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09/09/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Wednesday, September 9, 2020 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS webinar focuses on interim testing rule

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a call on nursing home testing yesterday evening. The presentation from that call is available here.  Speakers on the call included:

  • Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Lee Fleisher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CMS
  • Jean Moody-Williams and Dr. Shari Ling, CMS

Seema Verma and the CMS survey team gave a broad overview of the Interim Final Rule and the Infection Control Training Program. She stressed the call to action to nursing homes for infection control, testing and training to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID.

Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD, reported that to date: 13,477 testing instruments and 4.7 million tests have been sent to 13,343 nursing homes.  This week  507 instruments with 192,000 tests will be sent to nursing homes. He also discussed using the antigen test kits to test residents once  and staff twice under this initiative. Once the initial supply of tests are used, providers can use the provider relief funding to acquire testing kits from the two vendors. A call is scheduled this week with BD outlets so nursing homes are prioritized.

On the call, there was also discussion regarding asymptomatic testing. Overall, antigen tests are acceptable under FDA and states should accept them as if they do not they are violating a federal mandate. Nursing homes should follow the August 24 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FAQ and the August 28 CMS statement and use antigen testing on asymptomatic individuals and review the PREP Act coverage. In addition, HHS purchasing 150 million antigen tests on the Abbott card, using nasal swabs that will be distributing next week. 750,000 of these will be sent to nursing homes in red/yellow zone counties. These cards should be used to supplement PCR testing or POC antigen tests to lessen the burden and rotate the type of tests used.

During the Q and A, the speakers fielded questions about testing contractors and timing, documentation, funding and community positivity rate calculation and other options. LeadingAge Ohio is continuing to advocate for mitigation of the challenges emerging from different state and federal testing mandates, and will alert members as soon as updated guidance is available.

POC testing tips and challenges

LeadingAge has received several reports of challenges in using the BD and Quidel machines, including apparent false positives in some cases. Last evening’s call with The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encouraged providers that they can process testing quicker than one test every 15 minutes by using a daisy chain approach. CMS projected providers being able to process 10 tests every hour. In addition, CMS indicated that providers did not need to test ALL staff on one day; the testing could be staggered.  However, the required cadence must still hold.

Members are encouraged to continue to send concerns to the COVID-19 mailbox, so LeadingAge Ohio can elevate concerns—including reported false positives—to authorities.

HUD announces Service Coordinator COVID-19 payments – Applications due to HUD by September 11 

Today, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that CARES Act awards for grant-funded Service Coordinators are now available. The supplemental payments will be approximately 9% of operating budgets, and applications for the payments are due to HUD by THIS FRIDAY. Detailed instructions to apply for the payments is available here.

Grant Awards: The supplemental awards will be equivalent to 9% of their SCMF/CHSP FY2020 program operating budget.
Eligible Period of Increased Costs: March 27 – December 31, 2020
Application Deadline:  September 11, 2020
Acceptance of Notice of Award:  The authorizing official must access GrantSolutions and accept the award no later than 5 business days after receipt of notification.  GrantSolutions is sending notification emails to eligible grantees.
Spending Plan will be due:  Grantees must submit a spending plan via Grant Notes/Application to the assigned grant specialist within 20 days after acceptance of the award.
Availability of Funds:  Once the spending plan is approved by the grants specialist, the funds will be available within 3 business days.

Ohio Department of Aging Webinar: Responsible Restart Adult Day Services, Senior Center Services

The Ohio Department of Aging is hosting a webinar for both Adult Day Services providers and Senior Centers on Friday, September 11, to review the Director’s Order on Opening of Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers in preparation for safely reopening their doors beginning September 21, 2020. LeadingAge Ohio worked with a coalition of Adult Day Services providers to list the questions and concerns Adult Day Services providers anticipate related to the reopening.  

Please register for the appropriate webinar below:

Adult Day Services
Friday, September 11, 9:00-10:30am
Register Here

Senior Center Services
Friday, September 11, 1:00-2:30pm
Register Here

Direct questions via email to elderconnections@age.ohio.gov.

Ohio Department of Aging offers learning opportunities, personal challenges to help older Ohioans take 10 BIG Steps to Prevent Falls

The Ohio Department of Aging, through its STEADY U Ohio falls prevention initiative, will celebrate September 21-25, 2020, as Falls Prevention Awareness Week by encouraging older Ohioans to take 10 BIG Steps to Prevent Falls.

“Falls are a serious concern for older adults. They are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among Ohioans age 65 and older,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department. “Yet, falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented. 10 BIG Steps to Prevent Falls aims to give all older Ohioans and their families tools to lower their risk.”

Each day, the department and its falls prevention partners will host a web-based learning opportunity on a different aspect of falls prevention. Each learning opportunity will be paired with a personal challenge or other activity to apply the lessons learned to the individual’s home, health, and habits.

Individuals can learn more about all 10 steps, register for webinars (that begin on Monday, Sept 21), and download related assessments, plans, and checklists on the STEADY U Ohio web page.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – September 9, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured a message from Board Chair, Carol Silver Elliott and a reminder about the fast approaching deadline for CARES Act Payments for Service Coordinators.

Check out the full report here

                Linkage                         Buerger


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 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. 

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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.