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07/27/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Monday, July 27, 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

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

TOMORROW: Webinar & Survey Deadline for Nursing Homes Regarding New Testing Plan

The Congregate Care Unified Response Team (CCURT) will be hosting a webinar tomorrow to provide updated guidance regarding nursing home testing. CCURT had previously communicated that it would be moving on to resident testing; however, as described in Saturday’s special alert, CCURT has adjusted its plans and wants to discuss its new plan for repeat testing of staff. 

The webinar will be held tomorrow, July 28 at 11:00 am and registration is available online. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Additionally, ODH sent the link to a new survey related to the repeated testing. ODH needs all nursing homes to complete the survey by tomorrow end of business. 

All-member Call - Thursday, July 30 - Bringing a Physician’s Lens to COVID

LeadingAge Ohio is holding an all-member COVID-19 update call on Thursday, July 30 at 10:30 a.m. On the call, LeadingAge Ohio staff will be joined by Dr. Robin Jump, Associate Director of Informatics and Analytics of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. On the call, Dr. Jump will share the current understanding of COVID-19, including best practices in managing COVID in congregate settings, pharmacological management of symptoms and what testing tells us—and where it falls short.

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/95130566261

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +13126266799,,95130566261#

Or Telephone:

US: +1 312 626 6799 

Ohio’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Distributions: Registration Required

In a call this afternoon with Ohio’s provider communities, DeWine Administration officials outlined how it will assist providers by offering $471 million in COVID relief payments. The payments will be made through the Ohio Grants Partnership, administered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) according to a methodology developed by the Administration using the “best data available” which is outlined in a FAQ document.

Most of the webinar was focused on the step-by-step process that providers will use to apply via a portal.

Takeaways included:

  • Organizations will need to enter data separately for each of their provider number sites;
  • Private pay assisted are eligible for relief payments, but private pay and independent living are not;
  • While the portal is currently open, the Administration is still working through details related to disbursing funds, so requested patience from the provider community.

Many questions related to the payments are covered in the FAQ document linked via the OBM portal. Questions may be directed to Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations & Public Affairs at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

FAQs and List for Nursing Home Point of Care Testing

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released new information last week on the Health & Human Services (HHS) testing initiative. Available at the data.cms.gov site, CMS has provided a FAQ document and a list of 635 nursing homes in 60 counties across 18 states that have been prioritized to receive one of the first shipments of testing instruments and tests. The devices would be sent to nursing homes in COVID-19 “hot spots,” to those facilities that had an active CLIA waiver. 

Some highlights from the FAQ document:

  • Instruments and tests will ship directly to the nursing home from the manufacturer.
  • Shipments will go out once per week for 14 weeks. Priority will be updated based on epidemiology data and NHSN data (cases, deaths, testing access).
  • The FAQ includes a link to CDC guidelines for collecting and handling specimens associated with COVID-19.
  • Test instruments must be used in the location associated with the CLIA waiver. If you are a Life Plan Community, you will need to use your instrument in the nursing home where your CLIA waiver is associated, rather than in your AL or IL section.
  • Test instruments will need to be sanitized in between runs. Consider this in your PPE and supply calculations.
  • As we have heard, negatives are “presumed negative” and should be considered in context: what recent exposure has the resident/staff member had, are they showing any signs/symptoms consistent with COVID-19? If so, follow up with the PCR test.
  • Negatives in areas of high prevalence should be confirmed with a PCR test.
  • Nursing homes must report all tests (not just positives) in accordance with HHS Lab Data Reporting Guidance.

While Ohio is not among the first-round states receiving devices, the Administration is hoping that once devices are delivered, they will help to expedite regular testing for nursing home staff.  As shared on Saturday, LeadingAge Ohio once again urges all members to register for the CLIA waiver if they haven't already; this will be required to receive the shipments.

Nursing Homes Blanket Waiver Charts Updated

Just in time for the extension of the public health emergency, LeadingAge has updated the nursing homes blanket waiver chart. The new resource includes information on how and why waivers are in effect to begin with, the waivers that apply to nursing homes, the end date for these waivers, and other information relevant to the end of the waiver. 

Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to the joint 1135 waiver letter that LeadingAge Ohio and the Ohio Health Care Association submitted in late April. Questions related to the blanket waivers or 1135 waiver request may be directed to Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

Provider Relief Funds and Single Audits

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) confirmed in their latest FAQ documents that health care providers who received more than $750,000 in federal awards from the Provider Relief Funds (PRF) will be subject to a single audit or a program specific audit. This announcement is applicable to almost all nonprofit, for-profit, and governmental health care providers who received payments from the PRF or received reimbursement from the Health and Human Services (HHS) uninsured fund created by the CARES Act.

LeadingAge Ohio Associate firm CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) will be hosting a webinar on this topic on August 4 (see below). At this point, we are all awaiting more details about what must be included. However, according to CLA, the Provider Relief Funds can be used to cover the expenses of the audit.  

Demystifying the Single Audit Requirement for Provider Relief Funds
August 4, 2020
2:00PM – 3:00PM 

Participants can register online. 

Window Visits Okay'd Amid Current Heat Wave

With the allowance of outdoor visitation in nursing homes resuming last Monday, one of the issues members are finding is keeping elders cool during the heat wave Ohio has been experiencing. 

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has confirmed to LeadingAge Ohio that, per ODH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), moving the visits to windows is allowable as long as facilities, residents, and families are following all appropriate infection control safety measures, including appropriate PPE and social distancing.  Using an outdoor-facing screened doorway may be an option for those residents whose windows are not accessible by family members.

Managed Care Plans Reach Out to Offer Assistance & Ask for Input

In a message sent to long-term care providers, the Managed Care and MyCare Ohio Plans (MCP/MCOP’s) stated that they recognize and value the work the post-acute provider community is doing daily to care for vulnerable Ohioans and offered to partner closely with providers. Each plan has supplied contact information so that providers can reach out with questions or needs.

The stated goal of this outreach is to obtain updates about members and to provide support and assistance from the Health Plan for:

  • Coordinating needed resources;
  • Linkage to community services;
  • Discharge planning for members seeking return to the community; and
  • Determining proper level of care for members while face-to-face contact is not an option

In addition, the Buckeye Health Plan shared information about its dedicated liaison program to assist members, providers and community-based service providers throughout the post-acute care continuum.

Finally, the MCP/MCOPs have created a brief 4-question survey to learn of nursing facilities’ COVID-19 educational needs.  Please take a moment to complete the survey no later than Friday, July 31, close of business. If accessing via computer or iPad, please click on "Schedule" along the left hand column of options. If accessing via mobile device, please tap on the three horizontal bars and select "Schedule" from the list of options.

HOME Choice Satisfaction Survey

The HOME Choice program has shared a link that will provide valuable feedback about their experience with this program that seeks to identify nursing home residents that could be safely transitioned to community settings. It is very brief and can be completed online with results coming directly to the HOME Choice unit.

Ohio Department of Aging Shares Free Webinars on COVID-19

The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) hosts regular webinars for area agency staff, service providers, and other stakeholders. The free webinars are held every two weeks and highlight COVID-19 related policy changes, service guidelines, best practices, and more.

Upcoming webinar dates include:

  • August 7 – 10:00 a.m.
  • August 21 – 10:00 a.m.

Register here for either of the webinars listed above. For questions about these webinars, please email elderconnections@age.ohio.gov.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – July 27, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured information about the continuation of the 'Act for Older Adults' campaign and some recent national media success. 

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.  

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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.