get their Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible. Though boosters are not yet mandated, staff that have already received their booster can proactively submit proof of their vaccination status through the form linked here and accessible through this QR code.


Staff
that have not received their booster can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred site to schedule their booster during the hours of operation listed below.
Vaccine HC hours

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


Unity Supply of HRSA COVID-19 Rapid Tests and Therapeutics: Our organization is set to receive supply of rapid COVID-19 tests and supply of the COVID-19 therapeutics Paxlovid (Pfizer) and Molnupiravir (Merck) from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the coming days.

Stay tuned for guidance on how these supplies will be utilized to best serve Unity patients. In the meantime, DC Health has issued guidance on the limited supply of COVID-19 therapeutics available in the District, as well as pharmacy locations listed here.

East of the River Pharmacy Reopens: East of the River pharmacy has returned to normal operating hours as of Monday, January 10.

REMINDERS


Requesting COVID-19 Leave Through ECHO: REMINDER, eligible employees can request COVID-19 leave through Unity's Employee Contributions Helping Others Program.

  • To be eligible to receive donations, staff must have less than 24 hours of leave (including personal, sick, and vacation) in their bank.
  • The max amount of leave that can be requested is 75 hours.
  • COVID-19 leave applies to any scenario in which leave must be taken as a result of COVID-19 - required isolation and quarantine, lack of childcare as a result of school closures, etc. - not just infection.

CLICK TO REQUEST ECHO LEAVE

RESOURCES


COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links


 

Friday, January 7, 2022

Infection Control Guidance & Returning-to-Work After Quarantine


At this time, 81 Unity staff are in isolation or quarantine as a result of COVID-19 exposure or illness. It is extremely important that all staff closely follow the Infection Control Guidance and return-to-work protocol outlined below to prevent spread within our sites.

Stay Home When Sick: Any staff experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or other flu-like symptoms (e.g., body aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell), should STAY HOME, notify their direct supervisor, then notify Infection Control at 202-715-6592 or InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org.

Unity’s Infection Control Team has been managing a large number of emails as a result of the Omicron surge, so you may experience a delay of 1-2 business days before receiving a response. Please practice patience, stay home, and communicate closely with your direct supervisor

  • Self-Attest to Your Health Daily: All Unity employees working in-person must continue to self-attest to the status of their health daily and STAY HOME if experiencing any symptoms. Click here for the full list of links and QR codes to attestation forms.
  • Physically Distance: Staff must continue masking in open spaces (e.g., in administrative offices, break areas), or when within 6 feet of others in a closed space. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be in place when eating or when masks are not in use.

 

Wear Proper PPE: All healthcare personnel should wear a KN95 or surgical mask. In addition to universal masking, staff should wear eye protection (face shield or goggles) in patient care areas and other settings where patient care services are provided and 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Anyone with prolonged close contact (about 15 minutes) with a person with suspected of COVID-19 should don: N95 mask, eye protection (face shield or goggles), gown, and gloves.

Understanding Exposure Risk: Knowing what constitutes a high-risk exposure helps you and the Infection Control Team determine whether isolation is required following an interaction. ANY interaction in the workplace in which the Unity employee is wearing appropriate PPE is not considered a high-risk interaction. All exposure scenarios and their risk levels can be reviewed in this chart.

Get Your Booster Shot: All Unity personnel are strongly encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. Staff can reach out to the Nurse Manager at their preferred site to schedule their booster during the hours listed below. 


Health Centers Vaccine Hours

While boosters are not yet mandated, Unity staff can proactively submit proof of booster status through the this form also accessible through the QR code below.


  • Return to Work Safely: Community spread of COVID-19 is high in our region, and as a result, staff may be exposed to or infected with COVID-19 despite of workplace safety measures. Below are work restrictions for staff that test positive for or experience symptoms of COVID-19.
    Unity is currently operating under the
    CONVENTIONAL status listed below. More info, including return-to-work criteria for immunocompromised staff, is located in the full Infection Control document linked here.
Work restriction

Updated COVID-19 Booster Guidance: New Interval for Pfizer Booster


Below are highlights from the CDC’s latest COVID-19 booster guidance intended to optimize protection against the Omicron variant. Standing orders and eCW templates reflecting these updates for use in Unity COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics are pending. In the meantime, Unity providers may place an immunization order for the recommended doses during a provider visit. Click here to access an updated version of Unity’s Booster Decision Tree. Click here to review the full CDC guidance document.

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 booster is now recommended at 5 months after the completion of the Pfizer primary series for those aged 12 and older. This recommendation decreases the recommended booster interval and expands eligibility of booster doses to include 12-15 year olds. At this time only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for adolescents over the age of 12.

Bosster Decision TreeThe booster interval recommendation for recipients of the J&J or Moderna vaccines has not changed. Unity’s Booster Decision Tree (excerpt shown) can help clearly communicate this information during patient-clinical team conversations.

  • Moderately or severely immunocompromised 5-11 year olds should receive an additional dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot, consistent with recommendations for vulnerable adolescents and adults. Click here for more information on who qualifies as moderately or severely immunocompromised.

 Unity to Offer COVID-19 Treatments & Therapeutics


We are excited to announce that Unity Health Care will be one of only 200 health centers in the U.S. selected to receive HRSA supply of the antiviral therapeutics Paxlovid (Pfizer) and Molnupiravir (Merck) as part of the country's first round of availability. These oral medications, recently given Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, have shown to help keep high-risk patients infected with COVID from developing severe illness when given in the first days of symptoms starting.

We expect to receive our supply of COVID-19 therapeutics from HRSA withing the next 7-10 days. In the meantime, DC Health has issued guidance on the limited supply available in the District. Patients and providers can explore the limited supply available at the Safeway pharmacies listed here. These services will be limited to patients with qualifying conditions

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


East of the River Pharmacy Reopening Monday: East of the River pharmacy plans to reopen for normal services on Monday, January 10. Until then, pharmacy services remain condensed to Upper Cardozo and Parkside Health Centers. Any patients unable to retrieve their medications from those Parkside or Upper Cardozo Health Centers will be able to receive them through the mail. Developments will be shared as more information is available.

WIC Office Closed Through End of Week: The Anacostia WIC office will be closed until Monday, January 10, due to equipment outages that must be resolved by DC Health.

REMINDERS


COVID-19 Leave: Donating, Requesting, and Appropriate Coding

REMINDER, eligible employees can still request COVID-19 leave through Unity's ECHO (Employee Contributions Helping Others) Program. Last year, we reallocated 1700+ hours of donated leave to support our staff in need of time. We encourage those able to donate to do so and those in need of leave to revisit the related policy and criteria.

Notes for Leave Requestors

  • To be eligible to receive donations, staff must have less than 24 hours of leave (including personal, sick, and vacation) in their bank.
  • The max amount of leave that can be requested is 75 hours.
  • COVID-19 leave applies to any scenario in which leave must be taken as a result of COVID-19 - required isolation and quarantine, lack of childcare as a result of school closures, etc. - not just infection.

Notes for Leave Donors

Staff with excess leave, especially those with the option to work remotely, are encouraged to consider donating through Unity’s ECHO Program to support their colleagues with less flexibility.

  • For most employees, the max amount of vacation leave that can rollover is 120 hours; if you are near that amount, please consider donating!
  • The max amount of sick leave that can be rolled over is 600 hours; if you are near that amount, please consider donating!

 

City-Wide Vaccine Requirement: Starting January 15, the District will be under a city-wide vaccine mandate requiring patrons ages 12 and older to verify that they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before entering restaurants, bars, nightclubs, indoor cultural and entertainment facilities, indoor exercise and recreational establishments, and indoor event and meeting establishments. Be prepared for patients to ask for proof of vaccination that might have lost theirs. Patients can access their records by registering for the MyIR portal using the link here.

RESOURCES


COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

•            MedStar COVID Recovery Program
•            GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic

Quick Links


 

 

 

Thursday, December 30, 2021
Return-to-Work Protocol & Infection Control Guidance

In response to community spread of the Omicron variant, we are outlining updates to Infection Control Guidance, including the latest return-to-work protocol for individuals who have been exposed to, tested positive for, and/or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The term “healthcare personnel” used in documentation and the text below applies to ALL Unity staff and contractors.

Managing Employee Illness and Exposure 

Managing Employee Illness Exposure

Click here to access Unity's Guide to Risk Level in COVID-19 Exposure Scenarios. More detailed information on return-to-work criteria following COVID-19 infection, including information for immunocompromised staff, is located in the full Infection Control documentation linked here.

Infection Control Procedures

  • All healthcare personnel working in-person must self-attest to the status of their health daily. Click here for the full list of links and QR codes to attestation forms.
    • It is crucial that employees with fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or other flu-like symptoms (e.g., body aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell) NOT come into work. Sick employees should stay home and notify their direct supervisor and Infection Control at 202-715-6592 or InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org.
  • Outside of the healthcare setting (e.g., in administrative offices, break areas), staff must wear a face mask when in an open space and when within 6 feet of others in a closed space. When eating, physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be in place when face masks are not in use.

Through it all, our tenets of Infection Control below – now including full vaccination! – remain our best defense against all COVID-19 variants. This information can be reviewed and shared in Unity’s Infection Control Guidance documentation linked here.

Get your booster Shot

All Unity personnel are strongly encouraged to get their Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible – 6 months after receiving the final Pfizer or Moderna dose or 2 months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson dose.

Fully vaccinated people with boosters are 20 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than their unvaccinated counterparts. Don’t wait! Unity staff can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred site to schedule their booster during the hours of operation listed below.
Health Centers Vaccine Hours

OPERATIONAL UPDATES


COVID-19 Leave: Donating, Requesting, and Appropriate Coding

REMINDER, eligible employees can still request COVID-19 leave through Unity's ECHO (Employee Contributions Helping Others) Program. Last year, we were able to reallocate 1700+ hours of donated leave to support our staff in need of time. As breakthrough cases of COVID-19 impact our staff, we encourage those able to donate to do so and those in need of leave to revisit the related policy and criteria.

Notes for Leave Requestors

  • To be eligible to receive donations, staff must have less than 24 hours of leave (including personal, sick, and vacation) in their bank.
  • The max amount of leave that can be requested is 75 hours.
  • COVID-19 leave applies to any scenario in which leave must be taken as a result of COVID-19 - required isolation and quarantine, lack of childcare as a result of school closures, etc. - not just COVID-19 infection.

Notes for Leave Donors

Using sick or personal leave for mild symptoms or to comply with required isolation can pose difficult circumstances for Unity staff without the ability to work remotely. Staff with excess leave, especially those with the option to work remotely, are encouraged to consider donating a portion of their leave through Unity’s ECHO Program to support our colleagues with less flexibility.

  • For most employees, the max amount of vacation leave that can rollover is 120 hours. "Use or Lose" is only 9 days away; if you are near the amount of max accumulated leave, please consider putting that leave to good use by donating!
  • The max amount of sick leave that can be rolled over is 600 hours; if you are near this amount of accumulated leave, please consider donating!

Additionally, make sure you’re coding COVID-19 leave appropriately in ADP! While leave will still come out of your personal leave bank unless EEE has approved donation, data collection for COVID-19-related leave is operationally important.

East of the River Pharmacy Remains Temporarily Closed: Due to the number of staff and contractors symptomatic with COVID-19, East of the River pharmacy remains temporarily closed. All pharmacy services have been condensed to Upper Cardozo and Parkside Health Centers. East of the River pharmacy patients and prescriptions should be routed to Parkside or Upper Cardozo. Any patients unable to retrieve their medications from those sites will be able to receive them through the mail. Developments will be shared as more information is available.

Now Active! Positive COVID-19 Result Text Notification Campaign: Text notifications for patients with positive COVID-19 test results have resumed! Patients who have a cell phone number listed in eCW will receive a text notification of an abnormal test result. Over the holiday season, the message will be sent automatically within 48 hours of being resulted, whether the lab is reviewed or not.

Patients with a positive or inconclusive test result will receive the message: “Your test result from [date] was abnormal. You will receive a call from a member of our team soon, or you may access the portal or contact 202-469-4699 for more information.”

In addition to the text notification, health center teams should continue to contact patients with positive test results through phone calls to assess symptoms, discuss treatment if indicated, counsel on isolation instructions, and review signs and symptoms with patients that indicate severe or worsening illness and require a return to care for urgent evaluation. 

REMINDERS


City-Wide Vaccine Requirement: Mayor Bowser announced a city-wide vaccine requirement called VaxDC starting January 15, 2022, at 6:00 a.m. in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, indoor cultural and entertainment facilities, indoor exercise and recreational establishments, and indoor event and meeting establishments. Businesses will be required to verify that patrons ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Acceptable types of proof of vaccination include:

  • CDC issued verification card: original or photocopy or photo
  • Immunization record print out from the patient portal of their vaccine/healthcare provider 
  • A COVID-19 Verification App such as VaxYes or CLEAR

Be prepared for questions from patients that might have lost their proof of vaccination. Patients can access their records by registering for the MyIR portal using the link here.

Vaccine Mandate for DC Students: Starting March 1, 2022, all DCPS, charter, independent, private, and parochial students who are eligible must be immunized against COVID-19. Per the Mayor, enforcement will begin in the 2022-2023 school year. Students will have 70 days from date of eligibility to get their vaccination.

RESOURCES


Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Currently Unavailable through Community of Hope and MedStar Health: At this time, referrals for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy are not available through Community of Hope or MedStar Health. Updates on availability for these therapies will be shared as they arise.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links




Thursday, December 23, 2021

Positive COVID-19 Result Text Notification Campaign


Coming soon, we are reviving the positive COVID text notifications at this phase of the pandemic when testing volume is once again high and staffing resources are limited. Patients who have a cell phone number listed in eCW will receive a text notification of an abnormal test result.

In addition to the text notification, health center teams should continue to contact patients with positive test results through phone calls to assess symptoms, discuss treatment if indicated, counsel on isolation instructions, and review signs and symptoms with patients that indicate severe or worsening illness and require a return to care for urgent evaluation.

Booster Shots


We continue to see data that strongly encourages booster shots. Did you know that fully vaccinated people with boosters are 20 times less likely than unvaccinated people to die from COVID-19, as shared in the Mayor’s Situation Update on 12/22/21.
Get Vaccinated and Booster 12-23-21

Don’t delay and get your booster shot! Unity staff can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred site to schedule time to get the booster. Please see the vaccine clinic times below:
Health Centers Vaccine Hours

District Guidance on Holiday Gatherings


DC Health released guidance on holiday gatherings amidst the current rise in COVID-19 cases.

  • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. Avoid crowded indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid events held in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Choose less busy times to attend holiday activities. 
  • Choose to attend (or host) small gatherings instead of large gatherings.

*Use testing to know your status and the status of people around you

City-Wide Vaccine Requirement


Heads up! Mayor Bowser announced a city-wide vaccine requirement called VaxDC starting January 15, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. at certain establishments including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, indoor cultural and entertainment facilities, indoor exercise and recreational establishments, indoor event and meeting establishments. Businesses will be required to verify that patrons ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Acceptable types of proof of vaccination include:

  • CDC issued verification card: original or photocopy or photo
  • Immunization record print out from the patient portal of their vaccine/healthcare provider 
  • A COVID-19 Verification App such as VaxYes or CLEAR

Let’s make sure we are prepared for patients asking for proof of vaccination that might have lost theirs. Patients can access their records by registering for the MyIR portal using the link here.

Vaccine Mandate for DC Students


The Mayor also announced yesterday that starting March 1, 2022 all DCPS, charter, independent, private, and parochial students who are eligible must be immunized against COVID-19. Enforcement will begin in the 2022-2023 school year. Students will have 70 days from date of eligibility to get their vaccination.

RESOURCES


Monoclonal Antibody Therapy through Community of Hope and MedStar Health: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to learn about offerings available through Community of Hope. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access a referral form for therapy through MedStar Health. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations around the country.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links


 

Monday, December 20, 2021

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY


  • Coronavirus variants - Omicron and Delta
  • Increase immunity with a booster shot
  • Planning ahead for virtual learning for local school systems
  • CDC updates recommendations on preferred COVID-19 vaccines 
  • Reminder on how patients receive COVID-19 test results

Coronavirus Variants


A few weeks ago, we saw the emergence of the Omicron variant in the U.S. While there is still a lot to learn about the variant, early data shows that Omicron spreads more easily than the original COVID-19 virus and we are expecting a rapid increase in cases. However, despite the attention Omicron is getting at the moment, Delta continues to be the main variant circulating in the country and in the District. Vaccines and boosters remain to be the BEST tool we have to protect ourselves and community against the virus. We still have a lot to learn about the variant, but early data suggests that vaccines are working against hospitalization, serious illness and death.

We are prepared at our health centers!! Vaccines, booster shots, and infection control measures are all ways we can work together to slow the spread and protect ourselves, loved ones, and patients. Source control with all patients in a mask and staff in a mask and eye protection greatly reduces the chance of spread. Continuing to physically distance especially at high-risk times like when eating, washing our hands, and staying home when sick can greatly reduce transmission of the virus and keep us healthy.

Increase Immunity with a Booster Shot


Boosters are recommended for all vaccinated people ages 18 and up at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

We anticipate that the Mayor will mandate boosters for health care workers so please consider getting your booster vaccination soon if you have not done so already. Unity staff can reach out to the nurse manager at their preferred site to schedule time to get the booster.

Uptick in COVID-19 Cases in Local School Districts | PGCPS Moves to Virtual Learning


Due to a recent uptick in COVID cases throughout PGCPS, the school system has transitioned to virtual learning effective Monday, December 20. In-person learning will resume Tuesday, January 18. We anticipate that other staff with children in school may also be experiencing unexpected changes to their schedules as well as schools try to reduce the spread. Staff who need to make adjustments for childcare arrangements should work with their supervisors as soon as possible; also, be proactive and plan ahead with your team so that we can make the necessary accommodations so we can all get through this together. We also ask for everyone’s patience and teamwork as we may need to streamline or adjust operations or move more patients to telehealth based on staff shortages.

With the upcoming holidays and family gatherings happening, we strongly advise for children ages 5 and up to get vaccinated as soon as possible as it lessens out of school time if they are identified as a close contact. For families with children less than 5 years old without COVID vaccination available, the best protection for this age group is for the people who surround them to be fully vaccinated and boosted!

REMINDER: COVID-19 Test Results


As we approach the holidays and anticipate an increase in positive COVID tests at the sites, below is a quick reminder on how we share POSITIVE & NEGATIVE COVID-19 test results with our patients.

Patients who test POSITIVE for COVID-19 are contacted promptly by members of the care team with their positive test results.

Patients who test NEGATIVE for COVID-19 will receive an automated text message that reads: “COVID test result for [first name] was NEGATIVE. Please contact 202-469-4699 if you have any questions or are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath.” This message is available in English and Spanish depending on the language selected in eCW.

Additional reminders:

  • Please let patients know that they can access the LabCorp or Unity portal on demand to receive their results. 
  • Staff working in the respiratory evaluation clinics should notify patients they will receive a text if their test result is negative. Anyone with a positive test result or in need of follow-up should receive a phone call from a member of the Unity team.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccine


The CDC has recently updated its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines with a preference for people to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) over Johnson & Johnson.

If a patient has received J&J vaccine for their first dose, please counsel them about the benefits of selecting a mRNA vaccine for their booster. We are actively working to have mRNA vaccines available at CCNV and our outreach events for the Healthcare for the Homeless.

REMINDER: COVID & FLU Swab


Influenza A is also circulating in the community. LabCorp has tests that can simultaneously detect COVID-19, influenza A/B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

  • COVID-19+Influenza A/B (Test Code: 140147 - CPT: 87636) 
  • COVID-19+Influenza A/B+RSV Virus, NAA (Test Code: 140140 - CPT: 87637)

RESOURCES


Monoclonal Antibody Therapy through Community of Hope and MedStar Health: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to learn about offerings available through Community of Hope. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access a referral form for therapy through MedStar Health. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations around the country.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links


 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Pfizer Vaccines for Ages 12+ Now Available

Starting today, Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available for 12-17 year olds at Unity Health Centers! Children age 5-11 and adolescents age 12-17 can be scheduled to receive their respective primary Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination series through the VAXNurse resource and when ordered during a visit with their provider. Pfizer boosters are also available for adolescents age 16-17.

Booster Shots Appointments


Hours of operation for Unity's COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for ages 12+ listed below:
Vaccination Clinis Hours

Updated Booster Decision Tree

Unity's Booster Decision Tree has been updated to reflect new approvals and supply availability. Clinical team members can use the tool, linked here, to help patients decide whether they're due to receive a booster and which brand of vaccine best suits their needs.

Related Resources


At-Home COVID-19
Tests Delivered Directly to Residence


While there are many options for fast and free COVID-19 testing across the District, some individuals may not be able to access them for various reasons. Below are a few in-home testing options available through DC Health.

  • Ready Responders is a service that will travel to any residence within any of DC’s 8 wards between 8 a.m.- 8 p.m., 7 days a week, to administer a rapid test. This service can be requested over the phone at (202) 602-0814.

More information on testing, vaccination, and other resources for homebound residents can be accessed through the DC Health COVID-19 Hotline at 1-855-363-0333. The call center is open M–F, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

Deadline This Week: Mandatory TB Screening Form Due Dec. 17


To maintain workplace, staff, and patient safety, all Unity staff are required to complete this Annual Tuberculosis (TB) Symptom Screening Form by Dec. 17. Employees that screen positive or work in a facility that experiences known exposure or high risk for transmission will undergo testing through other methods.

RESOURCES


Monoclonal Antibody Therapy through Community of Hope and MedStar Health: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to learn about offerings available through Community of Hope. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access a referral form for therapy through MedStar Health. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations around the country.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area.

Quick Links


 

 



Wednesday, December 1, 2021
New CDC Guidance: Boosters Recommended for All Adults; Omicron Variant


The latest guidance from the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 18 should receive a COVID-19 booster shot either 6 months after completion of their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.

This strengthened recommendation and the recent emergence of the Omicron variant are great motivators to encourage our patients to beef up their immunity by getting their booster dose!

Appointments for patients seeking booster shots are available in the VAXNURSE resource schedules. Primary care providers may also order a booster during a visit through a provider order. Templates with the appropriate booster dose are available in eCW. Clinical team members can use the Unity Booster Decision Tree resource linked here to help patients make decisions about whether it's time for them to receive a booster and which brand of vaccine best suits their needs.

Unity is currently providing the Moderna vaccine at most of our health centers, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at our homeless sites, including CCNV. We are not currently offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or boosters for the 18+ patient population at any Unity location.

Child & Adolescent COVID-19 Vaccines at Unity


Unity continues to offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5-11. This age group can be scheduled for appointments at Anacostia, Brentwood, East of the River, Minnesota Avenue, Parkside, and Upper Cardozo Health Centers through the VAXNurse resource. Both COVID-19 vaccine – Pfizer (5-11) – Dose #1 and Dose #2 templates have been created in eCW.

Information on vaccination appointment availability and workflows for adolescents ages 12-17 will be available shortly. In the meantime, please refer parents and guardians to https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/get-vaccinated to see the full list of sites offering the vaccine across the District.

Mask Mandate + Infection Control at Unity


As you likely know, DC’s indoor mask mandate was lifted on Monday, November 22. This does NOT apply inside any Unity Health Care facility. Masks continue to be required for all persons – staff, patients, and visitors – entering any Unity site.

We can’t get weary...

While we recognize masking can be uncomfortable, it remains one of our most effective tools for maintaining a safe environment for our staff and patients. We’re fortunate that DC has a high vaccination rate relative to other areas of the country, but many of our pediatric patients are just now getting their shot at vaccination, and there is no COVID vaccine authorized for children under the age of 5. Continuing to practice Infection Control measures helps keep our kids and their guardians healthy, while also minimizing the chance that they will have to miss school and other activities important to their development due to quarantine.

New Resources: Spanish Translations of Updated Consents


Spanish versions of the latest Moderna and Pfizer consents have been posted in the Clinical Resource Library at these links

REMINDERS


Tis the Season: Moving Respiratory Evaluation Clinics Indoors

It’s cold! To accommodate our patients during the winter months, our COVID-19 evaluation operations can be moved indoors as appropriate. Whether indoors or outdoors, these respiratory evaluation encounters should still be seen as opportunities to provide comprehensive patient care.

COVID-19 Vaccine Townhall Recap

Townhall RecapEarlier this month, Unity clinical and operational leadership held an all-staff townhall to answer questions from staff related to the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots and pediatric doses. Click here to access a YouTube link to the Townhall recording.

Some information related to scheduling mentioned in this video may have changed since the time of recording. Please make sure you are following the latest guidance.

At-Home COVID-19 Testing: DC is providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access referral form. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations.

Quick Links


 

 

Monday, November 8, 2021
COVID-19 Boosters for Unity Staff


As healthcare workers, Unity Health Care staff ARE eligible for COVID-19 boosters and CAN be vaccinated through our Community Health Centers! Here’s how:

Health Center staff that are at least 6 months out from their last mRNA COVID-19 vaccination or two months out from their Johnson & Johnson vaccination should communicate directly with their site’s Nurse Manager to schedule their booster shot. Nurse Managers will coordinate staff boosters on a staggered schedule to allow for in-clinic coverage during vaccination clinic and in the case of following side-effects (e.g., body aches, chills, low-grade fever, etc. similar to those experienced after previous doses of COVID-19 vaccination).

COVID-19 Boosters for Unity Patients


Our vaccine clinics are ready for booster shots! Standing orders are now available for Moderna and Janssen boosters (see links to the Clinical Resource Library below). We have opened appointments in the BoosterVAX resource schedules and created templates in eCW as seen in the following screenshots.
Bosoter Vax Screenshots

  • The Moderna vaccine is available at most of our health centers, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at our homeless sites, including CCNV. We are not currently offering Pfizer vaccine boosters at any Unity location.
  • Patients may schedule an appointment in the vaccine clinics on the BoosterVAX resource by calling the Patient Scheduling Center, through the patient portal, or staff directly scheduling on the BoosterVAX schedule. 
  • Patients may self-attest to eligibility based on underlying conditions or residential and occupational risk factors, but it remains essential for vaccinators to verify the patient’s age, appropriate dose intervals, and to review clinical considerations identified on the pre-vaccination screening checklist.

Documentation Updated to Include Booster Info:


COVID-19 Vaccination for Unity Patients Ages 5-17


As of today, Monday, Nov. 8, Unity is offering COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine for patients ages 5-11 at select health centers! Both COVID-19 vaccine – Pfizer (5-11) – Dose #1 and Dose #2 templates have been created in eCW as seen in the screenshots below. Leadership is developing workflows and anticipating the rollout of vaccinations for patients ages 12-17 this week.
COVID-19 vaccine – Pfizer 5-11 – Dose 1 and Dose 2 templates

At this time, pediatric Unity patients ages 5-11 can be scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment on the VAXNurse schedules for Anacostia, Brentwood, East of the River, Minnesota Avenue, Parkside, and Upper Cardozo Health Centers. We also plan on offering the vaccine during provider visits at these health centers.

In order to help ensure access for children in this age range, we have opened up scheduling to patients who are established and new to Unity at this time. You may also refer parents and guardians to https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/get-vaccinated to see the full list of sites offering the vaccine across the District.

Documentation for COVID-19 Vaccination in Ages 5-11


Tune In! COVID-19 Vaccination Townhall Tuesday, Nov. 9



Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 12:15 p.m., Unity Leadership will hold an all staff virtual townhall to provide operational information related to COVID-19 booster shots and COVID-19 vaccinations for patients ages 5-17. All staff should have received a calendar appointment with a Zoom link in their Outlook email inbox.

Quick Links




Wednesday, October 27, 2021

BOOSTER SHOT UPDATE


There are now booster recommendations for all three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. The CDC recommends individuals in the groups below that received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series, receive a booster shot 6+ months after completion of their initial series:

The CDC also recommends individuals age 18+ that received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine receive a booster shot 2+ months after their initial series, whether or not they work or reside in high-risk settings, long-term care settings, or have qualifying underlying medical conditions.

Booster Shot COVIDThe CDC’s newest recommendations also allow for mixing and matching doses of booster shots (i.e. Pfizer series + Moderna booster, J&J series + Pfizer booster, etc.). Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Use this Unity Clinical Decision-Making Tool in provider-patient conversations to aide in the decision-making process.

Related Updated Documentation:

Exception: Patients that completed a non-FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e. AstraZeneca, China’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine) outside of the U.S. are not yet eligible for a booster.

Reminder: Difference Between Booster and Third/Additional Dose


A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine series and protection against the virus has decreased over time. Additional doses are administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. This additional dose of an mRNA-COVID-19 vaccine is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series.

Booster Operations at Unity


Unity is preparing workflows for scheduling patients and staff in our vaccine clinics, and we look forward to sharing this information soon! We are working to finalize a standing order, open appointments in the BoosterVAX resource schedules, and create templates in eCW.

In the meantime, patients may be offered a booster shot to be given during a provider visit with a provider ordering the vaccine with the correct dose. The Moderna vaccine is available at most of our health centers, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at several of our homeless sites, including CCNV. We are not currently offering Pfizer vaccine boosters at any Unity location.

eCW Workflow Alert: It is essential for the ordering provider to manually update the booster dose of the Moderna vaccine to 0.25 ml, or half the dose of the primary series. To avoid dosing errors, we recommend that all ordering providers verbally confirm the booster dosage with the Nurse or Medical Assistant who will be giving the vaccine. The admin code for the Moderna booster is 0064A. There is no dose adjustment required for the J&J booster dose. Information about the admin code for the J&J booster dose will be shared as soon as it is available.

Quick Links


 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Third/Additional Dose vs. Booster Dose: What You Need to Know
In recent months, health and regulatory institutions have shared varied information regarding additional doses and booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To help keep things straight, we’ve broken down the differences between additional and booster doses in this chart and provided Unity-specific info on each.
Third Dose vs Booster Shot

Providing Third/Additional Doses at Unity: Unity has conducted targeted outreach to patients who meet criteria for a third dose based on their health conditions. Unity clinicians should be ready to recommend and discuss this option with their immunocompromised patients, taking into consideration their disease severity, treatments, and co-morbidities.

Eligible patients should receive a third dose of the same vaccine that was used for their primary vaccination series. The FDA has NOT approved mixing COVID-19 vaccine series.

Eligible patients who received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be offered a third-dose appointment at a Unity vaccine clinic at least 28 days after the completion of their initial two-dose series. Eligible patients who completed the initial two-dose Pfizer series should be referred to a non-Unity facility for a third-dose appointment.

Moderna Standing Order | Moderna Consent, English | Moderna Consent, Spanish

All patients scheduled for a third dose appointment must complete the updated Pre-Vaccination Checklist. This form serves as an attestation and documentation that a patient has a weakened immune system or takes immunosuppressive drugs or therapies. Patient attestation to meeting the criteria is sufficient, even if their full medical records are not available.

Pre-Vaccination Checklist, English | Pre-Vaccination Checklist, Spanish

Third dose appointments should be scheduled on 3rdVAX resources on the vaccine sites.

Infection Control Reminder: Vaccination and Testing Requirements

Unity Vaccination rateWe’re getting closer and closer to our goal of 100% staff vaccination! As a reminder, failure to comply with Unity’s staff screening and immunization policy by last week's deadline will lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Only Unity staff with documented and approved exemptions will be excluded from disciplinary action; however, staff with an approved exemption from COVID-19 vaccination are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

There are a number of free testing options in DC (including self-testing) linked here and we recommend their use. If you have an approved exemption, you must submit your test results with the Infection Control Team each week by uploading them to this form.

We appreciate that some staff that did not meet the September 19 deadline for completing COVID-19 vaccination are now partially vaccinated. These staff are also required to submit weekly test results to the Infection Control team through this form – on a temporary basis only – until they have completed their COVID-19 vaccination series. If you are still working toward full vaccination, please make sure you have communicated your expected date for full vaccination to your direct supervisor and Unity’s Infection Control team.

Mandated COVID-19 Vaccination for Student Athletes

In her Sept. 20 Situational Update, Mayor Muriel Bowser released a mandate requiring all student-athletes ages 12+ to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1 to participate in school-based sports. Make sure patients and their families are aware of this requirement to ensure the children in their lives can access the countless health and wellness benefits of sports participation!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Staff Recognition: Submission by Taisei Suzuki, DO, Parkside

"I would like to highlight the hard work and team spirit of Laura Redman, Purple Team Care Coordinator at Parkside; Nichelle Lyon, Purple Team Care Coordinator at Parkside; and all Parkside nursing staff, especially Nurses Olibina Ortega and Adassa Grant, who have been working with me very closely."

Laura Redman’s T-Con follow up is excellent in both timing and the clarity of the messages. She also helps with patient scheduling and accommodates patient needs very well. Nichelle Lyon just started in the role of Care Coordinator about 6 months ago after being promoted from PRC. She picked up the work requirements so fast and follows T-Cons very efficiently.

Nurse Ortega is very approachable and follows T-Cons thoroughly, always going the extra mile. She works very collaboratively with me on Vivitrol injections, and it is getting smoother each time. 

Nurse Grant has been assisting with nursing needs on Parkside’s third floor when we face nursing shortages. She also helps me with Vivitrol patients, and her T-Con follow up is excellent as well.”

Do you have a colleague doing amazing things – finding solutions, reaching patients, supporting staff? Help us share our gratitude! Send their name, position, and/or site, along with a brief description of their efforts or successes, via email with subject line, Staff Recognition, to Communications@UnityHealthCare.org, and we’ll highlight your submission in an upcoming all-staff message!

COVID-19 Testing Strategy: Prioritization and At-Home Kits

Unity continues to prioritize testing for existing Unity patients and new patients who screen positive to ensure adequate staffing for our core primary care services. Those new to Unity and/or seeking testing for administrative reasons, such as clearance for travel or weekly employment requirements, will be encouraged to take advantage of other testing options, such as free testing sites and self-testing kits, located throughout the city. Click here for a Unity flyer promoting free testing resources to distribute at health centers. Click here for a full list of Test Yourself DC pick-up and drop-off locations in all 8 wards.

UPDATE: Submitting T-Cons to WIC in eCW

Providers can communicate with WIC by sending T-Cons to “WIC, Unity” through eCW. T-Cons for nutrition or breastfeeding can be sent to the specific WIC staff members below. Click here for step-by-step instructions. Please note, T-Cons should not be sent to Paige Zaitlin, as she is an administrator and does not typically see patients.

Licensed WIC Nutritionists:

Joan Maher, Tafauria Williams, Kayla Hall, Melissa Ordonez-Mendez

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors:

Zeida Eslava-Cortez, Ra’Sheen Jones

 

REMINDERS


Mandatory Competencies & Trainings Due THIS WEEK

All Unity staff have until THIS FRIDAY, October 1, to complete all of the 2021 required competencies and trainings in their MyNetLearning profile. This includes the mandatory Title X training added to MyNetLearning on August 13. 

Click here to access the MyNetLearning login guide!

All of your required trainings should be conveniently located on your MyNetLearning 'To Do List' – no searching needed. It can take around 4 hours to complete the full curriculum. Don’t wait until it's too late! Click here for a guide to ensure your trainings are marked as Completed.

Required COVID-19 Continuing Education (CE) Due Thursday

Through emergency rulemaking, DC Health mandated that licensed practitioners complete 2 hours of CE on COVID-19 vaccines, including, but not limited to, COVID-19 vaccine safety, best practices for counseling patients about COVID-19 vaccines, and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, on or before September 30, 2021. These hours of continuing education may be counted as hours required for public health priorities training hours or optional training hours where applicable. Click here for easy access to the links of available CE resources.

Already completed the training? Keep your certificates of completion, as you may be subject to audit by DC Health and will need to provide proof at the time of your licensure renewal.

RESOURCES


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links




Thursday, August 26, 2021
Clinical Workflow Updates: COVID-19 Vaccine Documentation


Below are several links reflecting updates to clinical documentation utilized in our COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Please make sure the latest versions of this documentation are being used when counseling and vaccinating patients for COVID-19.

  • The Moderna vaccine standing order has been modified to include the recommendation for an additional (third) dose for patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised at least 28 days after the initial 2-dose series with Moderna. With this standing order now in effect, it is no longer necessary to obtain a provider order.
  • The updated Pre-Vaccination Checklist is now available in English and Spanish. The form serves as an attestation and documentation that a patient has a weakened immune system or takes immunosuppressive drugs or therapies. A new clinical consideration about a history of Guillan-Barré Syndrome (GBS) has also been added.
  • The Moderna EUA for recipients and caregivers has also been revised to include information about an additional (third) dose for immunocompromised patients and should replace the previous version distributed to patients who receive Moderna.
  • The Moderna consents in English and Spanish were updated to reflect current guidance on intervals between the COVID vaccine and other routine immunizations.

As a reminder, the additional dose is different from a booster dose! The additional dose after an initial primary vaccine series is recommended because it is likely that the primary vaccine series for immunocompromised patients may have been insufficient. On the other hand, the booster doses are expected to be available in September and are recommended because the initial sufficient immune response to the primary series is likely to have diminished over time.

Additional Links:

Mandatory Staff Vaccination: Receive First Dose of Pfizer Vaccine by August 29 to Meet Deadline


This Sunday, August 29, is the last day for Unity staff can receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination series and remain compliant with the requirement that all Unity staff, contractors, and visiting students be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 19, 2021.

To date, 71% of Unity staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so there’s still work to be done. Failure to comply with Unity’s policy may lead to progressive disciplinary action, up to and including termination, so it is URGENT that all staff begin their vaccination series as soon as possible. Once fully vaccinated, all staff must submit proof of vaccination to Unity’s Infection Control team via the form linked here or by email to InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org.

Unity’s Community Health Center Vaccine Clinics provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine which is widely available to employees at no cost to staff, but staff interested in receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may reach out to site leadership at CCNV to arrange an appointment, and staff interested in receiving the Pfizer vaccine may reach out to site leadership for Unity’s School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) to arrange an appointment. Please note that appointments for Unity staff at the SBHCs are extremely limited as DCPS has stated that adult patients are not able to be present in the building once school is in session starting August 30. We recommend that staff also consider other options for vaccination such as pharmacies who have vaccines readily available.


Do you have questions about the science behind the vaccine? If enough questions are anonymously submitted through this form, Drs. Boyd and Buchholz will lead another All-Staff Townhall addressing questions and concerns about the science and process behind the COVID-19 vaccine.

Scheduling Adolescent Patient Vaccinations at SBHCs

Going forward, Unity staff seeking to schedule a DC adolescent patient for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) must send an action item in eCW to Melva Navarro (Cardozo SBHC) or LaShawn Eberhardt (Woodson SBHC) with a request to schedule and a good contact number to reach the family. As our SBHCs prepare for the regular school session to begin, they will be carefully planning when students are scheduled for vaccination appointments, so direct scheduling through the VAX Nurse for these appointments will no longer be available.

Staff Recognition: Celebrating Your Efforts


As an organization, we’ve been hard at work fighting this pandemic for nearly 19 months. The appreciation and reverence we feel for each staff member would be impossible to sufficiently convey, but we want to create a space to shine a light on the efforts of our staff whenever possible. Do you have a colleague doing amazing things – finding solutions, reaching patients, supporting staff? Help us highlight their contributions and share our gratitude! Send the name, position, and/or site of your colleague, along with a brief description of their efforts or successes, via email with subject line, Staff Recognition, to Communications@UnityHealthCare.org, and we’ll highlight your submission in an upcoming all-staff message!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Prioritizing COVID-19 Testing for Unity Patients

We continue to prioritize Unity patients and new patients that screen positive (have symptoms or a close contact to a person confirmed to have COVID-19) in the use of COVID-19 testing resources and bandwidth. Those new to Unity seeking testing for travel clearance, weekly employment requirements, or other administrative reasons, will be encouraged to take advantage of other free testing options throughout the city or self-testing kits. This approach will help ensure adequate staffing for our core primary care services and streamline testing processes for Unity patients. Flyers and onsite-signage communicating this prioritization and other free testing resources throughout the city will be distributed at health centers in the coming days.

Recent Updates to Infection Control Guidance


The latest adjustments to Unity’s Infection Control Guidance, listed below, serve to protect patients and staff as DC’s COVID-19 daily case rate reaches the level of sustained community transmission.

  • Eye protection, in addition to universal masking, is required for all staff in patient service areas where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained
  • All healthcare personnel (those with direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious material) should wear a KN95 mask (preferred) or surgical mask with a cloth mask over it
  • Fully vaccinated persons with a close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 should consider COVID-19 testing 3 – 5 days after exposure, but do not need to isolate unless presented with symptoms.

COVID-19 Continuing Education Required for Licensed Practitioners

DC Health, through emergency rulemaking, has mandated that a person licensed to practice one of the professions listed must complete 2 hours of continuing education (CE) on COVID-19 vaccines, including, but not limited to, COVID-19 vaccine safety, best practices for counseling patients about COVID-19 vaccines, and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, on or before September 30, 2021. Click here for easy access to the links of available CE resources.
Education

RESOURCES


Heat Emergencies & Cooling Centers: As hot and humid summer days continue, make sure you’re connecting patients in need to available resources. When the temperature or heat index reaches 92 degrees, DC Government implements a Heat Emergency Plan to help residents seeking relief. Click here to view an interactive map of the District’s cooling centers, low-barrier shelters, and more. Anyone in need of transportation to a cooling center should call the hyperthermia hotline at (202) 399-7093.

Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form. Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations.

Quick Links


 



Monday, August 23, 2021

UPDATED COVID-19 TESTING STRATEGY: Prioritizing Existing Unity Patients


We continue to see an uptick of COVID-19 testing at our health centers with established Unity patients and patients who are new to Unity alike. In order to have adequate staffing for our core primary care services and to streamline the testing process, we are prioritizing Unity patients first, followed by new patients who screen positive, i.e. symptomatic or had a close contact with a confirmed COVID case.

We encourage any additional patients, many of whom are seeking testing for administrative reasons like travel or weekly employment requirements, take advantage of other testing options accessible in the city, such as the free DC testing sites or self-testing kits located throughout the city. Non-Unity patients who are asymptomatic will receive a flier from Unity with information about testing at non-Unity locations. Please be on the lookout for the flyer this week to distribute at health center sites.

AT HOME COVID-19 TESTING KITS


Test Yourself DC is a free COVID-19 At Home Testing Kit that allows residents to take a COVID-19 test at home without having to wait in line at a testing site. The COVID-19 At Home Testing Kit should be used by individuals 18 years of age and older or by children ages 3 and older with assistance from a parent or legal guardian. Kits are available for pick-up at 16 libraries located around the city. This is a great resource for non-Unity patients who are ONLY interested in obtaining COVID-19 tests.

For the full list of pick up and drop off locations in all 8 wards: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/testyourself

Please note that testing kits must be picked up and dropped off before 8pm the same day.

UNITY SITUATION UPDATE: Mandatory Staff Vaccination


All Unity staff, contractors, and visiting students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 19, 2021.

Vaccine Information Deadline

Once fully vaccinated, all staff must provide proof of vaccination to Unity’s Infection Control team via the form linked here no later than September 19, 2021. Failure to comply with Unity’s policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, so it is URGENT that all staff begin their vaccination series as soon as possible.

The only exceptions to this requirement are documented religious or medical exemptions that require a reasonable accommodation. To qualify, staff must complete the appropriate exemption forms and submit to InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org, along with accompanying documentation, on the letterhead of your religious leader or medical provider by September 10, 20

Do you have questions about the science behind the vaccine? We want to hear them! If enough staff questions are anonymously submitted through this form, Drs. Boyd and Buchholz will lead another All-Staff Townhall. Please note, this townhall will address questions and concerns about the science and process behind the COVID-19 vaccine, not Unity vaccination policy.21.

INFECTION CONTROL GUIDANCE: Updated!


As DC’s COVID-19 daily case rate has increased and reached the level of sustained community transmission, we have updated our Infection Control Guidance to protect staff and patients. These practices have played a major role in our protection, even before vaccines were available, and they will continue to do so as we work towards Community Immunity.

Below are few highlights from the updated guidance:

  • Requiring eye protection in addition to universal masking for all staff in patient service areas where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained
  • Stay at home if you feel sick and contact your supervisor and Infection Control Team, along with self-attestation when coming to work in person
  • All healthcare personnel (those with direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious material) should wear a KN95 mask (preferred) or surgical mask with a cloth mask over it 
  • Fully vaccinated persons with a close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 should consider COVID-19 testing about 3 – 5 days after exposure, but do not need to isolate unless presented with symptoms.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


New Resource: Moderna Dose Scheduling Calendar

Linked here is a “second dose calendar” for staff to use as a reference to verify the appropriate interval when scheduling second dose appointments for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. Big thank you to Upper Cardozo for creating and sharing this helpful tool!

COVID-19 Continuing Education Required for Licensed Practitioners

COVID-19 Continuing Education Required for Licensed PractitionersThroughout this pandemic, healthcare providers have remained a trusted for their patients. Many patients are not ready to say “yes” to the vaccine, but a strong recommendation and effective vaccine counseling can build vaccine confidence among hesitant populations.

DC Health, through emergency rulemaking, has mandated that a person licensed to practice one of the professions listed here must complete 2 hours of continuing education on COVID-19 vaccines, including, but not limited to, COVID-19 vaccine safety, best practices for counseling patients about COVID-19 vaccines, and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, on or before September 30, 2021. These hours of continuing education may be counted as hours required for public health priorities training hours or optional training hours where applicable. Click here for easy access to the links of available CE resources.

DC Government Resources: Heat Emergencies & Cooling Centers

As hot and humid summer days continue, make sure you’re connecting patients in need to available resources. When the temperature or heat index reaches 92 degrees, DC Government implements a Heat Emergency Plan to help residents seeking relief. Click here to view an interactive map of the District’s cooling centers, low-barrier shelters, and more. Anyone in need of transportation to a cooling center should call the hyperthermia hotline at (202) 399-7093.

RESOURCES


COVID-19 Vaccine Documentation Quick Links:

Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form.

Click here for additional Antibody Therapeutics Distribution locations.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links


 


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Updates to Infection Control Guidance


Creating a safe environment for all Unity staff, patients, and visitors remains a top priority as our pandemic response evolves. Below are highlights from the latest updates to Unity’s Infection Control Guidance. Access the full documentation on the Clinical Resource Library here.
  • Eye protection is no longer routinely required in community health centers and Healthcare for the Homeless settings, except in situations where it would normally be recommended, i.e., expecting body fluid splashes or splatters and aerosol-producing procedures. Please note eye protection is still required in the DOC as per CDC guidance on correctional healthcare.
  • Temperature checks are no longer required upon entry for patients and visitors except where required by other entities (e.g., Department of Corrections). Patients will continue to be screened for symptoms.
  • All staff are still required to self-attest to their health daily and stay home when sick, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Masks are still required for anyone in a healthcare setting – staff, patients, and visitors ages 2 years and up.

Updates to COVID-19 Vaccine Documentation


Several important documents used in the COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been updated to reflect recent clinical considerations about the mRNA and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Health center leadership at sites administering COVID-19 vaccines will work to ensure the latest versions of these forms (linked below and housed in the Clinical Resource Library) are in circulation. Spanish versions will be circulated as soon as they are available.

Delta Variant, Infection Control, & COVID-19 Vaccinations


As cases of COVID-19 remain low in the District, it is encouraging to see places and activities reopening across the DMV. However, we must remain cautious. Cases of a new mutation of COVID-19, known as the Delta variant, are spreading across the country, particularly among unvaccinated populations. This highly contagious variant is currently the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. The Delta variant is just one more reason to follow our proven infection control measures and protect ourselves with vaccinations.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are showing to be effective protectors against the Delta variant. Additionally, more people being fully vaccinated means the Coronavirus has fewer opportunities to mutate into potentially more dangerous and contagious strains.

Unity is working to rollout COVID-19 vaccines at more locations, including Columbia Road (starting today). Unity staff can work with their HCDs to access vaccination at a convenient site and time.

Take the Shot DC giveawayPlus, there are more opportunities and incentives to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than ever before!

Through July 17, the city is offering BIG incentives for residents receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at specified locations, including gift cards and drawings for free metro, free cars, or $10,000 for groceries! Anyone ages 12-17 must be accompanied by a guardian. Don’t throw away your shot!

Workflow Change: Discontinuing Two Avenues for Vaccine Appointment Registration

Starting this week, Unity’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics will discontinue two methods to sign patients up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments – the pre-registration form found on the Unity website and the COVID-19 vaccine interest HPI in eCW.

Use of these avenues has dwindled as more efficient and direct ways to schedule patients have emerged. Please continue adding those who have not yet been vaccinated to the schedules for their first dose in whichever way is most convenient for the patient:

  • *Integrating COVID-19 vaccination into primary care visits;
  • Walk-ins to vaccine clinics during the hours shown below; 
  • Adding patients to directly to VAX Nurse schedules for first-dose appointments for those with appropriate eCW access; 
  • Signing patients up for an appointment directly through the Unity website, through this QR code, or through the Patient PortalVAX Nurse Schedule 6-23
  • Unity patients ages 18+ at community health centers and DC adolescents ages 12+ at SBHCs
  • Families can call (202) 727-5148 to schedule an appointment for DC adolescents ages 12+ at Cardozo or (202) 724-2287 to schedule an appointment at HD Woodson.
    • Adolescents under age 18 must be accompanied by a guardian for vaccination appointments

    Approved changes to hours of operation for COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics should be sent to Communications@unityhealthcare.org for distribution in Unity newsletters.
*Integrating Vaccinations into Primary Care Visits: In the coming weeks, we look forward to expanding vaccine access by integrating COVID-19 vaccination appointments into primary care visits. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is already being offered to Unity patients ages 18+ during medical appointments at Anacostia, Brentwood, East of the River, Minnesota Ave., Parkside, and Upper Cardozo Health Centers, and others will soon follow.

SAVE THE DATE! Back-To-School Well Child and Vaccination Event August 7 


Back to School Event Parkside 8.7.21Unity is holding another large-scale event focused on getting our adolescent patients vaccinated, screened, and prepared to head back to school! On August 7, staff from across the organization will gather at Parkside Health Center to build #CommunityImmunity and support a safe and healthy return to in-person learning this fall. Stay tuned for more details!

Beyond this event, Unity can provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to all DC adolescents 12 and up through our School-Based Health Centers, regardless of where they attend school or if they have been seen by Unity in the past.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


New WIC Phone Number Coming July 19

Beginning Monday, July 19, WIC will transition to a new phone number – (202) 938-3688 – for all sites featuring an automated call attendant to better direct calls. Moving forward, the two primary methods of communications will be by phone at (202) 938-3688 and by email at wic@unityhealthcare.org. Old site phone numbers will be phased out as part of this transition.

DC Government Resources: Heat Emergencies & Cooling Centers

As hot and humid summer days continue, make sure you’re connecting patients in need to available resources. When the temperature or heat index reaches 92 degrees, DC Government implements a Heat Emergency Plan to help residents seeking relief. Click here to view an interactive map of the District’s cooling centers, low-barrier shelters, and more. Anyone in need of transportation to a cooling center should call the hyperthermia hotline at (202) 399-7093.

REMINDERS


Please Submit Your Proof of Vaccination: All Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. This helps us get a better idea of the rates of COVID-19 immunization among staff and the safety of Unity workplaces. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

RESOURCES


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

Vaccines for Homebound Residents: Homebound residents of DC can call 1-855-363-0333 to register at-home COVID-19 vaccination. The call center is open M–F, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials



Quick Links




Thursday, July 1, 2021
WORKFLOW CHANGE: Contacting Patients with COVID-19 Test Results


Starting July 6, Unity will no longer send automated text message notifications of POSITIVE COVID-19 test results to patients’ cell phones. Appropriate health center staff should continue to promptly contact patients directly with their positive test results.

At the height of COVID-19 testing, this effort successfully reduced the number of patients contacting the Patient Scheduling Center to obtain test results, but due to a steady decline in positive COVID-19 results, the campaign is being suspended to optimize resources.

At this time, patients with NEGATIVE COVID-19 test results will continue to receive the following automated text message: “COVID test result for [first name] was NEGATIVE. Please contact 202-469-4699 if you have questions or are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath.” Additional reminders:
  • A daily report is generated at 8 am with results returned in the past 24 hours. Patients on this report with negative results will receive a text around 9 am. Patients whose negative results returned between 8 am Friday - 8 am Monday will be texted Monday around 9 am.
    • Providers should close (or lock) all COVID-19 PCR tests for asymptomatic patients with negative results who have a cell phone listed in eCW within 24 hours of the result becoming available.
  • Staff working in evaluation tents should notify patients they will receive a text if their test result is negative. Anyone with a positive test result or in need of follow-up should receive a phone call from a member of the Unity team.

CORRECTION: Updates to Hours of Operation for Evaluation Clinics/Tents


Health Center Evalution Hours 6-23As COVID-19 cases decrease, several health centers have reduced hours for respiratory evaluation and COVID-testing clinics. Patients that are sick or symptomatic outside of evaluation clinic hours should be seen in an isolation room or assessed by the triage nurse. Note to Health Center and Medical Directors: Approved changes to hours of operation should be sent to Communications@unityhealthcare.org for distribution in Unity newsletters.

COVID-19 Vaccination Through SBHCs


SBHC Vaccine ClinicsOn Saturday, June 26, Unity’s Cardozo High School School-Based Health Center (SBHC) administered COVID-19 vaccinations to DC adolescents ages 12 and up and other members of the community during an event organized by the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. The community event also hosted an employment fair, legal assistance for immigrants, food distribution, Zumba classes, and more!

Adolescebts Crysta ChatmanThis event and others like it are intended to encourage eligible adolescent patients and their families to protect themselves through safe, accessible vaccination. In addition to preventing severe illness and community transmission, vaccinating this age group helps ensure a safe return to in-person learning in the fall. Click here to watch Unity’s Dr. Crysta Chatman discuss this topic on Let’s Talk, DC
.

Unity SBHCs can provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to all DC adolescents 12 and up, regardless of where they attend school or if they have been seen by Unity in the past. Here's how to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointments through Unity SBHCs:

  • VAX Nurse Schedule 6-23Guardians of patients ages 12 and older and patients 18 years of age and older can directly schedule their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment through on online feature on unityhealthcare.org, by scanning the QR code shown here, or through the Patient Portal.
  • Cardozo and HD Woodson SBHCs can be selected as options for vaccination location through these direct scheduling features!
  • Families can call 202-727-5148 to schedule an appointment at Cardozo or 202-724-2287 to schedule an appointment at HD Woodson.
  • Unity staff can add any Unity patient onto the Cardozo or Woodson VAX Nurse schedules directly.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


DC Government Resources: Heat Emergencies & Cooling Centers 

As hot and humid summer days continue, make sure you’re connecting patients in need to available resources. When the temperature or heat index reaches 92 degrees, DC Government implements a Heat Emergency Plan to help residents seeking relief. Click here to view an interactive map of the District’s cooling centers, low-barrier shelters, and more. Anyone in need of transportation to a cooling center should call the hyperthermia hotline at (202) 399-7093.

REMINDERS


Please Submit Your Proof of Vaccination: All Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. This helps us get a better idea of the rates of COVID-19 immunization among staff and the safety of Unity workplaces. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

COVID-19 Documentation Changes in eCW: We now have 5 COVID-19 vaccine templates to choose from. The eCW COVID-19 vaccine HPI has been slimmed down to note that the form has been reviewed with the patient, which vaccine the patient will receive, and that the patient’s age and second dose interval have been verified. The 15-minute monitoring period is now the default in the Preventive Medicine COVID-19 Immunization Section. This section must be updated if the patient requires a 30-minute monitoring period and/or if there are any adverse events during the monitoring period.

RESOURCES


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

Vaccines for Homebound Residents: Homebound residents of DC can call 1-855-363-0333 to register at-home COVID-19 vaccination. The call center is open M–F, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials


 


Quick Links


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

New COVID-19 Evaluation Clinic Hours at Upper Cardozo


Effective Monday June 21, the Evaluation Tent at Upper Cardozo Health Center will close at 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. See graphic for all Rapid Respiratory Evaluation Clinic hours of operation. Patients that are sick or symptomatic outside of the evaluation clinic’s hours of operation should be seen in an isolation room for an appointment if available or assessed by the triage nurse.
Vaccine New Hours of Operation

Direct Scheduling COVID-19 Vaccination for Patients Ages 12+ at SBHCs


Unity’s School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) can provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to all DC adolescents 12 and up, regardless of where they attend school or if they have been seen by Unity in the past. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine remains the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in patients ages 12 and up, and SBHCs are currently the only Unity sites offering the Pfizer vaccine. 

So, how can these appointments be scheduled?

  • VAX Nurse Schedule 6-23Guardians of patients ages 12 and older and patients 18 years of age and older can directly schedule their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment through on online feature on unityhealthcare.org, by scanning the QR code shown here, or through the Patient Portal
  • Cardozo and HD Woodson SBHCs can be selected as options for vaccination location through these direct scheduling features! 
  • Families can call 202-727-5148 to schedule an appointment at Cardozo or 202-724-2287 to schedule an appointment at HD Woodson. 
  • Unity staff can add any Unity patient onto the Cardozo or Woodson VAX Nurse schedules directly.

Once the appointment has been made, the patient will receive a confirmation email. Second dose vaccine appointments should be made at the health center after the patient receives their first dose. Let’s work together to spread the word and fill these vaccination slots at the SBHCs! Please note, a parent or guardian must be present during the appointment for patients who are less than 18.

BIG Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccination: Gift Cards, Cars, & Free Groceries!


DC residents 12 and older that get their first (or only) COVID-19 vaccine dose at RISE Demonstration Center, Anacostia High School, or Ron Brown High School will receive a $51 VISA gift card! On top of that, DC residents 18 and older that get their first (or only) dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at these three select sites can also enter for a weekly shot at winning a car, a year of free groceries, or a year of free metro!

Mayor Bowser announced these new incentives for COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday, June 19, as community members prepared to canvass neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8 during the third DC COVID-19 Community Corps Day of Action.

Video Hamilton Dr. BoydWe’ve witnessed patients, colleagues, and loved ones in Wards 7 and 8 suffer disproportionately throughout this pandemic. We’ve come a long way, but there is still work to be done, and vaccination is our way out. Follow the lead of our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jessica Boyd, and many others...don’t throw away your shot!

Remember, employees still have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Contact your Health Center Director today to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at the site most convenient for you.

While anyone can get vaccinated at District vaccination sites, gift cards are only available to DC residents. Residents between the ages of 12 and 17 must be accompanied by a guardian.

REMINDERS


Updated Telehealth Guidance: To best meet patient needs, we are shifting towards in-person visits as the primary scheduling option. Telehealth remains an important care delivery model and will continue to be offered for visits according to the latest telehealth guidance, patient preference, and as directed by the provider. The following patients/visits have been added to those prioritized for in-person visits: All well-child checks; All well young adult checks 18-21 y/o; Patients with high blood pressure and no BP measurement in >6mo; Diabetes with no foot exam in >12mo; Diabetes and A1c >9%; 65 y/o + taking 5+ medications; brief behavioral health consultations. Click to access full guidance in the Clinical Resource Library.

Patient Identification Policy: To ensure the safe and accurate identification of all patients, Unity’s new Patient ID policy requires that at least two patient identifiers be used when providing care and treatment services. Patients should actively participate in their identification by providing and validating their personal information whenever possible. Click to read the full policy.

Please Submit Your Proof of Vaccination: All Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. This helps us get a better idea of the rates of COVID-19 immunization among staff and the safety of Unity workplaces. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

COVID-19 Documentation Changes in eCW: We now have 5 COVID-19 vaccine templates to choose from. The eCW COVID-19 vaccine HPI has been slimmed down to note that the form has been reviewed with the patient, which vaccine the patient will receive, and that the patient’s age and second dose interval have been verified. The 15-minute monitoring period is now the default in the Preventive Medicine COVID-19 Immunization Section. This section must be updated if the patient requires a 30-minute monitoring period and/or if there are any adverse events during the monitoring period.

RESOURCES


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives DC residents secure access to their official vaccination records. Click to create an account. More info here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

Vaccines for Homebound Residents: Homebound residents of DC can call 1-855-363-0333 to register at-home COVID-19 vaccination. The call center is open M–F, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

 

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials


 

Quick Links


 




Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Entering the Next Phase: COVID-19 Vaccination During Medical Visits


Starting this week, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to Unity patients 18 years and older during their medical appointments at the six Unity community health centers with vaccine doses in stock.

The most effective way to vaccinate more patients is through conversations with trusted partners. By integrating the COVID-19 vaccine into patients’ regular medical care, as we do for the flu vaccine, we are meeting patients where they are and further opening access to life-saving preventative care. We need all of you to be advocates for our patients and help them to understand how safe and effective the vaccine is and how important it is for their health.

COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Brentwood, Upper Cardozo, Parkside, East of the River, Minnesota Ave., and Anacostia Health Centers will continue to operate during the hours below with ample capacity for both scheduled and walk-up appointments.
Vaccine New Hours of Operation

Processes & Documentation: Each site will review workflows with their health center’s teams to make vaccination as efficient as possible. The Clinical Resource Library has been updated to include the most recent guidance on storage and handling, preparation and administration, and the standing order to give the vaccine. All site Nurse Managers currently have access to the DOCIIS 2 registry to verify previous doses of the vaccine, and MA and Nursing staff on these care teams are completing training to gain access as well.

Moving Forward: When a rhythm for vaccine integration is established at the sites currently participating, leadership will explore ways to expand access to patients at our other centers.

Black Residents 80% of COVID-19 Cases in DC: Don't Throw Away Your Shot!


Black residents make up more than 80% of COVID-19 cases reported in the District, according to statistics reported by the Washington Post, compared to 46% tracked late last year. For more than 16 months, we have witnessed people of color (our patients, our colleagues, our loved ones) suffer disproportionately from the COVID-19 virus – and as the pandemic progresses, this is worsening.

Video Hamilton Dr. BoydWe’ve come so far, but there is still work to be done. Vaccination is our way out. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jessica Boyd, was moved by these ongoing disparities to write a spoken-word piece, set to the tune of Lin Manuel Miranda’s My Shot from Hamilton, reflecting on Black History and the importance of COVID-19 vaccination to the future of communities of color. Click here to watch.

Reed Tuckson, founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID-19, recently remarked, “I am terrified that this thing could become a Black and Brown disease, and that it will stay in our community for a long, long time. If we don’t get our vaccination rates up, we’re going to be in a tough situation.” Unity is working hard to make sure a lack of accessibility isn’t keeping folks from vaccination, but low rates of vaccination in Black and Brown communities remain a serious problem. Today, residents that are White, Asian, or Pacific Islander make up more than 58% of the District’s fully vaccinated population, with Black residents making up only 21.5%.

 

Do your part to help avoid this possible reality. The stakes are high, but there is a solution available. Remember, employees still have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Contact your Health Center Director today to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at the site most convenient for you. Still deciding? There’s no shame in having questions! Click here to anonymously submit questions or concerns.

Pfizer Vaccine for Unity Patients Ages 12 and Up at School-Based Health Centers


Unity’s School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) can provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to all DC adolescents 12 and up, regardless of where they attend school or if they have been seen by Unity in the past. Let’s work together to spread the word and fill these vaccination slots at the SBHCs!

Though the rates of severe disease among adolescents have been lower than adults, about 1 in 3 adolescents who become sick with COVID-19 need to be admitted to an ICU – an unacceptably high rate for an illness that is now preventable. Adolescents also play a role in community transmission, so getting teens vaccinated is a significant way to decrease community spread. Importantly, getting this age group vaccinated now will also help with the safe return to in-person learning in the fall, which is crucial for adolescents’ educational, social, physical, and emotional development and well-being.

Last Saturday, the team held a successful event at the HD Woodson Student Health Center, the first in a series of vaccination events for DC adolescents 12 and up. This week, the SBHCs kicked off their weekday COVID vaccine clinics. The next Saturday SBHC event will be held at Cardozo Educational Campus on June 26. Unity staff can add any Unity patient onto the Cardozo or Woodson VAX Nurse schedules directly, or families can call 202-727-5148 to schedule an appointment at Cardozo or 202-724-2287 to schedule an appointment at HD Woodson. A parent or guardian must be present during the appointment for patients who are less than 18.

REMINDERS


Help Us Understand the Safety of Our Workplace - Submit Your Proof of Vaccination!

All Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. This helps us get a better idea of the rates of COVID-19 immunization among staff and the safety of Unity workplaces. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

COVID-19 Documentation Changes in eCW

  • We now have 5 COVID-19 vaccine templates to choose from.
  • The eCW COVID-19 vaccine HPI has been slimmed down to note that the form has been reviewed with the patient, which vaccine the patient will receive, and that the patient’s age and second dose interval have been verified.
  • The 15-minute monitoring period is now the default in the Preventive Medicine COVID-19 Immunization Section. This section must be updated if the patient requires a 30-minute monitoring period and/or if there are any adverse events during the monitoring period.

COVID-19 Screening Workflow Changes

  • Patients must fill out the most recent version of the CDC Pre-vaccination Screening Checklist on paper. The form should be given by the PRC while the patient is registering.
  • The nurse or MA will review the screening checklist with the patient, and use the updated Talking Points Handout handout to counsel patients with positive responses.
  • The nurse or MA will sign their name, date the form, and place the pre-vaccination screening checklist to be scanned.

Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives District residents secure, easy access to their official vaccination records. Click here to create an account. Access more information here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

Vaccines for Homebound Residents: Homebound residents of DC can call 1-855-363-0333 to register at-home COVID-19 vaccination. The call center is open Mon.–Fri, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials



Quick Links




Monday, June 7, 2021

Important Updates to COVID-19 Workflows and Documentation


As our COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue and expand, our workflows and documentation are evolving to stay up-to-date with the latest CDC guidance. Below are several important changes that will go into effect in our COVID-19 vaccine clinics starting today, Monday, June 7.



  • Patients must fill out the most recent version of the CDC Pre-vaccination Screening Checklist on paper. The form should be given by the PRC while the patient is registering.
  • The nurse or MA will review the screening checklist with the patient, and use the updated Talking Points Handout handout to counsel patients with positive responses.
  • The nurse or MA will sign their name, date the form, and place the pre-vaccination screening checklist to be scanned.

  • We now have 5 COVID-19 vaccine templates to choose from - Moderna (1st & 2nd dose), Pfizer (1st & 2nd dose), and Janssen (single dose) - as shown in the accompanying screenshot.
  • The eCW COVID-19 vaccine HPI has been slimmed down to note that the form has been reviewed with the patient, which vaccine the patient will receive, and that the patient’s age and second dose interval have been verified.
  • The 15-minute monitoring period is now the default in the Preventive Medicine COVID-19 Immunization Section. This section must be updated if the patient requires a 30-minute monitoring period and/or if there are any adverse events during the monitoring period.

ADDITIONAL VACCINE UPDATES


Pfizer Vaccine Coming to School-Based Health Centers 

Beginning June 12, Unity SBHCs will provide the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12 years and older. In preparation for this addition, the EUA and consent for the Pfizer vaccine have been added to the Clinical Resource Library and staff that will be administering Pfizer through the SBHCs will receive appropriate training (more details to follow).

Scheduling Information: The Pfizer vaccine will be available to all DC adolescents 12 and up, regardless of where they attend school or if they have been seen by Unity in the past. Please share this information with your patients and our community! Unity staff can add patients onto the Cardozo or Woodson VAX Nurse schedules directly, or families can call 202-727-5148 to schedule an appointment at Cardozo or 202-724-2287 to schedule an appointment at HD Woodson. In the coming days, vaccine appointments through the SBHC will be added as an option for direct scheduling on the website. A parent or guardian must be present during the appointment for patients who are less than 18.

Help Us Understand the Safety of Our Workplace - Submit Your Proof of Vaccination!

All Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. This helps us get a better idea of the rates of COVID-19 immunization among staff and the safety of Unity workplaces. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

Not vaccinated yet? Employees still have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity! Contact your Health Center Director to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at the site most convenient for you. Please note, this method is only available to Unity employees. Still deciding? There’s no shame in having questions! Click here to anonymously submit questions or concerns.

Happy Pride! Celebrating and Supporting Patients, Community, and Staff


Unity Proud - PrideInclusivity and social justice are at the heart of the Unity Health Care mission. During Pride month, and every month, we support our LGBT+ community by providing quality, culturally competent care and working to create a welcoming environment.

Saturday, June 5, marked the 40th Anniversary of the first five cases of what became known as AIDS were officially reported.

While the effects of HIV/AIDS are seen across the globe in individuals of all sexualities, genders, races, and creeds, it is essential to reflect upon both the particularly devastating impact this illness had on the LGBT+ community and their significant contribution to developing transformational therapies that have changed the trajectory of the disease.

Steven Inskeep of NPR describes the phenomena as, “a milestone in public awareness and a milestone of denial.” Stigma, discrimination, barriers to care, and many more obstacles played a significant role in the rapid and catastrophic progression of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. 40 years ago. In defiance of these obstacles, the LGBT+ community worked tirelessly to help bring forward HIV/AIDS therapies and emphasize the importance of healthcare access.

Building on this foundation of work, Community Health Centers, like Unity, are on the frontlines ensuring these barriers no longer keep patients in need from accessing care. It is our responsibility and privilege to offer a safe and inclusive space for our LGBT+ patients and community to access testing, preventative therapies, treatment, and to find healing. To learn more, look back at the epidemic through this 40-year timeline and the CDC museum’s online exhibition.

REMINDERS


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC MyIR is a web-based registry portal that gives District residents secure, easy access to their official vaccination records. Click here to create an account. Access more information here.

At-Home Testing: DC is now providing free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at 16 locations for individuals ages 18 and older. More info available at testyourself.dc.gov.

Vaccines for Homebound Residents: Homebound residents of DC can call 1-855-363-0333 to register at-home COVID-19 vaccination. The call center is open Mon.–Fri, 8 am-7 pm, and Sat.–Sun., 8 am-4 pm.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Unity providers can refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria and access the referral form

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms after infection may be eligible for recovery programs. Click these links for more: MedStar COVID Recovery Program; GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials



Quick Links



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination at Unity


Protct our people walk up vaccinationWalk-Up Vaccinations: To allow for accessible COVID-19 vaccination for our patients, we will soon begin encouraging walk-up COVID-19 vaccination at our vaccine clinics in hopes of reaching more people. While we want to continue to be good stewards of our allocated vaccine doses, we are shifting our focus to making vaccination access as easy as possible.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Adolescents: As of May 10, the FDA expanded its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents 12-15 years old. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine remains the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in patients under 18 years of age. Unity is likely to carry doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in our School-Based Health Centers in the coming weeks. Many of the District’s walk-up vaccination sites and pharmacy locations throughout DC are offering COVID-19 vaccination for individuals 12 years of age and up.

Additionally, all COVID-19 vaccines have been approved to be co-administered with other vaccines without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days. In light of this news, please continue closely monitoring the status of other required vaccinations for our child and adolescent patients. Keeping these patients up-to-date on their scheduled vaccinations allows us to connect interested patients to the COVID-19 vaccine and knockout COVID-19 vaccination when possible.

Unity Employee Vaccination: Providing Documentation & Employee Appointments

To better understand the safety of our workplace and the rate of COVID-19 immunization among staff, all Unity staff that have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination through this form. Through this form, staff vaccinated at Unity can consent to letting Infection Control access their COVID-19 vaccination record through eCW; additionally, staff vaccinated outside of Unity can upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or record through the form.

Not vaccinated yet? All employees can get the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity! Interested employees should contact their Health Center Director to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at the site most convenient for them. Please note, this method is only available to Unity employees. Still deciding? There’s no shame in having questions! Click here to anonymously submit questions or concerns.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Updates to Respiratory Evaluation Clinics

Rapid respiratory evaluation clinicsMoving forward, the Rapid COVID-19 Evaluation Clinic at Brentwood Health Center will change operate 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Thursday, and 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, with no testing on Friday. The Rapid COVID-19 Evaluation Clinic at Anacostia Health Center will operate 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, and 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Successful Mass Vaccination Events

Mass Vaccinate EventsSincere thank you to everyone that staffed and assisted with our mass vaccination events at The Anthem in the Wharf. Last week, Unity staff delivered second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to attendees of last month’s events.

These events served nearly 700 people in total and specifically served individuals working on construction sites, many of whom may not have been reached with information about their “essential worker” eligibility or how to access vaccination.

REMINDERS


Patient-Facing Vaccine Registry: DC has a new immunization registry that patients can access directly! DC MyIR is a web-based portal that gives District residents secure, easy access to their official vaccination records.