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07/09/2021

Today's COVID-19 Report: July 14, 2021

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Wednesday, July 14, 2021 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and other topics of importance.


Off the Record

"What other industry is asked to provide an undeniably critical service but paid based on seven-year-old prices?" said Kathryn Brod, president/CEO of LeadingAge Ohio, which advocates for nonprofit long-term care facilities. "Nursing homes are still operating in pandemic mode, and will be one of the last sectors to return to normal."  

LeadingAge Ohio’s Kathryn Brod in a Columbus Dispatch story on the rebasing of nursing home reimbursement rates.


In Today's Report

  • Scripps survey to support ARPA funding advocacy: Friday deadline
  • Member briefing TOMORROW! Leveraging new polling data in care economy debate
  • Story describes LeadingAge Ohio fight for rebasing in state budget
  • Nursing facility rates delayed
  • Survey Tip of the Week: Quality of Care
  • HOME Choice information sessions
  • ODM postpones PNM Phase I event
  • Ballot issue on nursing home staffing gets go-ahead to collect signatures
  • Quality Reporting Program: Non-compliance letters for FY 2022 APU
  • Have questions about how to handle vaccinations in the workplace?
  • LeadingAge Need to Know

Scripps survey to support ARPA funding advocacy: Friday deadline

On Monday each nursing facility and residential care facility in the state received a brief 5-minute survey from Scripps Gerontology Center. LeadingAge Ohio, along with the Ohio Assisted Living Association, Ohio Health Care Association, and The Academy of Senior Health Sciences (“The Academy”), is working to quantify the impact of COVID-19 in long-term care settings to inform advocacy efforts regarding distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds. This very brief survey will equip our associations with current, accurate data that reflect the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on operations. Time is of the essence for this advocacy work so there is a very short timeline for responding: We need responses by this Friday, July 16. 

Member briefing TOMORROW! Leveraging new polling data in care economy debate

Americans strongly back greater investments in services to support older adults, finds a new LeadingAge poll of U.S. adults. Join a briefing with Katie Smith Sloan and LeadingAge experts from communications policy teams to learn more about the breadth of support—from Americans of all political affiliations, ages, and geographic locales—and how to share this valuable information. Register now for tomorrow's 1:00-2:00PM webinar.

Story describes LeadingAge Ohio fight for rebasing in state budget

The Columbus Dispatch, as well as affiliated papers like the Akron Beacon Journal and others, ran a story yesterday and today titled “Every five years, Ohio nursing homes get new Medicaid reimbursement rates. Amid COVID-19, it's even more critical".

The story describes the fight to rebase Medicaid rates for nursing homes that LeadingAge Ohio led this year throughout the state budget process. It featured LeadingAge Ohio’s Kathryn Brod and Susan Wallace, as well as Bob Stillman, chief financial officer at Ohio Living, who provided context from a provider serving a Medicaid population.

Nursing facility rates delayed

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) has advised that the July 1, 2021 Nursing Facility rates are delayed.

Many payers will likely pend any nursing facility claims received with a date of service of July 1, 2021 or after until such time as the new rates are finalized and configured.

Survey Tip of the Week: Quality of Care

Quality of Care, F684, is the third most frequently cited F-tag in 2021. Many of the citations result from concerns identified through the resident interviews and observations. During the Survey Tips and Tactics (STAT) webinar today, citation trends in quality of care were shared. LeadingAge Ohio encourages providers to utilize the LTCSP interviews throughout the year to identify trends and concerns voiced by residents. Consider incorporating some of those resident questions during resident council meetings and during care conferences.

Examples of survey interviews questions are: Have you had an improvement, or decline in ROM, mobility, or positioning? If so, describe. Were you involved in developing your care plan for improving or maintaining ROM/mobility and does the plan reflect your preferences and choices? Is the care plan being implemented as written? If you need a splint/brace or other adaptive equipment, when is it applied? Has the facility provided you with assistive devices such as reachers, mobility devices, and/or communication devices? If so, do you use them, and what instructions were you given on how to use them? If not, describe.

An example of the citations discussed during the STAT call today included a situation where a resident stated she was supposed to have a splint on but the STNA could not find her splint. The splint was not in place at time of interview or additional observation.

The survey pathways can be found on the CMS Nursing Home webpage, under the download section, and within the zip file called LTC Survey Pathways.

For more information about the citations occurring in Ohio, please join us on the monthly STAT: Survey Tips and Tactics call. Register for the August 11 call at 10:00AM by clicking here.

As the annual survey process continues, LeadingAge Ohio is sharing tips each week to assist members during the survey process. Send questions you’d like addressed in future Tips of the Week to Stephanie DeWees at sdewees@leadingageohio.org.  

HOME Choice information sessions

HOME Choice [Helping Ohioans Move, Expanding Choice] is a Medicaid transition program that assists individuals age 18 and older to move from long-term care facilities back to the community after an extended institutional stay. The program supports a team approach to discharge planning and the HOME Choice Transition Coordinator is a vital member of that team. The Transition Coordinator can work with providers, residents and others to develop a comprehensive plan to return to the community that supports health, independence and integration.

Join the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) on July 27 at 8:30AM, July 28 at 12:00PM or July 29 at 3:30PM to learn more about how the HOME Choice program is structured, how to identify if a resident is a good candidate for the program and when and how to apply.

Sessions are 30 minutes in length and will be online. Send an email to HOME_Choice@medicaid.ohio.gov or call 1-888-221-1560 to register and receive a link to the session.

To attend any of the information sessions and/or for more information, contact Jennifer Landau at Jennifer.landau@medicaid.ohio.gov

ODM postpones PNM Phase I event

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) is postponing the Provider Network Management (PNM) and Centralized Credentialing Phase 1 go-live – originally scheduled for July 26, 2021. ODM has stated that it “is committed to ensuring that the PNM and Centralized Credentialing functionality will support the goal to reduce the administrative burden on providers, allowing you to spend more time providing quality care to Ohio Medicaid members.”

Please check the PNM / Centralized Credentialing webpage for additional updates or contact ODM at Credentialing@medicaid.ohio.gov with questions.

Ballot issue on nursing home staffing gets go-ahead to collect signatures

This week, a ballot initiative that would impose staffing levels in Ohio nursing homes was certified by the five-member Ohio Ballot Board to begin collecting signatures required to be placed on the November 2022 ballot. Proponents will need to collect 442,958 signatures statewide for the initiative to be put to voters. The initiative is a grassroots campaign by Jesse Ruffin, Jr., whose wife, Carolyn, spent the last three and a half years in skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities after a fall left her incapacitated. Mr. Ruffin attributed the fall to low staffing levels at the facility, citing nurse and aide ratios that he deemed unsafe. LeadingAge Ohio is evaluating the impact of the ballot initiative, which would significantly raise staffing ratios and hourly averages based on the acuity of residents served.  To review the complete text of the petition, click here.

Quality Reporting Program: Non-compliance letters for FY 2022 APU

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing notifications to facilities that were determined to be out of compliance with Quality Reporting Program (QRP) requirements for CY 2020, which will affect their FY 2022 Annual Payment Update (APU). Non-compliance notifications are being distributed by the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and were placed into facilities’ CASPER folders in QIES, for Hospice and SNFs, and into facilities’ My Reports folders in iQIES, for IRFs and LTCHs, on July 14, 2021. Facilities that receive a letter of non-compliance may submit a request for reconsideration to CMS via email no later than 11:59PM, August 13, 2021.

If you receive a notice of non-compliance and would like to request a reconsideration, see the instructions in your notice of non-compliance and on the appropriate QRP webpage:

Have questions about how to handle vaccinations in the workplace?

On Thursday, July 22 at 10:00AM, L.R. Webber will be hosting the "Navigating COVID-19 in the Workplace: Vaccinations, Incentives, Accommodations, and the Privacy Rules that Apply" webinar.

With the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updating its guidance regarding employer obligations and limitations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers still have questions about how to handle vaccinations in the workplace. Join L.R. Webber to get the answers to critical questions related to how employers can mandate vaccinations, offer incentives, and treat information obtained through vaccination programs. Learn about the considerations of mandating vaccinations, providing incentives, accommodating exemptions, and documenting and protecting sensitive information.

To register for this free webinar, please click here.

LeadingAge Need to Know

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's Need to Know featured a message from LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan.

Check out today's complete Need to Know here.


Questions

Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Facebook Working 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.