March 20, 2020
A Message to Our Members
We have made the decision to suspend our bi-weekly e-newsletter and temporarily replace it with this COVID-19 focused newsletter that will give you up-to-the-minute information and resources for you. It is our hope that this will save you time and energy in staying abreast of breaking information. We will deliver it to your inbox as conditions evolve and changes and guidance occur, at a minimum weekly.
I speak for the entire LeadingAge Illinois staff in telling you that we are in admiration and appreciation for the noble work that you are engaged in – serving the older citizens of Illinois along with their families and friends. We recognize that these are difficult times for you and your staff, and want you to know that we are here to support you. As I’ve shared in the past, “call us first”, we may not have the answer or a resource, but we will make every effort to find a solution to your problem, even if only easing it.
All of us are humbled to serve you.
Karen Messer
LeadingAge Illinois
Stay Connected - LeadingAge Illinois COVID-19 Resources
Stay up to date on state and federal COVID-19 information and updates by accessing the LeadingAge Illinois COVID-19 Resources page, another way to stay connected is with our new COVID-19 eNewsletter that will be emailed to all LeadingAge Illinois members weekly (or as updates occur), engage with other Illinois members through our listservs connecting you with your peers by provider type. Contact LeadingAge Illinois Membership if you’d like more information about the listservs or would like to join one.
Stay Connected - LeadingAge Daily Call-In Briefings
Register Now to join the LeadingAge Daily Call-in Briefings . Daily briefing calls at 2:30 p.m. On these calls, you will hear from LeadingAge policy experts about the most up-to-date information on guidance, regulation and legislation related to the pandemic and its impact on aging services providers. There will also be time for answering member questions or, if they don’t have the answers, they will do their best to find them. Recordings will be posted on the LeadingAge website daily, so you can listen even if you can’t dial in.

Stay Connected- LeadingAge Member Community COVID-19 Group
If you’re a member of both LeadingAge Illinois and LeadingAge National, stay connected with other LeadingAge National Members and share information and resources through the MyLeadingAge Member Community: COVID-19. This is a place to connect with your peers to share and discuss everyday practices related to the coronavirus. Take a moment now to log into your account and join the group to stay connected. LeadingAge also has a COVID-19 webpage with the latest updates, information and resources for members.
HFS Issues Letter to CMS Requesting 1135 Waiver
Theresa Eagleson, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has sent a letter to CMS waivers of federal Medicaid, HIPAA and other regulations due to the current COVID-19 emergency.   Section 1135 of the Social Security Act authorizes waivers under certain circumstances. HFS indicated in the letter the need for waiving specific regulations to ensure sufficient healthcare items and services are available to meet the needs of Illinois residents and provide flexibility to providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Click here for the letter. 
Supportive Living Program Update
If you learn an employee or resident is being tested or has been tested for COVID 19, please contact Kara Helton (217-782-1868) immediately after IDPH and other necessary parties have been notified. She is checking email from home frequently during the COVID 19 event.  Please DO NOT EMAIL her names or protected health information.  She asked that you leave a message and she will call you to obtain the information HFS needs. 

Please be prepared to provide the following information at a minimum:
Work title/area (ex, CNA, dietary)
Date symptoms identified or date employee called in sick
Last date in the building
Date COVID test was done/expected
Any additional instructions from public health re. infection control and assessment of residents & staff
RIN (if applicable)
Date symptoms identified
Symptoms exhibited
Long-term history of these symptoms (ex. Dx of COPD and has experienced SOB prior to this event)
Date sent to the hospital (if applicable)
Date COVID test was done/expected
Date MCO case manager notified (if applicable)
Any additional instructions from public health regarding infection control and assessment of residents & staff
SLP Temporary Preadmission Screening
Revisions are being made on a temporary basis to the processes for conducting required pre-admission screenings.  The Pre-admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) assessment, the Specialized SLP Mental Health assessment, and the Determination of Need (DON) assessment will incorporate the a number of process revisions. 

They include:
  • Screenings can be conducted telephonically instead of in-person;
  • Post admission screenings will be allowed if conducted within 10 days of admission;
  • State screening agents should coordinate with hospital discharge planners and LTC settings to schedule a time for the screenings and assure a staff person is available to assist the individual being screened.

Refer to this HFS Provider notice .
  • What has not changed for SLP providers:
  • New DON & OBRA 1 not required for direct admission from a nursing facility or another SLP provider;
  • Long time allowable post screens are still in place.

Even though SLP providers may be completing their new resident assessment prior to receipt of the required preadmission screening results, as with any allowable post screen, potential residents CANNOT be denied admission based solely on mental health diagnosis. Refer to Resident Participation Requirements.
Source: HFS
Governor Pritzker Daily Press Conferences
Governor JB Pritzker is conducting daily press 2:30 p.m. conferences on COVID-19. Click here to listen daily.
Attorney General Will Take Action on Price Gouging on Products Related to COVID-19
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul stated this week he will take action to stop unfair pricing on items that are crucial to stopping the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. His office is responsible for enforcing the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, which provides consumer protections against fraudulent and deceptive business practices.  Complaints can be completed online. 
Childcare Resources
State officials have informed LeadingAge Illinois of resources for workers seeking childcare. The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) is a statewide organization which – in partnership with its 16 local Child Care Resources and Referral (CCR&R) agencies – is a recognized leader, catalyst and resource for making high quality, affordable care options available for children and families in Illinois.
Federal Coronavirus Legislation
The President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law this week. Click here for a summary . Most important for members are the two weeks (100%) paid sick leave and extended (2/3) paid family medical leave to care for a sick family member. The provisions apply to employers who employ fewer than 500 workers. Those with 50 or fewer have the option to ask for an exemption if paying the benefits would jeopardize the viability of the business. The benefit will be paid through credits against the employer’s payroll taxes. The bill also includes a 6.2% FMAP bump in Medicaid and an expansion of SNAP benefits and senior nutrition programs. LeadingAge has several asks being submitted for the third COVID-19 bill.

The top asks include:
  • Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for aging services workers;
  • Addressing child care needs of workers;
  • Supplemental funding for health care and housing providers;
  • Ensuring that telehealth is available to all providers across the continuum including hospice and home health;
  • HUD needs:
  • Emergency supplemental funding for HUD assisted communities for staffing, emergency response and reduced rents;
  • Funding for service coordinators in all HUD-assisted 202 communities.
LeadingAge, Other Associations Submit Letter to Postmaster General on COVID-19 Screening of Mail Carriers
LeadingAge Illinois has received a number of calls regarding postal workers refusing to be screened before delivering mail to the communities. Postal workers have stated that the Postmaster and the Postal Union allow them to refuse COVID-19 screening. This is a nationwide issue. LeadingAge, along with Argentum, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), the American Healthcare Association (AHCA) and the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) have signed onto and submitted a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General pointing out the major nationwide issues with mail delivery. The letter points out that “many of our organizations have large communities with hundreds of residents and their staff are stretched very thin right now.” We will keep you updated on this issue. 
HUD Releases Frequently Asked Questions Document on COVID-19
Lamar Seats, Deputy Assistant Secretary, HUD Office of Multifamily Housing, announced recently that HUD has put together a Frequently Asked Questions Document on COVID-19 . You can send questions to HUD to be added to this document. 
Coronavirus in the Senior Living Workplace: Fast Breaking Issues
We are offering a webinar, free to annual meeting registrants , on Coronavirus in the Senior Living Workplace: Fast Breaking Issues on Mar 25, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. To register for this webinar, please enter your information here and receive your link to access it.
Resources for Activity Professionals
Activity Departments are being affected by the COVID-19 virus by having to limit group programming. The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals has put together resources for in-room activity programming.