Today's COVID-19 Report: Thursday, April 16, 2020
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Thursday, April 16 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Register Now: All-provider Call with ODH, ODM, and ODA Tomorrow, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
The Ohio Departments of Health, Medicaid and Aging are jointly hosting an all-provider call on the COVID-19 Pre-Surge Planning Toolkit released yesterday. All long-term and post-acute care providers in the state of Ohio are invited to join. The call will be tomorrow, Friday, April 16 from 3:30-5:00 pm.
Registration is required - a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar will be sent.
Talking Points - Director's Order on Case Reporting
Yesterday's Director's Order on COVID-19 case reporting in long-term care facilities applies to “both residents and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or have a probable diagnosis of COVID-19”. A definition was discussed on the all-member call earlier today, but that definition appears to have been too broad. LeadingAge Ohio is working to gain clarification on how ODH is defining “probable” diagnosis.
The Ohio Department of Health posted a list of long-term care facilities that had confirmed COVID-19 cases on its coronavirus website. Since then, long-term care facilities across the state have fielded inquiries from families and local media.
LeadingAge Ohio has provided talking points for members to use in their conversations with local media and family members.
CMS Phone Outreach to Nursing Facilities Has Begun
Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started contacted nursing facilities by phone regarding COVD-19 policies and practices. LeadingAge Ohio contacted the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) regarding this initiative and received confirmation late last night that the outreach is being done by the CMS Office of Program Operations and Local Engagement (OPOLE) to determine if the facilities are familiar with the self-assessment tool (infection control checklist). Outreach activities began on April 14. Please advise your clinical team for this potential contact by CMS.
COVID-19 Grants, Loans, and Funding Opportunities for Nonprofits
Recent federal legislation has provided some additional or accelerated funding that can be accessed by nonprofit service providers impacted by COVID-19. This funding takes the form of provider relief grants, advance Medicare payments, FEMA grants and potentially forgivable small business loans available now. While the small business opportunities are generally for organizations with 500 or fewer workers, there are certain nuances to this criterion. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act also targets significant funding for larger businesses although those programs are still in development.
Summary information on these opportunities is provided in this Quick Reference Guide, which provides links to additional details in this document on each opportunity
New CDC Guidance on Infection Prevention
New CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Positive Diagnoses was released yesterday. The CDC is implementing “universal source control” for everyone entering a health care facility – they are asking that everyone have a cloth face covering or a face mask – visitors, patients, health care personnel.
Also, everyone must be actively screened for fever and other symptoms. Finally, the guidance indicates that health care settings can forego contact tracing for exposures if they use universal source control and screening for fever and symptoms.
PACE HOS-M Survey Delayed
Late yesterday, CMS announced that the Health Outcomes Survey – Modified (HOS-M) that applies to PACE providers for the purposes of participant frailty scores, was formally moved from taking place over the next few months to August at the earliest. If a client is frailer now than the last survey, it is possible payment increases could be delayed. LeadingAge will continue to communicate on this topic.
CMS Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has shared information on a call occuring tomorrow. CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, invite providers to join CMS Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 tomorrow, Friday, April 17 from 12:30 – 2:00 PM. This call series is an opportunity to hear physicians and other clinical leaders share their experiences, best practices, strategies, and insights related to COVID-19.
Lessons from The Front Lines calls are held weekly on Fridays at 12:30 PM and specific topics vary. Dial in details are below.
CMS Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19
Friday, April 17, 12:30 – 2:00 PM
Participant Dial-In: (877) 251-0301
Access Code: 8672948
Conference lines are limited, so participants are highly encouraged to join via audio webcast, either on computer or smartphone web browser.
LeadingAge Action Alerts - Contact Congress
LeadingAge is asking for member assistance in contacting Congress for additional supports related to the coronavirus pandemic. The following action alerts allow you to get in touch with your Congressperson via email.
Congress has the opportunity to provide critical funding and resources for aging services providers throughout the country. Urge Congress to include LeadingAge priorities in the next coronavirus legislation today!
The coronavirus has brought unprecedented emergency spending costs to senior affordable housing communities. The vast majority of these costs were not met by the CARES Act. More than 2 million seniors live in affordable apartment buildings financed by HUD, Rural Housing Service, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit. These communities, their residents, and their staff need relief and they need it now. Urge Congress to provide funding and support for residents and affordable senior housing providers.
Home health agencies are a crucial discharge destination for the health care system, with hospitals needing every available bed to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. To continue to support people in ways that optimize resources and minimize community spread by reducing contact between clinicians and patients, we ask that home health visits made via telehealth be a fully recognized aspect of the service and urge Congress to expand home health emergency telehealth authority to allow for payment.
Deferred Elective Procedures
Governor DeWine announced yesterday that he has asked Ohio hospitals to begin developing a plan to begin treating patients whose non-COVID-19 elective procedures were delayed or deferred due to the ongoing pandemic. The Ohio Department of Health previously ordered that elective surgeries be postponed to expand hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients and to conserve the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is in short supply.
"We have seen in the last week that Ohio has appeared to flatten the curve, and we feel much better about the capacity of hospitals today. However, there are still serious concerns about the lack of PPE," said Governor DeWine. "As we begin looking at doing procedures that have been delayed, I've asked Ohio hospitals to look at this issue with the shortage of PPE in mind."
Governor DeWine requested that the plan be completed within one week. LeadingAge Ohio shared persistent concerns regarding shortages of PPE and COVID-19 testing in long-term care during a morning call with the Administration.
State to go Back to Work
During his briefing Thursday afternoon, Gov. Mike DeWine stated that the state wants to get people back to work with some businesses reopening on May 1 as the current stay-at-home order ends that day. The Governor stated that his Administration has appointed a group of business leaders from across all sectors to address the economic crisis.
The Governor went on to describe that life as we knew it will not resume for some time, and many precautions will remain in place to protect vulnerable citizens.
Ohio Statistics: 8,414 Cases, 389 Deaths
There are 8,414 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 389 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 2,331 people have been hospitalized, including 707 admissions to intensive care units.
In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Working Group facebook group to pose questions to peers and share best practices.