Today's COVID-19 Report: Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Wednesday, September 2 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today's LeadingAge Coronavirus Update Call to feature Danny Williams discussing building trust through COVID-19
Concerned about racial disparities during COVID-19? Join LeadingAge today to hear how the nation’s oldest African American-founded nursing home is overcoming the health crisis. Danny Williams, President and CEO of Eliza Bryant in West Cleveland, will share: With a 95% African American resident population, Eliza Bryant has set up an onsite dialysis center – open to residents and to the broader community – to better serve the minority group health needs of the Black community. Throughout the call, Mr. Williams will talk about how their new Elder Justice Center brings hope and housing to older adults experiencing abuse. Mr. Williams will also share Eliza Bryant’s history of building trust with residents and the neighborhood, ultimately leading to their story of COVID-19 survival. Register here.
Provider Relief Funds for Assisted Living announced
Yesterday evening U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that it was taking applications for assisted living facilities to receive Provider Relief Funds. The announcement detailed that HHS is inviting applications for provider relief funds that may have been previously ineligible for Phase 2 General Distribution funds. Assisted Living Facilities will receive 2% of their annual revenue from resident care. Additional details are available on the Provider Relief Website. Providers will have until September 13 to begin the process by entering their Tax Identification Number (TIN) for validation. LeadingAge is working to provide additional analysis of the opportunity.
House Accepts Conference Committee Report, HB606
Yesterday, the Ohio House of Representatives took up HB606, Ohio’s bill that would extend civil immunity to providers and employers acting during the coronavirus public health emergency. The bill had previously passed the House and then was amended in the Senate before returning to the House, which accepted the Conference Committee report. The Senate is anticipated to accept the conference committee report before the bill will be delivered to the Governor’s desk for signature.
LeadingAge Ohio expects the bill will provide a measure of relief to providers who have been working under challenging circumstances during the pandemic and extends its gratitude to each of our members who reached out to their legislators to elevate this important issue. Questions related to HB606 may be directed to Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal eviction moratorium announced through end of year
Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an “exceedingly rare” order to temporarily halt evictions for people impacted by COVID-19. Housing providers, including HUD-assisted senior housing, are prohibited from evicting residents under a certain income threshold for non-payment of rent until December 31; rent payments are still due, and housing providers can still charge late fees. On today’s Housing Happenings call, LeadingAge noted that it welcomes the new protections but collected the concerns from members about the notice as written. Juliana Bilowich, LeadingAge’s Director of Housing Operations and Policy, will work with federal agencies to provide accompanying relief for housing providers. To read more about the Agency Order, and to read a recent LeadingAge letter to the CDC on evictions, click here.
Tomorrow: ODH webinar on nursing facility testing
Ohio Department of Health (ODH) sent a bulletin to nursing home providers announcing a webinar tomorrow, Thursday, Sept 3 from 11 am - 12 pm ET. The webinar titled Keys to Successful Nursing Home Staff Retesting Using the State-Supported Process requires registration to receive the email containing the login information. ODH reminds providers that they must use computer-audio as there will not be a dial-in option.
Adult Day Guidelines Require Masks, Staff Testing
As reported in Monday’s COVID-19 Daily Report, this week Director Lance Himes signed an order allowing adult day and senior centers to reopen beginning September 21. This morning, the Ohio Department of Aging followed up with guidance for adult day centers, based on the order. Certain portions of the order spur more questions than answers: notably, the requirement that all adult day participants wear a mask may impede certain populations, like individuals with dementia, from accessing services during the first phase. Another portion of the order requires testing for all adult day staff, but the Administration has yet to release guidance on how adult day providers should access testing services, and whether the state will provide financial support for this testing.
LeadingAge Ohio joined a coalition of adult day providers statewide that is seeking clarity on the order, given the significant limitations it places on providers. LeadingAge Ohio is concerned that the guidelines, combined with stagnant reimbursement for adult day services under the PASSPORT waiver, threaten the viability of the sector. To get involved in advocacy for Ohio’s adult day providers, email Susan Wallace at email@example.com.
CMS infection control training for nursing homes
Ohio Department of Health (ODH) alerted nursing homes that the trainings on infection control for nursing home frontline staff and managers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) are now available on the QSEP portal for providers. ODH communicated that CMS is monitoring facilities for staff completion of the training.
CMS announced the development of this frontline and management training in an August 25 press release. The training is scenario-based and offers certifications of completion for each completed training course. CMS and CDC note that although the training is comprehensive, they will also have subject matter experts available on bi-weekly webinars from August 27, 2020, through January 7, 2021, from 4 – 5 pm ET, to answer questions. Registration is required for these Question & Answer sessions. Participants can register on the Zoom webinar registration page.
NHSN updates include antigen test reporting
The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) hosted a training on September 1 informing nursing homes of the new antigen data entry element. NHSN now requires nursing homes to answer if they have an in-house point-of-care test machine (capability to perform COVID-19 testing within your facility). This question has an effective date of August 10, 2020, which means facilities have the option (not required) to enter responses starting from August 10 forward. Facilities are required to further record if testing has been completed on residents or staff and if they have enough supply to test all staff.
NHSN stated that this data entry does not meet the CLIA waiver reporting requirement. An Enhanced Data Security (EDS) platform is being developed by NHSN allowing users with limited access to gain full access and enter resident level data. Facilities that already have full access do not need to complete the EDS step to enter resident level data. NHSN will be hosting a repeat of the training on Thursday September 3 from 1 - 2 pm ET.
Clarifications for LeadingAge members from HHS on antigen testing
Several LeadingAge policy staff met on Monday, August 31 with Rachel Kellogg, Deputy Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary for Health, Brett Giroir, to discuss questions on antigen testing and the BD and Quidel machines. Some key information learned on the call:
- Providers that have not received an antigen testing machine (or an adequate supply of test kits) by the time the CMS interim final rule is published and takes effect should be documenting and informing local and state health officials.
- Test kits are specific to the BD and Quidel machines. BD test kits cannot be used on the Quidel machine and vice versa.
- Though BD machines are less accurate than Quidel’s, BD is a larger company with more production capacity, so more of these are being distributed.
- Both companies have set up dedicated websites to respond to nursing home requests for test kits. The BD link can be accessed by clicking here and the Quidel link can be accessed by clicking here.
- If machines arrive broken or damaged or with a clearly erroneous number of test kits, providers can contact the companies directly. If a provider doesn’t receive a machine at all or there are other unusual issues, please notify Jodi Eyigor or Janine Finck-Boyle of LeadingAge. LeadingAge will consolidate questions and share them with Assistant Secretary Giroir’s office.
- HHS will soon issue its allocation plan for the 150 million rapid result Abbott tests. If nursing homes have these tests, they may use them in lieu of or in combination with the antigen machines and PCR tests. Recall, the interim final rule requires testing but it doesn’t explicitly require use of the antigen machine.
LeadingAge Ohio is actively engaged with the Ohio Department of Health to determine how Ohio will transition to the use of the point of care devices, in lieu of its statewide staff testing program. LeadingAge Ohio will share guidance with members as it becomes available.
End of Life and Critical Care Town Halls: Mark your calendars
Join Michael Hebb, the founder of the End of Life Collective and Death Over Dinner, and Dr. Silvia Perez-Protto, the Director of the Cleveland Clinic End of Life Center, for a monthly Town Hall to explore the remarkable new tech offerings available to support end of life and critical care. LeadingAge is among the long list of partners for these events. Participants will include tech founders at each Town Hall, with opportunities to learn about their mobile apps and tech platforms and discover how they can help both families and clinicians. The first session on Sept. 16 will feature the people behind Saga, Trust and Will and MIDEO. Each month will showcase new tools and include conversation and Q&A. The registration link for the free 1 – 2 pm ET September 16 session is available here.
LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – September 2, 2020
LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured a message from Katie Smith Sloan sharing highlights from the LeadingAge Member Survey and the CDC's announcement on an "exceedingly rare" order to temporarily halt evictions for people impacted by COVID-19.
Check out the full report here.
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 here.
LeadingAge Ohio is working to ensure that the information in our daily alerts, on our website, and all coronavirus-related communications is as accurate as possible. However, LeadingAge Ohio makes no guarantees about the accuracy of the information.