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06/19/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, June 19 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annual Conference Cancelled, Fall Education Fest Instead

After careful consideration, including conducting a member survey and comprehensive discussions with the hotel, LeadingAge Ohio has made the difficult decision to cancel our Annual Conference, “Together…”, originally scheduled for August 25-27, 2020 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton.  Be assured, this was not an easy call to make, but we believe it is the safe choice and in the best interest for all attendees as well as the vulnerable individuals they serve.

The LeadingAge Ohio team is pivoting quickly and is working hard to creatively replace the face-to-face conference with engaging, valuable and interactive virtual education opportunities this fall.  Our plan is to offer an “Education Fest” likely over the entire month of October, selecting many of the presentations originally submitted for the conference for a series of education opportunities.

LeadingAge Ohio will be announcing the presentation schedule in the coming months, and registration information is forthcoming. LeadingAge Ohio deeply appreciates the counsel of its Professional Development Committee, as well as the patience and understanding of members as we undertake this new endeavor… together!

ODH Webinar Invitation - Update on COVID Testing in Nursing Facilities- June 23

LeadingAge Ohio just received notification for providers to join the Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, and members of the Congregate Care Unified Response Team (CCURT) to hear updates from the State team regarding testing in nursing homes, to learn about ODH’s recently released Guidelines and guidance documents for testing in nursing homes, as well as other regulatory updates from the ODH.  The webinar will be held this Tuesday, June 23 from 10:00 am - 11:30 am.  

The Administration requests that only one or two individuals from each unique organization / facility join the webinar to ensure all interested parties have an opportunity to participate. The webinar will be recorded and posted for later viewing.

Please register for the webinar here. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. *Please note: the webinar will require attendees to listen through their computer audio, so calling in from a phone will not be an option.

Infection Control Survey Tip of the Week: Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions

During the infection control survey, facilities will be evaluated to determine if they are following their COVID-19 plan for precautions. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend using either a test-based strategy or a symptom-based (i.e., time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery strategy) or time-based strategy in deciding to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions for patients with confirmed COVID-19. This can be found on the CDC’s Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings website. To implement a test-based strategy, at least two consecutive respiratory specimens must be collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens).

If you have a question about the Infection Control Survey, email Stephanie DeWees Quality & Regulatory Specialist - Long Term Care at sdewees@leadingageohio.org.

ODH Fields Questions on Testing Refusal, Payment

On Tuesday, June 16, LeadingAge Ohio met with representatives from the Ohio Departments of Health and Medicaid for a weekly Q&A session on COVID-related topics. Among the questions asked were:

  • Some providers are reporting bills for the testing completed by the Ohio National Guard. Isn’t this supposed to be billed to insurance?  ODH responded that the mandatory testing process is still a work in progress, but the model for payment is the same as what has been previously communicated: insurance would be billed, and the state will cover testing for uninsured staff. Additionally, the state encouraged providers to elevate any instances of insurance carriers billing copays or requirement payment for a deductible, stating employees should not have any costs for testing. Pursuing insurance payment first is a condition of using the COVID funds.
  • Must employees who refuse testing be restricted from work? ODH stated that all employees must be tested per the order, except for those with health reasons. ODH will not advise facilities on what to do if an employee refuses, as it would involve labor laws, union contracts and/or other legal considerations.
  • Must minors have parental consent for testing? Normal consent procedures should be followed.  
  • Providers are being told that any new hires be tested—is this true? ODH recommendation is that all staff are tested, and that as new staff come on, they be tested as well. ODH is working on written guidance on new employee testing, which will also be impacted by the testing plan that is adopted beyond the baseline testing period.
  • Is there any update on allowing beauticians to enter a facility? ODH is working on guidance on this issue, and hopes to share guidance in the coming  week.
  • Does ODH have plans to restart standard surveys? ODH is planning to begin standard surveys in July, first prioritizing those with IJ or infection control citation.  ODH will also be following the guidance in the QSO-20-31-All memo which requires surveys within 30 days of nursing homes with COVID outbreaks, as well as surveys within 3-5 days of nursing homes with 3 or more new or suspected cases. The guidance also notes that beginning in FY 2021, state survey agencies should do focused infection control surveys of 20 percent of nursing homes.

  • Has ODH or the ombudsman received any information about improper treatment of the economic impact payment (EIP, i.e. stimulus payments) to residents? The stimulus payments may be used to pay a medical bill, but it must be voluntary. ODM encouraged written documentation that the resident wants to use it to pay the bill, and witnessed/signed by an individual not associated with the facility.
  • What if a medical director refuses to write order for staff tests? ODH stated that this would fall under the medical director’s responsibility for surveillance of infectious disease at the facility, and encourages providers to strongly encourage medical directors to write these orders. LeadingAge Ohio encourages members whose medical directors are reticent to write orders reach out to Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.org. 
  • When will the self-assessment attestation for funding be ready? ODM is continuing to work on this, with an effort to make the process as simple as possible for providers.
  • Is the Administration working towards visitation policies for nursing homes? The Administration does not have a target date for expanding visitation to include nursing homes, but is beginning to work on a plan for this area.

At LeadingAge Ohio’s request, the Administration agreed to hold an all-provider call for nursing homes, which is scheduled for June 30 from 10-11:30.

ODH PPE Survey Mandatory Next Week

On a call with provider associations today, Administration leadership announced that next week, the PPE portion of the daily readiness survey will be mandatory for three days to give ODH refreshed information regarding PPE stock statewide.

The Administration has learned that some providers are now experiencing difficulty acquiring gloves as PPE shortages persist nationwide. Providers should remember that if they are beginning to be low on certain PPE items, the local emergency management agency (EMA) is the first contact they should make to ask for support.

ODA Launches Partners in Aging

This week, the Ohio Department of Aging distributed its inaugural edition of the “Ohio Partners in Aging” newsletter, targeted at the wider aging network of providers, agencies and services serving older adults. The first edition highlights the new “Friendly Chat” as well as a summary of state and federal legislation affecting older adults.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – June 19, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured reopening resources, insights and tools from LeadingAge staff.

Check out the full report here. 

 

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Questions

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. LeadingAge is continuing its daily calls for all members.  To participate in these daily online updates, members should register at here.  

 

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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.