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05/26/2021

Today's COVID-19 Report: Thursday, May 27, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Thursday, May 27 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and other topics of importance.


Off the Record

“Our team of statewide caregivers has the biggest hearts, and no one talks about that. They consider it a privilege to care for the elders of Ohio.”

Ohio Living President/CEO Larry Gumina in a recent op-ed for the Wilmington News Journal. LeadingAge Ohio members are working together on a statewide campaign of op-eds to support LeadingAge Ohio priorities in the state budget.


In Today's Report

  • LeadingAge Ohio PAC Trivia returns tonight to tackle sports
  • 2020 Adult Day services center survey participation request
  • HENS 3.0 implementation plan update
  • ARPA Guidance Released: How will Ohio spend relief funds?
  • Survey Tip of the Week: Staff interview regarding behaviors
  • Input needed: Outstanding testing costs
  • LeadingAge Ohio board & committee nominations sought
  • Bureau of Worker’s Compensation shares update on air quality grants
  • Link-age Connect survey seeks to understand older adult technology use
  • LeadingAge Need to Know

LeadingAge Ohio PAC Trivia returns tonight to tackle sports

This winter, the LeadingAge Ohio Political Action Committee (PAC) held a virtual trivia series on Zoom-enabled platform Kahoot, covering topics like movies, history, and politics. Due to popular demand, PAC trivia is back for one more special session! This time, we are tackling sports tonight from 5:30-6:30PM.

Attendees can compete to win Amazon and Starbucks gift cards. Join us in this fun, easy way to network with other members, share some laughs, support LeadingAge Ohio political efforts, and show off your knowledge. This event is open to all members – from leadership, to clinical, dining, activities, facilities, and don't forget, residents! If you didn’t play this winter, don’t worry – the Kahoot platform is easy to use and the session will feature a short lesson before trivia kicks off.

Information about registration for individuals and groups, as well as sponsorship opportunities, is available here.

2020 Adult Day services center survey participation request

The National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) National Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Study (NPALS), formerly the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP), is closing in on the final stretch of data collection for the 2020 Adult Day Services Center Survey. NCHS encourages all directors of Adult Day Services Centers that received a 2020 NPALS Adult Day Services Center questionnaire to submit a completed questionnaire by web or by mail as soon as possible to ensure that your information is included in the study. Those who have received a questionnaire, but have not completed and submitted it by mail or by web, will receive a call to complete the questionnaire over the phone from our survey contractor, RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research organization.

Please complete the survey to the best of your ability. NCHS understands that at this time many services may be temporarily or permanently suspended, reduced, or offered through alternative methods, and fewer people may be receiving services on a regular basis. Collecting this information is still important for researchers, policymakers, and providers to estimate resources and examine the impact of COVID-19 on adult day services and other providers of long-term care services.

If providers have any questions about completing the questionnaire by web or by mail or would like to complete it over the telephone, or if a new questionnaire is needed, please contact the NPALS Help Desk at 1-877-256-8171, Monday-Friday 9:00AM – 8:00PM. For more information about the survey, please visit the NPALS adult day services center survey website.

HENS 3.0 implementation plan update

As previously announced by the Ohio Deparment of Medicaid (ODM), a HENS system update has been under development. In July 2021, HENS 3.0 will be released. HENS 3.0 features updated, streamlined versions of the ODM 3622 and ODM 7000 forms with a modernized user interface. There will be no Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) policy changes in conjunction with the HENS 3.0 system release.

To prepare users for the transition, a new HENS User Guide will be available, training videos will be published, a user training environment will be available, and training Q&A sessions will be scheduled.

An overview of events leading up to the HENS 3.0 release is displayed below. More precise dates and details will be shared closer to the anticipated final release. Dates may be subject to change as a result of evolving priorities influenced by the state’s response to COVID-19.

HENS Image

If you have any questions, please contact PAS-RR@age.ohio.gov.

ARPA Guidance Released: How will Ohio spend relief funds?

On Monday’s Leadingage Ohio Advocacy in Action call, LeadingAge Director of Medicaid and Home and Community-based Services Brendan Flinn provided an overview of recent federal guidance on how state and local funds awarded through the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) can be used to bolster COVID-19 recovery efforts. The presentation included examples of how much funding was awarded to Ohio cities and municipalities, as well as ways funds can be used, including, but not limited to:

  • To offset losses incurred as a result of the pandemic.
  • To offer premium pay to workers of up to $13/hour or $25,000 per year during the public health emergency.
  • To support development of affordable housing in certain geographic areas or those areas disproportionately impacted by COVID.
  • To issue grants to certain sectors disproportionately impacted by COVID, citing travel and tourism as an example.

LeadingAge Ohio shared that they have already begun formulating a plan for how Ohio should use these funds, to share with lawmakers. Possible uses include:

  • Direct grants to LTSS providers, including home- and community-based providers and those excluded from previous state funding, like hospices.
  • Reimburse outstanding testing costs of nursing homes, particularly for those providers who were self-insured but previously prohibited from being reimbursed for expenses.

Furthermore, LeadingAge Ohio is developing education that will equip members to approach their county and municipal government leadership with requests for support. Stay tuned to the COVID-19 report and future education blasts for more detail.

To view the Advocacy in Action presentation, click here. To download the slides, click here.  

Survey Tip of the Week: Staff interview regarding behaviors

F-758, unnecessary medication, was the 5th highest cited F-tag for standard health inspections in 2019. As part of the Long-Term Care Survey Process (LTCSP), surveyors will be asking direct care staff why a resident is having a particular behavior. Surveyors are evaluating if residents are on medications that are unnecessary. Conditions not being effectively managed will also be evaluated. If a resident is yelling out, surveyors will observe staff’s response to that behavior/expression. The surveyor will ask direct care staff why, what they do about it, and if it is effective. The record will then be reviewed for consistency with the care plan and behavior monitoring documentation.

Surveyors will observe residents to identify residents who:

  • Appear depressed or anxious (e.g., sad, teary, noncommunicative, anxious movements)
  • Appear socially withdrawn, isolated, fatigued, not eating
  • Appear to lack emotional affect, short tempered, easily annoyed.

Consider using the LTCSP initial pool care area tools to conduct random audits of the residents for the above indicators. Then utilize the LTC Survey Pathways to ensure the record supports the use of any medications. Interview staff to ensure they are aware of why residents are having behaviors or expressions. Ensure the interventions and non-pharmacologic interviews that staff speak to are also on the individualized plan of care.

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.

The LTCSP initial pool care area tools can be found on the CMS Nursing Home webpage, under the download section.

As the 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.  

Please join us for the monthly STAT: Survey Tips and Tactics webinar. Discover how nursing homes are being cited with the re-start of annual surveys. The Long-Term Care Survey Process and regulatory language will be reviewed. Each month participants will delve into a specific survey topic. Common citation examples will be given with interactive discussion from members sharing their experiences with the re-start. Obtain useful tips, tactics and resources for the monthly highlighted topic.

Input needed: Outstanding testing costs

LeadingAge Ohio’s advocacy team has been doggedly advocating on behalf of nursing facility members who have significant outstanding costs related to COVID-19 testing. Several self-insured members have un-reimbursed costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others have bills from insurance carriers—particularly when an individual was insured through a spouse-- who denied coverage for routine testing.

To date, LeadingAge Ohio has only gathered anecdotal information from those members who have reached out for assistance. LeadingAge Ohio is asking all NF members to provide feedback to Susan Wallace on the amount of unpaid testing, as well as the nature / circumstances of the claims denial, including: the month that testing occurred, whether the unpaid claims were for when a program had opted out of the state-supported testing program, whether the employee was insured by your carrier or another, the carrier that denied claims, and whether your organization is self-insured.

LeadingAge Ohio will use this information to define the categories of concern, so it can more effectively describe the scope of the problem and advocate for a remedy. LeadingAge Ohio will also use the information to produce concise talking points for members to reach out to their legislators to share the scope of the problem.

Please send all feedback to Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

LeadingAge Ohio board & committee nominations sought

The Nominating Committee of the LeadingAge Ohio Board of Directors is commencing its preparation of the annual slate of nominees to replace those whose terms will soon be expiring. The LeadingAge Ohio membership will vote on this slate at its annual meeting (September date t/b/d).

“Participation in the LeadingAge Ohio Board has been a tremendously rewarding experience for me personally,” said Rev. Ken Daniel, chair of the Nominating Committee and President & CEO of United Church Homes. “The networking, sharing of ideas, and innovative thinking are energizing for any leader and, of course, this engagement serves the LeadingAge Ohio membership as a whole.”

LeadingAge Ohio works to provide support so that each member feels they have an additional staff person working on their behalf. The LeadingAge Ohio Board sets the strategic direction for the association and brings together leaders throughout the state to influence state workforce and reimbursement policy and a variety of programs and services for older adults in Ohio.

Board members are nominated to represent the diversity of the LeadingAge Ohio membership as well as the breadth of the continuum served by members. LeadingAge Ohio encourages any who are interested in serving on the board to contact Rev. Daniel at Kdaniel@uchinc.com to express interest. Individuals with expertise and interests aligned with the 2019-2021 LeadingAge Ohio Strategic Plan will be strong candidates for the Board positions.

In addition, LeadingAge Ohio relies on a committed corps of volunteers who lend their time and expertise to committee service. Committee members steer LeadingAge Ohio’s policy agenda, weigh in on member services, and play a significant role in planning the professional development calendar. LeadingAge Ohio’s Committees include the Board’s Budget & Finance Committee, which can include non-board members; and the Board’s Advisory Committees, including: the Advocacy Committee (as well as its four subcommittees -- Housing, Skilled Nursing Facility/Assisted Living, Adult Day Services and Home Health/Hospice/Home- and Community-Based Services); the Professional Development Committee; the Communications/Public Relations Committee; the Human Resources Committee, and, last but certainly not least, the Awards Committee.

LeadingAge Ohio is currently accepting applications for committee service in 2021.

LeadingAge Ohio staff endeavor to match volunteers to committees based on their strengths and interests. For questions about committee service, contact Kathryn Brod at kbrod@leadingageohio.org or Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

Bureau of Worker’s Compensation shares update on air quality grants

This week, LeadingAge Ohio connected with staff of the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) to get an update on the air quality grants made to aging services providers from CARES Act funding. According to BWC, they have approved and paid out an estimated 650 applications, with a funding total of $7.3 million. This is far short of the $28 million appropriated for the project, and BWC encouraged providers to closely monitor the BWC indoor air quality website for updates as the project approaches its June 30 deadline.

The application process was described as follows:

  • After an initial application is made, there is an initial check which includes ensuring the applicant included invoices and proof of payment.
  • After that, there is a basic eligibility check to ensure they are, in fact, the type of organization that qualifies for funds.
  • Once these two checks are completed, the application is placed into the queue for grant coordinators to reconcile expense reports with receipts, and issue an award letter. The award letter indicates that applicants should allow up to six weeks for payment, but payment is typically completed via electronic fund transfer (EFT) much sooner. 

Potential issues that could slow up an application include application information that doesn’t match invoices/receipts or if the contact person listed on the application changes. Additionally, applicants must have a supplier ID through Ohio Shared Services.  

BWC reported that from application to payment, providers should not be waiting more than 8-12 weeks. For example, over 600 applications were received in the month of December, and took 8 weeks to be processed. This means that any providers who applied in 2020 when grants first became available and have not yet received funding should reach out either to the individual assigned to their application (if they know them) or to  BWC by emailing grants@bwc.state.oh.us, and include the employer name and BWC policy number in the email. Currently, they are processing applications that were submitted in mid-April.

LeadingAge Ohio strongly encourages members who have not yet applied for the air quality grants to consider doing so, since there is so much remaining funding. LeadingAge Ohio Associate member Gpurify can provide members with a facility assessment, guide members through product selection to maximize resident and staff safety, and identify and complete grant applications for organizations at no additional charge. Reach out to Todd Imwalle at todd@geehangroup.com or (937) 760-6009 for more information. 

Questions may be directed to Susan Wallace at swallace@leadingageohio.org.

Link-age Connect survey seeks to understand older adult technology use

LeadingAge Ohio partner Link-age Connect has officially opened its 2021 technology survey. This survey is divided into categories of technology with the goal of learning more about how adults age 55 and older use and adopt technology, as well as understanding which technologies older adults are not aware of or don’t use. Link-age Connect will release the results of the survey in the summer of 2021.

Take the 2021 Technology Survey here. Check out the results of past technology surveys 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 an updated from Board Chair, Carol Silver Elliott.

Check out today's LeadingAge Need To Know.                                             


Questions

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