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05/27/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Wednesday, May 27 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

All-member Call - Tomorrow, Thursday, May 28

LeadingAge Ohio is holding an all-member COVID-19 update call tomorrow, Thursday, May 28 at 10:30 a.m. 

This week’s call will focus on the DeWine Administration's plans to deploy the National Guard to support testing long-term care facilities affected by COVID-19. The initial efforts will focus on testing all staff as well as strategic testing of residents. Join us to hear the latest information provided by the Department of Health, as well as those questions that are yet unanswered.  

Call in registration is as follows:

For best call quality, we encourage using your computer audio. This also allows callers to easily send questions to the speakers via the 'chat' function. Questions can also be sent to the COVID19@leadingageohio.org email address.

Please click the following link to join the webinar on your computer: https://easyconnecthd.zoom.us/j/93613762820 

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +13126266799,,93613762820# 

Or Telephone:

US: +1 312 626 6799 

Webinar ID: 936 1376 2820

You Asked... We Answered (It's Back!)

You Asked:  Are we allowed to use audio-only telehealth for hospice routine home care visits and if so, how do we document that on the plan of care?

We Answered: CMS includes the following in CFR 418.204 

(d) Use of technology in furnishing services Special Coverage Requirements" addresses the use of telehealth and hospice routine home care visits.  Please see the during a Public Health Emergency. When a patient is receiving routine home care, during a Public Health Emergency as defined in § 400.200 of this chapter, hospices may provide services via a telecommunications system if it is feasible and appropriate to do so to ensure that Medicare patients can continue receiving services that are reasonable and necessary for the palliation and management of a patients' terminal illness and related conditions. The use of such technology in furnishing services must be included on the plan of care, meet the requirements at § 418.56, and must be tied to the patient-specific needs as identified in the comprehensive assessment and the plan of care must include a description of how the use of such technology will help to achieve the goals outlined on the plan of care.

From the information above, your visit frequency on the plan of care might read, for example: “Weekly volunteer telehealth visits via a telephone to provide companionship and emotional support.” This type of visit might apply to the plan of care goal related to prevention of social isolation. The volunteer documentation of the visit should reflect the volunteer’s time spent with the patient on the phone and the patient’s reaction to the phone “visit”. 

The volunteer documentation of the visit should reflect the volunteer’s time spent with the patient on the phone and the patient’s reaction to the phone “visit”.  If you have any questions regarding documentation of telehealth visits, contact Anne Shelley at ashelley@leadingageohio.org.

Infection Control Survey Tip of the Week: Prepare for Entrance

Infection control surveys are well underway in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will be conducting portions of the survey off-site.

It is important for facilities to send over policies, notifications, and employee phone numbers electronically. The surveyors have been calling the facilities letting them know that they have been selected for an infection control survey and requesting numerous items be emailed to them.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided the survey Entrance Conference form within the Survey Resources zip file under the downloads section of the CMS Nursing Home webpage. This form includes many of the standard items facilities are accustomed to providing at the time of a survey. Review the entrance conference form and ensure that your team is ready to supply the appropriate information immediately upon the request which may be in a variety of different places. Consider making your “survey binder” an electronic binder for ease of submitting the information electronically to the surveyor.

Information that can be requested includes: 

  • Infection Control Policy & Procedures
  • Emergency Preparedness Plan
  • Staffing strategy policy to address surge needs including volunteers and hospice employees, as outlined in the SOM Appendix Z E-24
  • Antibiotic Stewardship policy and procedures
  • Donning & Doffing policy and procedures
  • List of all staff with phone numbers
  • Nursing schedule for week of survey
  • Suspected positives
  • Mechanism for informing residents, family, and staff of positive cases and the staff member responsible for the notification

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

HUD Guidance for Electronic Signatures and Delays in Stimulus Checks

On May 26, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued new guidance to allow for electronic signatures and documents. The notice provides guidance for the use of electronic signatures, as well as file storage and transmission, in HUD-assisted multifamily housing. The HUD Notice does not change the type of documentation that is required to be used by housing providers, only the method of transmission, retention, and authentication.

For example, a form that would have previously required an original (“wet”) signature by a tenant can now be either submitted in paper form or signed and transmitted to management electronically. The new HUD guidance also impacts HUD file reviews. To access LeadingAge’s full review of the new guidance, click here.

Also discussed during the call was an update on the IRS response to stimulus check delays for benefit recipients. Nearly two months after the CARES Act, some low-income households have not yet received stimulus checks. The IRS added four answers to its stimulus check FAQs addressing payment actions for Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Department of Veteran Affairs benefit recipients. The new FAQs cover information for spouses or dependents of pension recipients, qualifying stimulus payment amounts, and actions required by the recipient. 

In response to the frustration of many who have not received their payment, the IRS on May 18 added 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions. According to the IRS statement regarding phone calls: “Answers for most Economic Impact Payment questions are available on the automated message for people who call the phone number provided in the letter (Notice 1444). Those who need additional assistance at the conclusion of the message will have the option of talking to a telephone representative.”

However, the IRS stated that telephone assistance and other services will remain limited, and urged constituents to continue using IRS.gov for information. The phone number for assistance in Notice 1444 is listed as 800-919-9835; another contact number for the IRS is 800-829-1040. 

Join the next LeadingAge Housing Call next Wednesday at 9:00 AM for the latest housing updates.    


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Ohio Statistics: 33,439 Cases, 2,044 Deaths

There are 33,439 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,044 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,700 people have been hospitalized, including 1,492 admissions to intensive care units. 

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. 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.