Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, April 17 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ohio Departments of Health, Medicaid and Aging are jointly hosting an all-provider call on the COVID-19 Pre-Surge Planning Toolkit released earlier this week. All long-term and post-acute care providers in the state of Ohio are invited to join. The call is today, Friday, April 17 from 3:30-5:00 pm.
Registration is required - a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar will be sent.
Today, the Ohio Department of Health shared a plan and application packet for nursing homes wishing to be designated as “Health Care Isolation Centers” (HCIC) dedicated to caring for COVID-19 positive patients. The isolation centers may serve as a step-down unit for patients discharged from hospitals but still in need of skilled nursing services, or may also serve as a relocation space for community-based individuals, including assisted living residents, whose home environments may not offer an adequate level of isolation due to presence of other at-risk individuals or lack of PPE.
HCICs may be an entire building or a portion of an existing nursing home, and have special requirements, including dedicated staffing and dedicated entrance/exit. They also will receive enhanced Medicaid reimbursement according to patient acuity.
This week, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) published a list of Ohio long-term care facilities that had one “confirmed or probable” case of COVID-19 in either residents or staff. Many members responded with questions as to the definition of “probable” so that they may ensure the data reflected on the ODH dashboard is accurate.
LeadingAge Ohio discussed the topic with ODH on Thursday, and noted that the CDC references guidance by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) guidance, which offers the following definition under section VII.A5.
Clinical criteria should be paired with the epidemiologic evidence or presumptive (antigen/antibody) evidence. ODH also shared that they would be including the definition of a probable case in the next edition of the Infectious Disease Control Manual.
This week, LeadingAge Ohio met with hospice members who were raising alarms about the community response that will be needed to address the wide-spread loss and collective trauma resulting from the current pandemic. Many of LeadingAge Ohio’s hospice members already offer robust bereavement support to their wider communities, and their skills will be assets in assisting Ohioans moving through personal losses. COVID-related grief may be complicated by a variety of factors, including the inability to say ‘good-bye’ either in person or through a traditional funeral, the public nature of the loss, and the increased stress experienced from other parts of life, including job loss and childcare disruption.
LeadingAge Ohio is inviting hospice bereavement staff to join a conference call on Thursday, April 23 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Registration information will be included next week in a COVID-19 Daily Alert. Bereavement staff are encouraged to reach out directly to Susan Wallace at email@example.com to ensure they receive registration/log in information directly.
LeadingAge Ohio joined national associations LeadingAge and Elevating Home/VNAA, as well as other state associations, to sign on to a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to address regulatory barriers dealing with home health agencies (HHAs) that are preventing effective collaboration and patient care and unnecessarily putting patients and caregivers at risk.
The letter states:
“With hospitals needing every available bed to treat patients suffering from COVID-19, HHAs are essential to the rapid discharge of patients to their homes. HHAs must also continue their vital role in caring for patients safely at home to prevent hospital admissions and preserve facility resources. CMS and many state agencies have encouraged the use of telehealth to reduce community spread and preserve PPE. A significant percentage of hospital discharges during the COVID-19 crisis can be safely managed at home by HHAs through a limited number of clinically necessary, in-person visits accompanied by regular telehealth visits and remote patient monitoring.”
Leadingage Ohio partner, Link-age, distributed a COVID-19 survey for those age 65 and older yesterday, and LeadingAge Ohio encourages members to forward on to residents and clients. The survey underway is designed to gain older adults' perspectives of the COVID-19 crisis. The data collected is anonymous and will be used to better tailor products and services to support the older adult population and should require 6-8 minutes to complete.
A number of COVID-19 member resources have been developed by LeadingAge Ohio partner and associate firms. These resources cover a range of topics, from Compensation of Staff During COVID-19 Crisis to Effective Medical-Grade Cleaning and Disinfecting Products. The LeadingAge Ohio Partner and Associate Firm Guidance and Updates page is linked on the COVID-19 Hub for easy access. Link-age, Ziegler, CompManagement and Absolute Pharmacy, among other partners and associate firms, have recently provided content. This page is updated regularly as additional resources arrive.
On today's LeadingAge 3:30 p.m. daily update call, LeadingAge will welcome Dr. Danielle Doberman of Johns Hopkins University to talk about advance care planning across all settings, from healthcare to housing.
LeadingAge members and staff can join the daily 3:30 p.m. LeadingAge COVID-19 Member Update Calls to learn about the latest guidance and actions related to coronavirus at both the regulatory and legislative level.
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.