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05/01/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Friday, May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, May 1 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS Issues New Blanket Waivers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new blanket waivers today. The updated list, including new items, can be found on CMS' website. LeadingAge is preparing a summary of the changes and we will provide in Monday’s Alert.

CMS Interim Final Rule Addressing COVID Reporting

The long-awaited Medicare and Medicaid Interim Final Rule (IFR) that includes reporting requirements for the SNF Quality Reporting Program was released today. It will likely be published in the Federal Register in the next day or two; provisions of the IFR have different effective dates. 

Most notably, the rule establishes explicit reporting requirements for SNFs to report information on COVID-19 cases among residents and staff. The reporting requirements are effective the date the IFR is published in the Federal Register.  

The reporting must include: suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infections among residents and staff; total COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff; PPE and hand hygiene supplies in the facility; ventilator capacity and supply; resident beds and census; access to COVID-19 testing in the facility; and staffing shortages.

The information will be submitted no less than weekly through the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network.  The rule includes many other provisions related to home health, DME, and quality reporting. More detailed analyses and related documents will be coming out in the next few days.

Activities Professionals Digitally Meet to Offer Support and Discuss Resources 

LeadingAge Ohio members Willow Brook Christian Village, First Community Village and Mt. Alverna Village were mentioned in the Columbus Dispatch this morning in regards to the efforts of their activity professionals to engage residents in a bit of fun as well as to offer an opportunity to acknowledge the losses they’re experiencing as a result of the pandemic. 

Activity Professionals within the LeadingAge Ohio membership came together through Zoom this week to offer emotional support, share ideas, and discuss resources in the midst of current COVID-19 restrictions The Zoom was hosted by Kendal at Oberlin Director of Creative Arts Therapy/Dementia Specialist Michele Tarsitano-Amato.

Participants discussed how to apply for CMP grants. As mentioned in an alert earlier this week, CMP grants of up to $3,000/provider may be made to providers that complete an application template provided by ODM; applications should be sent to Amy Hogan, Nursing Facility Policy Administrator at amy.hogan@medicaid.ohio.gov. ODM also shared an FAQ document, as well as a sample approval letter for the grants.

The focus of the next call will be reviewing plans of care in the midst of COVID-19.  Please contact Jennifer Taylor, LeadingAge Ohio Director of Member Experience, at jtaylor@leadingageohio.org if you would like to ensure your activities staff are receiving information on LeadingAge Ohio activities events. This group will plan to meet every two weeks with the next call scheduled for May 14 at 12:30 PM. Additional access information will be shared in a later member alert. 

Please share the direct links below from the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Hub with your activities professionals.

Contacting Legislators Works!

The Ohio General Assembly and Congress are currently considering many issues that affect the lives of seniors and their service providers. LeadingAge and LeadingAge Ohio need your help to make sure lawmakers hear how their actions impact you.

Please take a moment to contact your legislators and make your voice heard. Phone calls to policymakers do work to elevate the important issues facing constituents. Legislative staff track the number of calls they get and it factors in to their political calculations. Squeaky wheels get the grease!

For assistance in contacting your Ohio legislators, please reach out to Director of Government Relations and Public Policy Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.orgTo contact your federal legislators, check out the LeadingAge Action Alert webpage. We expect a new housing alert to come out on Monday.

Department of Aging Survey

Director of Aging Ursel McElroy shared the follow message directing providers to a survey regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

"On behalf of Director Ursel J. McElroy, I write to announce that the Ohio Department of Aging is seeking input from stakeholders to gain perspectives regarding the areas of highest need of older Ohioans at this stage of the COVID-19 emergency. We have prepared a short survey for your completion. Your input will help guide the efforts of the department and the area agencies on aging in administering and coordinating the investments appropriated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

On March 27, 2020, the President signed H.R. 748, the CARES Act, into law, thus enacting Phase III of the federal government’s coronavirus relief packages. The bill appropriates $2 trillion dollars and makes policy changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on health and human services, state and local governments, businesses, individuals, and the economy.

As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $955 million in grants to be administered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living to help meet the needs of older adults and their caregivers during this crisis. The Ohio Department of Aging received its CARES Act notice of grant award on April 21, 2020 for just over $29 million. The grants will be disbursed to Ohio’s 12 area agencies on aging.

Please take a few moments to respond to this survey by 12:00PM, Tuesday, May 5. I have included the link to the survey below for your convenience. We also ask that you cascade this email to your membership, if applicable, to gather comprehensive feedback across the aging network."

Paycheck Protection Program: How to Maximize Loan Forgiveness Webinar

The Paycheck Protection Loan Program was passed by Congress as a part of the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Crisis Resource Team at Pease & Associates are hosting a webinar to discuss the details of the program, with a focus on best practices to maximize your loan forgiveness.

Topics in this Tuesday, May 5 webinar will include allowable uses of funds when the 8-week covered period begins, including non-payroll and payroll, and what documents will be needed to apply for the loan forgiveness. CPE CE hours will be awarded upon successful completion of this webinar with a completed evaluation form submitted to LeadingAge Ohio. 

Ohio Statistics: 18,743 Cases, 1,002 Deaths, Nursing Facility Deaths Added

There are 18,743 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,002 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,634 people have been hospitalized, including 1,056 admissions to intensive care units. 

Nursing facility deaths were added this week to the ODH coronavirus website—this was reported in multiple media outlets, including this article that appeared in the Columbus Dispatch. LeadingAge Ohio encourages members to review the data reported for your organization to ensure they are accurate, as several members have reported inaccuracies. Any inaccurate data reported for other organizations should be reported to Kathryn Brod (kbrod@leadingageohio.org). 

In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

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.

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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.