Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Thursday, April 30 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to Lucas County nursing homes on April 25, Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski announced a partnership between the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, the Lucas County Emergency Operations Center, and Quest Diagnostics, to make COVID-19 testing available to all nursing homes located in Lucas County. Tests may be administered to all nursing home residents as well as staff.
The partnership initially hoped to test all residents this week, but the uptake has been slower than expected. One contributing factor is that the medical director—not the nursing home administrator—must order the tests, which has caused some delays. Other challenges include the upfront cost of tests, though it is believed to be reimbursable under changes in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as the likelihood that a nursing home’s cases reported on the ODH nursing home dashboard will increase dramatically and expose the nursing home to public scrutiny.
As testing becomes more readily available, widespread testing strategies like this one will be a best practice in identifying and fighting the spread of COVID-19. Other widespread testing in Ohio long-term care facilities has consistently demonstrated an asymptomatic case rate of 30% or higher, so testing is the only way to identify a large portion of cases and respond effectively. Members who are interested in expanding testing capacity in their community should contact Kathryn Brod (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Governor DeWine officially announced PPE shipments yesterday, noting that the state of Ohio has shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local emergency management agencies (EMA) across Ohio. The shipment includes: 500,000 N95 masks, 850,000 face shields, 750,000 surgical-type masks, and 2 million non-medical gloves.
Long-term care providers in many cases are still struggling to stock certain types of PPE. Members should continue to reach out to their local EMAs to report needs.
LeadingAge has sent letters to Vice President Pence, Acting Secretary Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security, and Head of FEMA, Peter Gaynor to elevate concerns that not-for-profit providers have been left out of COVID-19 response discussions, in particular, communication on the shipment of PPE. LeadingAge Ohio included this shipment information in Tuesday’s report.
In addition, LeadingAge is continuing to highlight the needs of PPE across the continuum, not just in nursing homes: “FEMA is urged to consider the need for PPE distribution to include the full continuum of aging services, including hospices, home health agencies, HCBS providers and affordable housing communities.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminded providers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering training on the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) reporting module for long-term care and on how to enroll in the NHSN.
CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network has announced two upcoming webinar trainings for the new LTCF COVID-19 Module, which is expected to be a new requirement by CMS. The final rule from CMS on this requirement is still pending. However, CDC is making the module available to nursing homes now.
The training webinars will be recorded and posted to the LTCF COVID-19 Module webpage with a PDF of the slide presentation.
First Topic: COVID-19 Module Overview for Long-term Care Facilities
Thursday, April 30, 2020
1:30-3:00 PM EDT
Second Topic: COVID-19 Enrollment Guidance for Long-term Care Facilities
Friday, May 1, 2020
1:30-3:00 PM EDT
You can join these webinars on the CDC website.
Recordings will be available afterwards for those who miss the sessions. LeadingAge is advocating with both the Trump Administration and Congress for only one reporting system for nursing home providers, not separate and different reporting requirements for state/local health departments and the CDC. NHSN reporting appears to be especially complex; the interim final rule is expected to provide more details about the requirement.
If you have any questions, please email CDC at NHSN@cdc.gov and include LTCF COVID-19 in the subject line.
There are 17,303 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 937 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,421 people have been hospitalized, including 1,014 admissions to intensive care units.
Nursing facility deaths were added yesterday to the ODH coronavirus website—this was reported in multiple media outlets yesterday, including this article that appeared in the Columbus Dispatch. If the data reported for your organization are in error or if you have concerns about data reported for other organizations, please contact Kathryn Brod (email@example.com).
In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
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.