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Today's COVID-19 Report: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Thursday, October 29 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Today's Report

  • You asked... We answered: Abbott testing process
  • ODH further clarifies transport driver testing
  • Last chance: applications for Ohio CRF close TOMORROW
  • NHSN training for reporting POC test reporting
  • Education offerings through Palmetto GBA
  • SNF training event provided by CMS
  • Holiday travel and planning staff/resident communication tools
  • Vaccine planning: Affordable housing registration and deadline
  • Housing Happenings call: Three action Items
  • LeadingAge Need to Know

You asked... We answered

You asked
We’ve watched the BinaxNOW video trainings and wonder how other members are structuring the testing process with this new test. Are there best practices or recommendations you can share?

We answered:
LeadingAge Ohio reached out to Jason Miller at Otterbein SeniorLife, who has emerged as a leader in thinking strategically about testing since the beginning of the pandemic. He shared the common questions that providers may have and answers.

The training video suggests that every employee have the app – but what if all of our employees don’t have smart phones?

Not only do some employees not have smart phones, some may not even have cell phone.  They will need to be notified by the facility of their results. 

The BinaxNOW tests have a QR Code, but did you place employee names on the tests?

YES: Name, Date, time tested, time read, result, and nurse log.

The training video ODH offers shows processing one employee’s tests but doing several hundred is a different story! 

Answer: When the employees come in for their day of testing it’s built in steps: Check in; COVID Test; log the specimen; and report the results.

An ‘assembly line process’ can apply to both PCR testing and antigen (whether POC or Abbott). 

  • Room #1 Check-in table:   
    Usually one employee does this.
    Head table does tubes, swabs, and verification of information. 
    The employee getting tested leaves this room with their testing kit to give it to the nurse in Room #2.

  • Room #2 Testing Room:
    Usually one or two depending on how many people are being tested.
    This is where the test of being completed, specimens are held and read.
    Discard specimen appropriately.

  • Step #3: Exit
    The employee leaves in no time at all. They basically get swabbed and leave without their results.

  • Step #4: Logging
    A person logs all the tests: Name, Date, time tested, time read, result, and nurse log. Also log what type of test taken (PCR, BD, SOFIA, Bianix)

ODH further clarifies transport driver testing

Staff from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Bureau of Survey & Certification reached out to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) related to ongoing questions about whether transportation providers must be tested. CMS believes the time spent in close quarters with the residents is what triggers transport drivers to be covered under the new nursing home testing requirement, regardless of whether they actually enter or spend time in the building.

Concerning testing, the nursing home may require the transport drivers to be tested somewhere at the expense of the transport company, or the nursing home may test them as part of their internal testing program. 

Regardless of how the testing is completed or prioritized, nursing homes are ultimately responsible under the new regulations at 42 CFR 483.80 for ensuring that testing is completed in accordance with our regulations and guidelines, as outlined in QSO 20-38. Therefore, if the nursing home requires transport staff to get tested elsewhere, the nursing home still needs to maintain documentation that testing is completed. If a transportation company refuses testing, the nursing home should find another vendor for services.

Last chance: applications for Ohio CRF close TOMORROW

LeadingAge Ohio reminds members that the window for applications for coronavirus relief funds (CRF) available through the state of Ohio Office of Management and Budget (OBM) closes tomorrow. The state of Ohio planned to distribute over $400 million in relief directly to health care providers, predominantly to those in long-term services and supports. The application portal and supportive materials are available at, by clicking on “CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Fund – Provider Relief Payments.”

Questions related to the funding may be directed to Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs at

NHSN training for reporting POC test reporting

The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Team announced that the training for the new NHSN Long-term Care Facility COVID-19 Point of Care (POC) Test Reporting Tool has been rescheduled. The October 30 training, which will run from 2:00 - 3:00PM, will be live and allow for submission of audience questions.  The November 2 training will be a rebroadcast of the recorded training followed by a live Q & A session. A recording of the original webinar will be posted for on-line viewing.

The NHSN Point of Care Test Reporting Tool is the method identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the method by which all CMS-certified long-term care facilities shall report results for all POC testing for COVID-19 performed in their facility. NHSN, in turn, will report the nursing home POC laboratory test data electronically to the public health agency, state or local, that has jurisdictional authority and responsibility to receive and use the nursing home's data. Deidentified nursing home POC laboratory also will be reported via existing public health reporting mechanisms to the US Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requirements.

It is yet unclear whether reporting via NHSN will replace Ohio’s requirement that POC test results be reported to ODH. Please join us for one of the following trainings. Both webinars are identical in content, so please plan to attend once. Space is limited, register in advance for this meeting.

Education offerings through Palmetto GBA

Please see the following webinar descriptions from the RCD Provider Outreach & Education team:

  • November 4 at 11:00AM - RCD Monthly Provider Webinar
    Description: If you are a home health provider in Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida or Texas, please join us for the monthly Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) webinars. These webinars will provide up-to-date RCD information and give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about RCD. Each webinar session will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET

  • November 12 at 11:00AM - RCD RAP Updates CY 2021
    (featuring Dan George)
    Description: If you are a home health provider in Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida or Texas, please join us for a webinar about the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Home Health Requests for Anticipated Payment (RAP) policies. 

  • November 19 at 11:00AM - Request for Anticipated Payments 2021
    (featuring Dan George, Makisha Callaham, Mia Wilkins, Elizabeth Brogdon, Charles Canaan)
    Description: Please join us for a webinar about the Calendar Year 2021 Home Health Requests for Anticipated Payment policies. This call is for all non RCD HHH providers)

  • November 20 at 11:00AM - RCD MR Perspective: Face-to-Face
    Description: Have questions about the face-to-face encounter? Learn about acceptable vs. inadequate documentation, hear tips from our RCD Medical Reviewers and much more! If you are a home health provider in Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida or Texas, please join us for a webinar about the Palmetto GBA Medical Reviewer's perspective of the face-to-face encounter.

SNF training event provided by CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a video tutorial to assist providers in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) with standardized data assessment guidance and assessment strategies for the cognitive assessment known as the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM©). This video tutorial is approximately twenty-five minutes in length and is designed to provide targeted guidance for accurate coding using live-action resident scenarios.

If you have technical questions or feedback regarding the training, please email the PAC Training mailbox. Content-related questions should be submitted to the SNF Quality Reporting Program Help Desk.

Holiday travel and planning staff/resident communication tools

To assist in travel and holiday gathering decision-making, a LeadingAge Ohio task force created a tool for members on traveling and social gathering risk mitigation. Members can share this tool with staff and residents as holiday travel plans are considered, or customize the tool to better fit the need of the organization. A sample letter to use in communication with residents as holiday plans are being considered includes the traveling and social gathering risk mitigation tool in combination with Ohio’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory.

Vaccine planning: Affordable housing registration and deadline

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking affordable housing properties into account in their planning efforts for vaccine distribution. The REDcap form for registering with the national partnership for long-term care pharmacy vaccination program now includes a ‘drop down’ option for independent living or HUD affordable seniors housing.  Please be sure you register your facilities in the program. While this does NOT guarantee the prioritization of low-income independent living folks in the vaccine distribution (that will take continued federal and state advocacy to which LeadingAge and LeadingAge Ohio are committed), it creates a stronger platform from which we can advocate for their high priority to accessing the vaccine.  Further, if/when vaccine distribution occurs, registering your facility does not commit housing residents to receiving the vaccine (each resident has the right to refuse). 

The original deadline was 10/30 but has been extended by a week. The link to register is in the Program Overview; use the REDcap form shown in the instructions for Assisted Living providers; you’ll find a drop down of facility types as you begin to complete the form.

Housing Happenings call: Three action Items

Juliana Bilowich, LeadingAge’s Director of Housing Operations and Policy, provided three action items for participants on yesterday’s Housing Happenings call:

  • Providers who have yet to receive their calendar year 2020 service coordinator grant payments should contact their Grant Specialist as soon as possible.
  • The Standards for Success Reporting deadline has been extended 30 days to November 30. If additional time is needed, or if some reporting has been submitted but, for example, a provider would like an additional extension for the submission of Quality Assurance data, providers should reach out to their Grant Specialist and such requests will be handled on a case by case basis.
    Note: A summary of the highlights of LeadingAge’s call with HUD’s Acting Branch Chief for Grants and New Funding can be found here.
  • Housing providers are urged to complete the Pharmacy Partnership Form by the new November 6 deadline in order to be included in the planning efforts for vaccine distribution. See previous article.

Resources shared and discussed on the call included a travel and social gathering risk mitigation tool; additional discussion on this topic is in a separate article in this issue called Holiday travel and planning in the midst of the pandemic.

Please join Housing Happenings each Wednesday at 9:00am for updates and discussions.  The new Zoom access information can be found on the LeadingAge Ohio website.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – October 29, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured news on a provider member-only retreat December 9-10 and a reminder regarding the 14th Annual Inclusion Night event at the Annual Meeting Virtual Experience.

Check out the full report here.

                Linkage                         Buerger


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 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.