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07/17/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, July 17 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

HHS Testing Announcement: LeadingAge Issues Q&A

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently announced plans to supply rapid point-of-care testing instruments and tests to nursing homes throughout the country to aid in identification and mitigation of COVID-19. HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir began hinting about these plans over the weekend and HHS confirmed on July 14 through a press release and White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CMS followed up with a national nursing homes call on July 15 to provide more details.

LeadingAge posted an article with the information learned about the HHS testing announcement. See additional information below in the You Asked…We Answered.

You Asked... We Answered

You Asked: It was reported by Skilled Nursing News that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has said those nursing homes that do not have a CLIA certificate of waiver will not receive rapid point-of-care testing instruments and tests. What are the implications of registering for a CLIA certificate of waiver, and if a nursing home chooses to do so, how long will it take for that registration to be reflected and for the nursing home to receive the allocation?

We Answered: Nursing homes must have the CLIA certificate of waiver to receive the instrument and tests. Nursing homes should begin the application process immediately to avoid any delays. CMS says that at this time, applications are processed within a few days and that the first round of CLIA certificates of waiver will go to sites designated a priority. 

EIDC Survey on NF Testing

The Congregate Unified Response Team (CCURT) has developed the EIDC survey monkey for Nursing Home facilities to complete for resident testing. The survey was discussed on a July 15 webinar as the first step in Ohio’s efforts to test all nursing facility residents for COVID-19. The survey needs to be completed by Friday, July 24. 

Direct questions to the CCURT@odh.ohio.gov email box.

United Healthcare Community Plan of Ohio Seeks Facilities Accommodating COVID+ Cases

The UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio is collaborating with the other managed care plans to streamline transition of care processes.  One resource the Unitedhealthcare Community Plan is looking to develop is of a listing of nursing facilities that are able to accommodate and accept COVID positive cases and Persons Under Investigation patients. 

The main information UnitedHealthcare is compiling is:

  • Facility Name, Address
  • Contact Name, Title, Telephone number, Email Address
  • Number of isolation beds designated for COVID+/PUI patients
  • If the facility is accepting COVID+/PUI patients from:
    • Hospitals
    • Assisted Livings
    • Community
    • Other Nursing Facilities

Please share any information or questions with Matthew Shula at MATTHEW.SHULA@UHC.COM.

Employee Refusal of COVID Testing: Can These Employees Work?

LeadingAge Ohio has received questions from multiple members on whether or not employees who refuse testing should be restricted from work. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) stated that all employees must be tested per the order, except for those with health reasons. ODH will not advise facilities on what to do if an employee refuses, as it would involve labor laws, union contracts and/or other legal considerations.

LeadingAge Ohio has issued guidance on staff refusal. One suggestion LeadingAge Ohio gave to ODH was to use a time-based strategy as outlined by CDC which would consider that staff member positive without symptoms due to them refusing to be tested. ODH felt that was a creative solution and would be a time-limited solution. If/when Ohio requires ongoing testing, then it would no longer apply.

New CDC Guidance on Return-to-Work and Discontinuation of Transmission-based Precautions Coming

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to release updated guidance on Return-to-Work Criteria and Discontinuation of Transmission-based Precautions in the next few days.

CDC is updating this guidance based on new research and it will include changes to the test-based and symptom-based strategies. In part, these changes will now take into consideration the severity of illness (mild/moderate/severe), and CDC will provide a framework for how to determine illness severity. LeadingAge will provide a more in-depth report once the guidance has been released.

Post-COVID Telehealth Act Introduced in U.S. House

Leading members of the House Congressional Telehealth Caucus -- Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Doris Matsui (D-CA) -- are introducing the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020.  Linked here are the bill text and a section-by-section summary of the legislation.

The legislation addresses many of the asks included in the Stakeholder letter to Congress, co-signed by LeadingAge and over 300 organizations urging action to ensure Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency period, including permanent changes to:

  • Remove arbitrary geographic restrictions on where a patient must be located in order to utilize telehealth services;
  • Make the home an eligible originating site;
  • Ensure federally qualified health centers and rural health centers can furnish telehealth services; and
  • Codify temporary waiver authority for the Secretary of Health & Human Services for future emergency periods and the 90 days after the expiration of a public health emergency period.

LeadingAge will continue to report on the progress of this bill. 

Plante Moran Provides Analysis on Medicaid Rates

Plante Moran provided an analysis, including Medicaid trend and case mix, of the 7.1.2020 Medicaid rates distributed by the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM). 

CDC Releases Tools to Help Optimize PPE, Assist Businesses 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new infographic containing on strategies for optimizing PPE, as well as a descriptive webpage

The CDC also released a new toolkit to help business owners make decisions, protect their customers and employees, and communicate with their communities.

August Health & Wellness Newsletter from ODA

Attached is the August 2020 issue of the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) Health & Wellness partner newsletter. 

In this issue, ODA discusses:

  • How to manage a chronic condition;
  • “Don’t let the fear of falling stop you”; and
  • An “Easy Exercise” to strengthen legs.

ODA also spotlights the Diabetes Self-Management Program and makes an announcement about the 10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls campaign.

In an effort to ensure that partnership with STEADY U Ohio continues to meet LeadingAge Ohio member needs, ODA is asking that all providers complete the following survey to reaffirm interest/engagement as a partner.

LeadingAge Need to Know: COVID-19 – July 17, 2020

LeadingAge shares the latest coronavirus news and resources with members twice each weekday. This morning's update featured a short LeadingAge survey and information about a can't-miss webinar on employment and benefits guidance.

Check out the full report here. 

                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 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.