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06/29/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020

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

Nursing Home Visitation Opens July 20

During an unscheduled press conference today, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio would begin allowing outdoor visitation for residents of nursing homes effective July 20. Citing the previous opening of assisted living on June 8, DeWine noted that the current guidance was developed in consultation with stakeholders, including LeadingAge Ohio, facilitated by Director of Aging Ursel McElroy. Like the assisted living guidelines that came before, the nursing home guidelines are expected to allow flexibility for nursing homes to weigh their unique characteristics and situations in opening up visitation.

When assessing their readiness to permit outdoor visitation, nursing homes should consider:

  • Case status in the surrounding community
  • Case status in the nursing home
  • Staffing levels
  • Access to adequate testing for residents and staff
  • Personal protective equipment supplies
  • Local hospital capacity

The guidelines are forthcoming, and LeadingAge Ohio will include them once released in a future Daily Report.  

Advocacy in Action Calls to Resume July 13

LeadingAge Ohio will resume the free, monthly, advocacy-focused Advocacy in Action calls on Monday, July 13. The calls, scheduled for the second Monday of each month, are open to all members and cover a variety of advocacy-related topics, from the latest statehouse news to tips on engaging with legislators in your district. LeadingAge Ohio will be scheduling briefings with state legislators over the summer months and into the fall election season to keep policymakers informed of how the COVID-19 pandemic is playing out in their local districts.

To learn more about how to get involved in advocacy, reach out to Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

CMS Emergency Waiver to End, Star Ratings Held Constant

As reported by McKnights, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans last week to end the emergency waiver and resume requirements for all nursing homes to submit staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system by August 14.

In addition, on July 29 staffing measures and star ratings will be held constant, based on data submitted by December 31, 2019. This also signifies that CMS will end automatic one-star staffing rating downgrades that many facilities experienced. Facilities will have their measures and ratings temporarily suppressed in these cases. 

FEMA Provides Counterfeit PPE Guidance

Captain Joselito Ignacio of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joined a LeadingAge Coronavirus Update Call last week, providing valuable information related to fake PPE. Captian Ignacio spoke about how to identify fraudulent respirators (e.g., decorative fabrics) and other PPE. 

He referred listeners to a webpage within the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website – NIOSH's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL).  The webpage provides information on optimizing respirators and other PPE, and also provides this fact sheet on how to identify counterfeit respirators. 

Recently, the Central Ohio Trauma System shared news of a hospital in the Southeast/Southeast Central region that purchased gowns through a vendor called "Protech" . The gowns came at a costly price and are not suitable for infection control. LeadingAge Ohio encourages members to be on the lookout for scams like this example. 

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Service Coordination

The American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC) has partnered with researchers at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the work of service coordinators. The research will study how the work environment has changed, whether service coordinators have access to useful/appropriate technology, and what partnerships have proven most useful during this time.

The results of this research study will complete the picture of how service coordinators, affordable housing properties and residents are experiencing COVID-19 and offer insight into how to meet any related need.  Please forward this link to those in your organization who serve in the service coordinator role.  The results will help to shape educational and policy priorities for AASC, LeadingAge, LeadingAge Ohio and other stakeholders during the pandemic and well beyond.

The survey must be completed by Wednesday, July 8. AASC assures that all answers will be kept strictly confidential.

ODM Shares MDS Fact Sheet

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) has shared the attached fact sheet titled “Nursing Facility Quarterly MDS Submission and Rate Setting”. This document is a reminder from ODM that MDS assessments must be submitted by the filing date for each resident in the facility for the calendar quarter.  Pursuant to OAC 5160-3-43.1, assessments for the quarter ending in June must be submitted by July 15, 2020, and any corrections by August 15, 2020. Failure to timely submit the assessments may result in a lower facility daily rate.

Members may direct any questions to MDScasemix@medicaid.ohio.gov.

Social Isolation Summit: Free and Packed with Speakers

The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) will hold a virtual half day conference on Wednesday, July 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. titled Isolation and Loneliness: A Crisis We Can Solve Together.

MPTF invites providers to join for inspirational stories, innovative approaches, tools, and resources to help all respond to the needs of older adults now. With an emphasis on the role of practical solutions and opportunities for collaboration, the conference will frame the issue, share reports from the frontlines, and spotlight strategies being successfully deployed including a virtual innovation showcase. 

As public officials urge people to stay home and maintain social distance to combat the spread of COVID-19, the risk of social isolation and loneliness among people of all ages increases, especially among older adults. More than one of four adults aged 50 to 80 reported that they felt isolated even before the outbreak.

MPTF and the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging have joined together to host this conference to assist aging service and other community-based organizations with inspiration and tangible ideas of what is possible to do right away to reduce loneliness among older adults.

Questions can be submitted to info@mptf.com.  LeadingAge Ohio is creating a webpage to streamline LeadingAge Ohio members’ access to tools that can assist with addressing social isolation among residents and clients. The website should be available for access in the coming week. 

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

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured new tools and insights from LeadingAge, and a new quickcast on reopening life plan communities. 

Check out the full report here

Links: Visitation Guidelines, Staffing/Quality Linked to COVID Cases

CMS Issues ‘long overdue’ visitation guidelines for nursing home (McKnights)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services excited the provider community and brought clarity to numerous aspects of restarting visits at nursing homes last Wednesday.

New study links facility staffing levels, quality to number of COVID-19 cases (McKnights)

Nursing homes with low staffing and quality scores have higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and cases among residents, argue researchers in a new study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

 

                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 at 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.