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03/13/2020

Letter from Kathryn Brod, Late Day Updates

Letter from Kathryn Brod and Late Day Updates

Good afternoon LeadingAge Ohio members:

Several weeks ago my 99-year old mother remarked to me that Coronavirus fears reminded her of the polio outbreak of the early 1950s. In a phone conversation with her yesterday, she now noted that she’s never experienced anything like this. Indeed, this is certainly an unprecedented time for nearly every living American. 

As providers, you are on the frontlines of protecting not only those you serve but protecting those who are serving. We at LeadingAge Ohio are so proud to represent you, as we know that you are relentlessly working to carry out this work day and night.

Please know that we are working with our fellow provider associations and LeadingAge at the federal level to advocate for your needs – from PPE needs, testing kits, guidance on visitation, and more. It seems that every day presents new challenges and new questions. But we are so grateful for the leadership that Governor DeWine, Director of Health Doctor Amy Acton, and their colleagues are providing as we work together on a path forward.

If you have any resources you think the entire membership can benefit from, please send them to a member of the LeadingAge Ohio staff through COVID19@leadingageohio.org. We will continue to share resources and information (which seems to be on a daily basis), both through regular e-Alerts and our LeadingAge Ohio website’s COVID-19 hub.

To get the right information and resources to key staff within your organizations, let us know who from your organization you’d like added to our distribution list by emailing Jennifer Taylor at jtaylor@leadingageohio.org.

I would like the week to end with my commitment to keep you and your teams, your residents and their families in my prayers. I know that the crisis seems far from over but please know that our LeadingAge Ohio team is standing with you, ready to assist each and every day.

Sincerely,

Kathryn Brod

 

Late Day Breaking Updates

Below are several summaries of this afternoon's press conferences by both the DeWine Administration and President Trump. Most importantly, please note that President Trump and CMS Administrator Seema Verma declared a total ban on nursing home visitation, except in end-of-life situations, and plan to waive provisions requiring a 3 day hospital stay before admission to a nursing home. 

President Trump Declares National Emergency, Nursing Home Visits Banned

President Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force held a press conference today, March 13, to make some announcements related to the COVID-19 response at the federal level.

President Trump took the large step to declare a National Emergency - action that will open access to $50 billion in additional funding to fight to fight disease. Several major announcements were given, including plans to waive the requirement of a 3-day hospital stay before admission to a nursing home and a ban on all visitation to nursing homes except in end-of-life situations. 

Waiving regulation.The President went on to describe the waiving of provisions designed to give providers the maximum flexibility to respond to the disease and care for those affected, including:

  • Waiving of provisions to allow greater access to telehealth;
  • Waiving of requirements that determine critical access hospital bed limits and length of stay;
  • Waiving of requirements that require a 3-day hospital stay before admission to a nursing home; and
  • Waiving of provisions that hinder hopstials from bringing additional physicians on board;.

The President described a desire to remove all obstacles necessary to help limit the spread of the virus and enable treatment options. 

Testing. The Task Force announced an increase in testing options in the coming days as a result of public/private partnerships. Up to 1.4 million tests are expected to be available next week, with up to 5 million available within a month - including widespread drive-through testing options that offer results in as a little as 24-36 hours.The President also announced development of a new website that directs Americans to testing sites. 

Visitation ban. CMS Director Seema Verma joined the President at the podium to state that CMS will be issuing guidance that restricts all visitors to nursing homes, except for end-of-life situations. LeadingAge Ohio is working with our national counterpart LeadingAge to collect as much information as possible on this development. 

Governor DeWine, Director Acton, and Ohio JFS Director Kimberly Hall

Earlier today, the DeWine Administration held its now-daily press conference to announce developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio. Updates include:

School meals. The Trump Administration has provided waivers which allow schools to continue providing food assistance to schoolchildren. Each school will develop a plan on how to distribute meals to its students.

Federal waivers & relief for healthcare. Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted shared that they continue to work on a letter to the Trump Administration requesting certain waivers from the federal government. He described requests in the letter, including:

  • Waivers for timelines for re-certification like nursing homes, home health and hospices, which will allow providers to focus on care rather than compliance. 
  • Increases in federal FMAP funding, which is the match that the federal government pays for Medicaid services. This allows state resources to be diverted towards the emergency response.
  • Access to the national stockpile of personal protective equipment, to ensure healthcare workers can remain safe in doing their jobs.

Daycares remain open. At this time, Ohio is not requiring daycare providers to close. The governor encouraged Ohioans to begin planning for other arrangements and asked Ohioans to voluntarily remove children from daycare. 

Updated COVID-19 Statistics. Ohio now has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 8 males and 5 females. The ages of individuals affected range from 34 to 66; the median age is 48. Their illnesses started as far back as February 25; they include four hospitalizations and zero deaths. Six counties are now affected, which include: Belmont, Butler, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Stark, and Trumbull. Cleveland Clinic is now doing its own testing, which will greatly speed up testing capacity.

Currently, there are 50 negative tests statewide, with 159 still under investigation. Dr. Acton reminded Ohioans that testing is still only available with a doctor’s order. Based on epidemiologic modeling, she estimates roughly 100,000 Ohioans may be affected already, and the pandemic will peak in late-April to mid-May.

Dr. Acton noted that on the front end of a pandemic, “You look like an alarmist” and on the back end, it looks like you didn’t do enough. She went on to say that, to mitigate a pandemic, “Early, targeted, and layered interventions” are what are needed, and “timing is everything.”

Questions

Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org.

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.