CEO Terry Howard shares an update on Harmony's flu and COVID-19 booster vaccine clinics for our residents and associates. With nearly 5,000 Harmony residents and associates estimated to get the COVID booster shot and the flu vaccine, Harmony is focused on helping to protect our family as the holiday season approaches.
To our Harmony Residents & Family Members,
I am pleased to announce Adrienne Shelton as Vice President of Clinical Services for Harmony Senior Services.
Adrienne joins Harmony after spending the last four years at Allegro Management Company as Vice President of Resident Services. Previous to her tenure at Allegro she spent four years as District Director of Clinical Services for Brookdale Senior Living.
Adrienne has extensive Senior Living experience and has led teams in advising senior management, and regional and community teams on strategic process improvement. She has led teams on multi-state and multi-site compliance, quality assurance, and risk management. She is a registered nurse with a compact license.
As Adrienne joins Harmony, she will be focused on raising and maintaining standards of care through quality service delivery and compliance initiatives. She will also focus on attracting a new generation of senior living associates and continuing to promote our cornerstone philosophy of "Family Serving Families." She will be working collaboratively to meet the goals of Harmony in delivering quality care and services and supporting our Regional Clinical Directors. A focus of her first 90 days will be supporting the execution of our associate COVID-19 vaccination strategy, our COVID-19 booster shot campaign, and our flu shot clinics for each community.
Adrienne is a mother of two and enjoys competitive sports, performing arts, theater, comedy, and film.
She started her position this past Monday, October the 4th, and is excited to visit our communities and spend time with our associates and residents.
Please join me in providing a warm Harmony welcome to Adrienne.
Steven H. Martin
Chief Operations Officer
To Our Harmony Residents & Families,
Part of our responsibility as a "Family Serving Families" company is to keep you updated on any available information related to our fight against COVID-19. You may have heard updates related to the COVID-19 booster shot. I wanted to share with you the most recent update from the CDC regarding the booster shot.
Our COVID-19 Taskforce continues to meet every day and reviews all updates related to the COVID-19 booster, and we are in close contact with our pharmacies to ensure that our communities are a priority in receiving clinics for these booster shots when they are available. We are coordinating clinics in each community to offer the booster and flu vaccine for our residents and associates.
We will continue to keep you updated on our website and with email communications. Harmony continues to employ all of our current COVID-19 precautions and prevention methods including testing, masking, and sanitizing. We sincerely thank you for your continued support.
Terry Howard, CEO
Harmony Senior Services
CDC Statement on ACIP Booster Recommendations
Today, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and also recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authorization and CDC's guidance for use are important steps forward as we work to stay ahead of the virus and keep Americans safe.
This updated interim guidance from CDC allows for millions of Americans who are at the highest risk for COVID-19 to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to help increase their protection.
- people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
- people aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
- people aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
- and people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
Many of the people who are now eligible to receive a booster shot received their initial vaccine early in the vaccination program and will benefit from additional protection. With the Delta variant's dominance as the circulating strain and cases of COVID-19 increasing significantly across the United States, a booster shot will help strengthen protection against severe disease in those populations who are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 or the complications from severe disease.
To our Harmony Residents & Family Members,
For the past 17 months, our residents, families, and associates have shown tremendous dedication and compassion for one another as we have battled this coronavirus pandemic and its newest variants together. We have all embraced changing protocols and procedures, adapted personal and work habits, and shown a willingness to go the extra mile to keep our communities as safe as possible.
Our residents are 95% vaccinated and the number of vaccinated associates has steadily increased. We must continue to ensure Harmony is the safest place possible for our residents to live and associates to work. As a result, we are requiring all Harmony associates to get vaccinated. Our goal is to have all associates vaccinated by November 1, 2021. This is the most important step we can all take to keep our residents and each other safe from this deadly virus.
This decision does not come lightly. It follows lengthy discussions with Harmony's ownership and leadership teams. Requiring the vaccine ensures that all of us are protected to the greatest extent possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend vaccinations as the best tool to protect against contracting the virus and its new variants. Numerous scientific studies support that getting the vaccine is safe and with it, hospitalizations and serious medical complications are greatly reduced.
At the same time, Harmony will continue all other testings, masking, and sanitation protocols as well as following the guidance of local, state, and federal health agencies. And we will continue to keep everyone updated along the way.
Our cornerstone philosophy is "Family Serving Families," and this decision aligns with our values to protect and keep our family safe. Thank you for your support.
Chief Executive Officer
Recent news reports about increases in the new strain of the coronavirus known as the delta variant are troubling and we are taking them very seriously. Even senior living communities like ours, with very high vaccination rates, are not immune to this new strain. At Harmony Senior Services, we are all working diligently to keep everyone as safe and informed as possible. It is vitally important we continue to take appropriate precautions to protect our communities.
We are continuing all of our safety practices for COVID - including mandatory screening at the beginning of shifts and wearing masks by all associates, strongly recommending vaccines to all new residents and associates, and screening all visitors, and requiring they wear masks while at the community.
Our residents on average across our communities are 95% vaccinated and we greatly appreciate this voluntary participation. They are helping to protect their friends and neighbors, as well as our associates, by getting the vaccine. While we may see breakthrough cases of COVID in the vaccinated, we are monitoring all residents and associates carefully and responding quickly to any signs or symptoms for residents and associates. We ask that you continue to wear masks when in common areas of the community and adhere to maintaining social distancing as well as regular hand washing and sanitization.
Our leadership continues to meet daily to review our communities and evaluate COVID updates to ensure our communities, residents, and associates are well supported and that we are following the requirements of local, state, and federal agencies. We will be following any new or updated rules, regulations, or mandates and we will communicate to you accordingly.
We have come so far since this pandemic started and we are all hopeful we can navigate this new challenge quickly with your support.
Hello and thank you for visiting Harmony Senior Services,
We are a family-owned organization with founder Jim Smith beginning his journey into senior living development almost 40 years ago. The core of our philosophy is "Family Serving Families."
In my 30+ years in senior housing, I've witnessed many changes and challenges, but nothing rivals what we have experienced with the coronavirus pandemic that began to affect our industry and the world last March. Harmony quickly assembled a task force dedicated to understanding the virus, enhancing our infectious disease practices and protocols, and implementing new technologies, all to keep our residents and associates as safe as possible.
This past year has been a challenging journey, but I'm proud to say that as of today, we have no known cases of COVID-19 among our more than 2,500 residents who call Harmony home. Our resident participation rate with the vaccine was over 96% and we are scheduled to complete our 3rd round of clinic vaccinations by the end of March. Clearly, the vaccine has been effective, and although we won't let our guard down, we have returned to a more normal operating environment including full visitation, sit-down dining, and comprehensive programs to enrich the lives of those who serve.
This milestone couldn't have been accomplished without the commitment, resolve, and dedication of our 2,000+ associates. To each of our associates, I extend my appreciation, admiration, and a heartfelt thank you. We have witnessed firsthand how adversity and challenge can actually improve an organization and its practices.
So, come home to Harmony. Now more than ever, our Harmony family is ready to serve yours.
Terry H. Howard
Chief Executive Officer
Harmony is pleased to share that as of today, all of our 27 operating communities have completed their 2nd vaccination clinic. Aggressively partnering with CVS and West Virginia pharmacy groups benefited our residents and associates as they were afforded the opportunity to receive both doses by the end of February. We are very proud to report that 95.5% of our residents have received the vaccination.
This high resident participation, along with all of our communities projecting to be COVID free, allows Harmony to resume visitation, programming, and dining safely for our residents and families. We will still be following all local, state, and federal guidelines as well as asking all of our Harmony family to continue to be screened when visiting, wearing appropriate face coverings, and practicing social distancing.
Our residents’ health and safety remains our top priority. Providing a lifestyle that residents deserve is part of that responsibility. We encourage our families to call our communities if you have questions or would like more information.
We want to thank you again for your continued support and understanding and look forward to our new normal at Harmony.
The VP of Clinical Services was awarded the company's inaugural Harmony Hero Award from company founders
Following a year marked by the COVID-19 virus, Harmony Senior Services recognized one team member's exceptional leadership in guiding the senior living company's 27 communities through the pandemic. Tony Sanford, Harmony's SVP of Clinical Services has received the company's first Harmony Hero Award for his diligent work navigating the company through the unprecedented health crisis within our industry.
The new award, put forth by Harmony's founders, recognizes a Harmony Senior Services associate who has gone "above and beyond" with their professional contribution of performance excellence. Winning recipient Tony Sanford spent most of 2020 devising and implementing practices that put residents' health and protection at the forefront, putting the company's "Family Serving Families" motto to practice.
"Tony has been instrumental in executing a COVID-19 response strategy that was truly exceptional from the start," said Terry Howard, Chief Executive Officer of Harmony Senior Services. "Since the first day the virus became our new reality, he's worked tirelessly to keep our residents and associates safe. I can think of no better time to introduce this special and important new award, which reflects the very heart of our Harmony family, and no better recipient than Tony to receive it for the first time."
Beginning in March of last year, Sanford spearheaded the formation of an interdisciplinary Coronavirus Task Force at Harmony that regularly provided detailed updates to Harmony residents and families of residents on the latest news, policies, and safety procedures being implemented. The new policies, which included those impacting visitation, community events, cleaning and sanitation measures, and later in the year, vaccine distribution, are all credited with safeguarding the 27 campuses against the virus, keeping Harmony's residents as safe as possible.
Jim Smith, Founder/Owner of Harmony Senior Services stated, "There have been many heroes who've risen to the occasion; people who stepped up and reached out to those affected whether directly or indirectly. Harmony is fortunate to have many of those heroes among us, but as we reflect on the past year, one person stands out. Tony Sanford, our SVP of Clinical Services, has led by example, standing at the forefront of our fight to keep Harmony's staff and residents well since day one. It is with pride that we recognize him as the first recipient of the Founders Harmony Hero Award.
Tony shared, "I am so very humbled by the recognition during these challenging times in our lives. Our achievements are shaped by the strength of our leaders and the associates we work with. My favorite quote "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible" really sums up what looks like an impossible task to overcome a pandemic. But with dedication to care for our seniors, we will overcome this! I want to thank the Smith family for adding yet another platform of recognition for associates. I feel honored to work at Harmony and look to serving for many years to come."
The Harmony Hero Award comes with a $10,000 gift and personalized plaque which will be displayed on the company's new Harmony Hero Award Hall.
Dear Harmony residents, associates, and families,
Our Harmony Senior Services team is invested in keeping our residents and families informed on the latest COVID-19 developments. We acknowledge these comprehensive updates are longer than usual and appreciate you taking the time to educate yourself and loved ones by reading the following.
As you know, there is a lot of information circulating about the COVID-19 vaccine development and approval process. We want to take this opportunity to reassure you that Harmony has been working diligently in collaboration with our state, federal and commercial pharmacy partners in preparation for administrating the COVID-19 vaccine. This information will likely evolve as we receive further guidance from the CDC, CVS Health and others involved in this unprecedented process.
Harmony partnership with CVS Health
We are happy to share that Harmony has partnered with CVS Health to conduct the COVID-19 vaccine clinics across our communities. These clinics will be available for our existing residents and staff and will include newly admitted residents and new associate hires. Due to the need for a two-dose regimen, CVS Health will schedule three clinics to ensure we give our whole community the opportunity to be vaccinated. Because the vaccines have been purchased and are being made available by the federal government, the vaccination will be free. At this time, CVS Health is estimating the first round of inoculations will occur early January followed by the second clinic in 3-4 weeks and the third clinic shortly after.
Vaccination participation guidelines
Your participation in the CVS COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic requires two key steps to get started:
- Consent forms: First, we will need every resident or their authorized representative and associate receiving the vaccine to complete a consent form and return it to the administrative office at their community. For those residents who may need assistance with completing the consent form, we will assist you with this step. We expect to receive the consent forms soon and will make them available at that time.
- Insurance verification: Second, for those residents and associates who have insurance/Medicare, we will need a copy (both front and back) of your insurance/Medicare card. Both pieces of information, consent form and insurance card, must be provided in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Harmony’s thoughts on the FDA “Emergency Use Authorization”
The FDA has approved “Emergency Use Authorization” of the COVID-19 vaccine across our country. There are three vaccines from reputable pharmaceutical companies – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson that will be made available. Based on publicly available data, these vaccines are effective in protecting adults against acquiring COVID-19 and data has shown that even if someone has had COVID-19, the vaccine may provide additional protection against getting the infection again in the future. This virus is especially dangerous for elderly residents and those with serious underlying medical problems. It is important that we continue to protect our residents and loved ones that are at a greater risk.
Harmony strongly recommends the vaccines to our residents and associates
Harmony recognizes that not everyone will feel comfortable receiving the vaccine and that it will be a personal decision for each individual and family to make. With that said, along with Harmony’s physician consultant and many medical experts, we strongly recommend that all our residents and associates receive these vaccines. By vaccinating our residents and caregivers, we can more effectively protect them, their families and each other from this deadly virus.
The data supports the vaccine’s effectiveness. Once you have received the vaccine, studies show there is a 90-95% chance that you will not contract COVID-19. It’s also reassuring for many to note there is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine; rather, the vaccine imitates the viral infection so that our bodies think a germ like virus is present. This creates the antibody defense we need to fight off the COVID-19 disease. If you have any questions or concerns regarding obtaining the vaccine, please consult with your primary care provider.
In closing, we realize this is a lot of information and you may still have questions. Please feel free to reach out to your community Executive Director and they will work to obtain a response for you. For your reference, please find below an initial, tentative timeline of events related to the COVID-19 vaccine clinics. These may change on short notice as we continue to receive information. We will continue to keep you updated as the dates of our clinics get closer.
Chief Executive Officer
Harmony Senior Services
Approximate timeline of COVID-19 vaccination clinic
- Email notifications sent to LTC facilities with instructions on next steps
- Educational webinar available to LTC facilities
- Email notifications sent to LTC facilities, providing 3 pre-selected clinic dates
- Confirmation phone call to LTC facility to review clinic details and confirm first 2 clinic dates
- Delivery of packet to LTC facility: consent forms and posters
- Patient/Facility completes patient consent forms and makes copies of insurance card information
- LTC facility uploads patient data into Vaccine Clinic Scheduler
- Clinic 1 execution for first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
- Identify new admissions and first dose patients
- Clinic 2 execution for second dose of COVID-19 vaccine
- Clinic 3 execution, if needed
NOTE: CVS Health has also made available its initial informational material discussing the steps that have been and will be taking place. This material is located at https://omnicare.com/covid-19-vaccine-resource.
Many people are asking questions as the COVID-19 vaccine makes headlines in the news.
Our Task Force is pleased to share with you an informational update from Tony Sanford, VP of Clinical Services.
Watch the update video here.