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Today's COVID-19 Report: Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Thursday, June 25 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS Shares FAQs on Visitation, Compassionate Care

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which further clarify previous guidance on nursing home visitation and compassionate care situations.

Regarding nursing home visitation, the guidance states that a nursing home should not consider reopening to visitation until they have “adequate access to testing for COVID-19,” which implies more flexibility than previous reopening guidance which outlined weekly COVID-19 testing recommendations.

Regarding compassionate care, CMS noted that these visits are not limited to end-of-life situations, but may include other situations, and gave two examples: first, a resident that previously lived with family may experience the isolation as traumatic, and could be allowed visitation. Second, a resident whose family member or friend recently passed away may be allowed visitation for support. Each of these are within the purview of “compassionate care”.

The FAQs also noted that individuals who are positive with COVID-19 or under observation should not have visits, reiterated previous guidance that communal dining could take place, provided social distancing could be achieved, and addressed ombudsman visit requests.

Like the previous reopening guidance issued by CMS, the FAQs are recommendations, and each state may set policies that are more restrictive than the guidance. To date, the Ohio Department of Health has not shared its plans regarding reopening nursing homes. In a recent press conference, Governor DeWine noted that nursing home visitation guidance would be released soon.

You Asked.. We Answered

This week’s You Asked.. We Answered question asks: “Can an Occupational Therapist be an STNA?”

You Asked: We have an Occupational Therapist that would like to work as an STNA.  Is this Occupational Therapist allowed to work as an nursing assistant during this pandemic?

We Answered: Yes, any person who has received training and is been deemed competent to perform nursing assistant tasks can work as a nursing assistant during the pandemic. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has confirmed that there is not a prescribed program a facility needs to use to conduct this training and competency during this pandemic. Staff that are trained and deemed competent during this pandemic will not be an official State Tested Nursing Assistant until they go through the current NATCEP program and testing requirements for Ohio. Additional information on nursing assistant training during this pandemic can be found in the LeadingAge Ohio Q&A Document on COVID.

If you have a question you would like to see featured in You Asked… We Answered, email Stephanie DeWees, Quality & Regulatory Specialist - Long Term Care, at

Hospice Quality Reporting to Resume July 1

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have confirmed that temporary exemptions for Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) requirements end on June 30, 2020. Beginning July 1, hospices should resume quality data collection and submission of CAHPS Hospice Survey and HIS records. This applies to all new HIS admission records and any HIS discharge records that occur on or after July 1, 2020. The data collection for this year is from July 1 through December 31, 2020.

While quality reporting is resuming, hospices should know that the other waivers granted during the pandemic, including those allowing telehealth delivery of certain services, remain in effect.

CMS Renews ABN Form for Hospices

The Office of Management and Budget has approved the renewal of the Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN), CMS-R-131, as well as form instructions. The renewed form must be used by August 31,2020, and expires on June 30, 2023. The ABN form and instructions may be found here.  

Mandatory PPE Survey Fixed

As previously reported, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has made the PPE portion of its daily readiness survey mandatory for three days this week, beginning yesterday and continuing today and tomorrow. This morning, several members contacted LeadingAge Ohio noting that the survey would not let them enter Thursday information. ODH has confirmed that the error has been remedied, and providers should now be able to enter data via the survey link.

LeadingAge Ohio Weighs in on Immunity Bill

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard proponent testimony on HB606, one of two bills addressing civil immunity for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would implement protections from civil liability for health care workers during the pandemic, except in cases of gross negligence, reckless disregard of consequences or willful or wanton misconduct.

LeadingAge Ohio provided written testimony, outlining the challenging conditions under which providers were forced to operate, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. “To say that these conditions are sub-optimal is a gross understatement. Across Ohio, health care providers have risen to these challenges and done the only thing that they could do—their best.” Testimony noted that this bill “would help shield vital healthcare professionals who have willingly gone to work unshielded—quite literally—throughout this pandemic. It is the right thing to do.”

IPRO Offers Two Webinars on Dialysis, Dietetics During COVID-19

Ohio’s QIN-QIO, IPRO, announced two free webinars for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are:

Dialyzing Patients in Skilled Nursing Homes During COVID-19

July 1, 3 pm - 4 pm

Description: Nursing home residents who need dialysis treatments are at high-risk for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Join leaders with Dialyze Direct and Concerto Renal Services to learn about how they are minimizing risks of contacting COVID-19.

Nourishing the Mind, Body & Soul During COVID-19

July 2, 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Description: Join us for a COVID-19 Workshop as we host a conversation with registered dieticians. Together, we’ll learn about:Successful practices to stabilize resident food intake; Monitoring and managing resident weight changes; Infection control practices from the perspective of a dietician; Preservation of a sense of “home” for residents.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – June 25, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured LeadingAge's PPE efforts, research studies from the LTSS Center, communication tools and more. 

Check out the full report here. 


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Please send all questions to 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.