May 20, 2020
KHCA/KCAL is committed to providing our members with important updates. Below is a list of the most recent COVID-19 updates. Please visit our website for a list of complete updates.
Today – Wednesday – the Senate Judiciary committee passed out a COVID-19 liability bill that would provide protections to “healthcare providers.”

Because of your hard work, the bill still includes nursing homes and assisted living centers. Committee members heard loud and clear about the dire situation our industry is in from you all. It is because of your great effort that a bill favorable to our industry will continue to move through the process. THANK YOU!

The members from the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted in favor of passing the bill out of committee this morning are as follows:
  • Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson)
  • Eric Rucker (R-Topeka)
  • Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg)
  • Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia)
  • Randall Hardy (R-Salina)
  • Julia Lynn (R-Olathe)
  • Mike Petersen (R-Wichita)
  • Dennis Pyle (R-Hiawatha)
  • Mike Thompson (R-Shawnee)

Please be sure to thank these Senators.

Those who did not:
  • Vic Miller (D-Topeka)
  • David Haley (D-Kansas City) - abstained

The fight is not over. The bill now makes its way to the Senate floor and will be debated tomorrow (Thursday), where it can be amended to remove our protections, or voted down.
We highly encourage you to email legislators TODAY (WEDNESDAY), stressing the following points:
  • Nationally, nursing homes and assisted living communities have been one of the hardest hit professions with deaths from COVID-19. This is no different in Kansas. This is a stealthy virus that feeds off of our frail and vulnerable elders, the very population that nursing homes and assisted living facilities serve.

  • Nursing homes and assisted living centers are included in the current definitions of the bill. They should stay in the bill as protected entities.

  • Employees in long term care facilities are on the frontlines and are healthcare heroes. They are working under extraordinary conditions and shouldn’t be forced to work under the threat of both death and litigation.

  • Nursing homes should be treated no different than hospitals or other healthcare providers. To single out nursing homes during their greatest time of need would be a travesty. It would not be a solution to the problem and would create more issues than it would fix.

If you do not know who your senator is, please e-mail immediately.

Thank you again for your continued support! It’s working!
Reimbursement and Legal Issues Related to COVID-19 Testing in Long Term Care
We have received many questions from members on reimbursement and legal issues related to COVID-19 testing in LTC. Responses to common member questions are included below: 

Reimbursement Issues 

Medicare Coverage of Testing:  Medicare fee for service and Medicare Advantage plans will cover the cost of COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) tests. Tests range in cost from $115 to $500. Medicare Part B will only reimburse approximate $100 for the PCR and $35 for other tests. However, not all labs will bill Medicare directly. AHCA/NCAL strongly recommends that, wherever possible, providers use labs that will bill Medicare, as providers may not be able to bill for these services.

CARES Act Coverage:  The CARES Act requires health plans to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for beneficiaries at no cost to the beneficiary. CMS is requiring Medicare Advantage Plans to cover the costs of testing for MA plan beneficiaries. Typically, however, when a test is required by an employer for employment, then the employer is responsible for the cost of the test. If the state is mandating testing the employer may not be held accountable for the cost of the test but this has not yet been validated. 

CARES Act Grant Funds:  The CARES Act Grant Funds can be used to cover costs for resident tests that are not otherwise reimbursable. This does NOT include testing for residents under a Part A stay where it is included in consolidated billing. 

Legal Issues 

Resident Refusals:  Residents that refuse to be tested for COVID-19 cannot be discharged involuntarily, unless the facility is otherwise incapable of caring for residents with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. 

Employee Refusals:  Employers can make COVID-19 testing a condition of employment and terminate or not hire a person who refuses to obtain a COVID-19 test.  
For more information, please review the reimbursement and legal section of AHCA/NCAL’s   Preparing for Widespread Testing in LTC Guidance .  
KMAP Web Updates
The   KMAP  website has been updated with an updated version of General Bulletin 20112 regarding the KMAP Provider Enrollment System upgrade.
A global message has been added to alert providers. The following special global message and associated documentation have also been added.
An RA banner message will appear on those available the weeks of May 25 and June 1.
Kansas Health Care Association and the Kansas Center for Assisted Living
1100 SW Gage Blvd Topeka, KS 66604
PH: 785-267-6003 FAX: 785-267-0833