March 27, 2020
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. You can also engage with other Illinois members through our listservs, connecting you with your peers by provider type. We have now added a COVID-19 listserv . Contact LeadingAge Illinois if you’d like more information about the listservs or would like to join one.
LeadingAge Live Online Coronavirus Daily Member Update
Today – April 26 (7 days/week)
2:30 p.m. daily
Everyone must register again for this new series of live online updates. When you register, you will be automatically signed up for every update through April 26. After you register, you will receive an email confirmation with your unique weblink, which you can use every day. There will be no telephone option.

Due to overwhelming response—and in light of the added strain on virtual meeting platforms—members may still have connection problems with live call-ins. Recordings will be available, should you experience access problems.

Also, 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 my.leadingage.org account and join the group to stay connected. LeadingAge also has a COVID-19 webpage with the latest updates, information and resources for members.
STATE
COVID-19 Reporting Information for IDPH
IDPH has asked LeadingAge Illinois to reach out to our membership so they can reconcile long term care case numbers with case numbers for other offices in the Department. They are asking nursing home providers to be submit upon receipt of a positive COVID-19 test result for either residents or staff the following information:
 
  • Facility Name
  • Facility Address
  • Facility License #/CMS Provider # (14XXXXX)
  • Date Results Received
  • #Residents Testing Positive
  • #Staff Testing Positive
  • Total #Positive Tests (#Residents + # Staff) 
 
The information is to be submitted to the fax/email number to which the facility routinely submits their incident reports. For questions, please contact Debra Bryars at IDPH.

Additionally, for Assisted Living providers, please report COVID-19 information to Lynda Kovarik on the incident and accident form.
Pending Admissions Changes for Medicaid
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has informed LeadingAge Illinois that several thousand admissions are queued for approval based on the new internal HFS policies. These should be indicated on next week’s Transaction Audit Numbers report that will be sent out early next week.
 
We encourage all members to utilize the following recommendations to prevent any further delays when submitting your documents:
  • Use Social Security numbers AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE DATA ENTERED CORRECTLY.
  • ENTER discharge dates. If a discharge occurs and a provider does not enter it in the TAN it will be on hold for manual review.
  • Do not submit multiple admission requests. If TANs overlap they kick out and require manual intervention.
  • Double and triple check all data entry
Governor Issues Order Suspending Sections Related to CNA Background Checks
The Governor issued an executive order this week suspending certain parts of the Healthcare Worker Background Check and CNAs during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.
 
The provisions in the Healthcare Worker Background Check Act that prohibit an individual from being hired to work as a CNA if they have been inactive on the Health Care Worker Registry are suspended if the individual (1) has been in inactive status for a period of no more than 5 years, (2) was in good standing at the time they became inactive, and (3) completes and submits any forms required by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). 
 
The Act provisions limiting conditional employment of CNAs to three months pending the results of a finger-print based criminal history record check are also suspended. IDPH shall not permit a CNA to continue conditional employment beyond six months without obtaining the results of a finger-print based criminal history record check.
Recommended Guidance for Extended Use of N-95 Masks, Regular Masks, and PAPRs Update
Healthcare providers have been impacted by the increased demand and shortage of PPE. CDC and IDPH have checklists and documents geared toward extending use of certain PPE. There is also a PPE Burn Rate Calculator that provides information for providers on planning and optimizing the use of PPE for response to COVID-19.
SIREN Notifications
To get the most up-to-date guidance from the State of Illinois, you can register to receive SIREN - State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notifications .  SIREN provides regional, State and Federal partners with a comprehensive information sharing, collaboration, alerting and notification solution. If you have difficulties registering please contact SIREN.
Source: SIREN
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.
Resources for Child Care
Governor Pritzker's Executive Order on Friday, March 20, 2020, ordered all child care programs across the state to close. This has left many essential workers scrambling to locate child care options. The Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) is working with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and partners throughout the state to develop child care options for these families.
 
See the COVID-19: Emergency Child Care for Communities & Providers webpage to connect you with information to understand your options for offering and accessing child care for essential workers within your community during this pandemic. Through this page you can learn how child care programs can apply to become an Emergency Child Care Center, how child care homes can operate as license-exempt homes serving six or fewer children and how communities can ensure that parents are connected to the resources they need. This information and webpage can also be found under the For Families and Children resource page of the state COVID-19 response site .
Essential Worker Letter
LeadingAge Illinois received a request for an Essential Employee letter so they can show they are essential workers during a period when everyone is expected to remain at home . You can view the letter template here
FEDERAL
Family Medical Leave Under the Families First Bill
Please see a Question and Answer document prepared this morning by LeadingAge on this issue. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions of the second stimulus bill have been a big source of anxiety for members. Employees are able to receive up to 10 weeks of FMLA to care for a sick relative, or a child (or older person) who is at home due to the coronavirus emergency. The Senate bill caps that at $10,000 per worker.
Summary of CMS Conference Call with Nursing Homes
CMS hosted a conference call with nursing homes on Wednesday. If you were unable to access the call, LeadingAge posted a summary of the call Further, if you would like to be added to CMS’s list to receive notification of calls directly, please send an email to Alina Czekai at CMS with the request. 
LeadingAge Sends Letter to CMS on Blanket Waivers for Nursing Homes
LeadingAge has sent a letter to CMS requesting the following blanket waivers for nursing homes:
  • suspending payroll based journaling;
  • relaxing comprehensive care plan requirements and timelines;
  • relaxing requirements for physician assessment at 30, 60, and 90 days and every 60 days thereafter;
  • allowing offsite pharmacy reviews; and
  • relaxing requirements to allow all sites to function as training sites for CNA’s clinical hour requirements. 
 
If any of these are approved, the waivers would apply with no additional state application process. 
Hospital Transfer Issues
LeadingAge has settled on a position that COVID-19 negative nursing homes should accept COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals if the following conditions are met:
  • the patient(s) can be cohorted or isolated in a different space;
  • the nursing home has adequate PPE to serve the individual; and
  • the nursing home has adequate staff who do not float between the isolated space and the rest of the nursing home. 
 
CMS is expected to have guidance on the topic of hospital transfers soon.
HUD Updates COVID-19 Q&A Document
HUD has updated their COVID-19 Question and Answers document , which includes answers to a number of questions posed by LeadingAge and housing members. HUD also had a call yesterday with important updates for providers. Here is a summary of the call.
Senate Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Click here for a summary of the important housing-related provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  There are a lot of housing related provisions in the bill, including $50 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly to make up for reduced rent, maintain housing stability and help communities pay for costs associated with coronavirus and a sweeping moratorium on eviction from federally assisted housing.
Small Business Administration Offering Assistance Loans
Along with small businesses, non-profit organizations facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for a current U.S. Small Business Administration federal loan program . These low-interest loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per eligible small business or non-profit organization that applies.
 
These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interest rate for businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75% the non-profit rate is 2.75%. According to the Small Business Administration, loans are available with long-term repayments to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. You can contact the Small Business Administration disaster assistance customer service center directly at 1-800-659-2955 or by e-mail.
Department of Labor Online Dialogue on Compliance Materials Needed for Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave Requirements
The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
 
The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. DOL needs employer input by March 29, 2020. Anybody who is interested can participate online through March 29, 2020. For more information on the requirements of FFCRA, click here. 
Source: Janis Reyes , SBA
OTHER UPDATES
Value First Survey – PPE Shortage Solution
The Value First GPO owned by LeadingAge and its state affiliates, has identified a possible PPE solution for members. Below is detailed information provided by the Value First President, Jared Schei along with a survey to complete ASAP. If you are a LeadingAge national member, you may have already received the survey. Please be sure that only one survey is completed for your organization. Value First would like to have all survey responses back within the next 24 hours so that they can respond quickly to this opportunity.
 
Message From Jared Schei, Value First President:
As the PPE supply shortage has escalated, Value First has been actively researching and vetting alternative suppliers to supply critical PPE products. Phoenix Textile has been a trusted supplier to LeadingAge members for many years and has identified a potential solution for masks and isolation gowns. Phoenix Textile is sourcing products for some larger health systems and federal facilities in the US. Given our longstanding relationship with Phoenix Textile, I have confidence that we have identified a viable solution. However, it will require aggregating volume across the LeadingAge membership.
 
Phoenix Textile can source N95 masks to be shipped via air freight for approximately $2.75 each. The price includes freight to a distribution center in the US and products would ship approximately 1 week after the order is placed. A 50% down payment is required and can only be ordered in full containers. This means we would be ordering in intervals of 338,000 masks, with 338,000 being the minimum number to make this a viable option.
 
The isolation gowns would cost approximately $9.75 each and have a minimum order of 10,000 gowns. The air freight option would take approximately 10 days to get to our distribution center.
 
I have been working with a local distributor to accept the bulk delivery, then break down the orders and drop ship to individual member locations. The distributor will charge a small mark-up as well as the cost of the shipping via FedEx, which will slightly increase the proposed prices.
 
It is important to note that the pricing and timing of delivery is changing daily, so we are looking to pull this together in 1-2 days. The price of the masks is the most volatile, while the isolation gown pricing has been relatively consistent.
 
If you are interested in pursuing this option, click and complete the short survey below as soon as possible. We may be submitting an order as soon as this Friday, March 27th. The survey is not a commitment to purchase, just a way for us to determine if there is enough interest to move forward. If there is critical mass, we will reach out to you to fill out a commitment form and coordinate the deposit.
 
If you have questions, please reach out to me via email .
Infection Control Tool 
LeadingAge has developed an Infection Control Tool for nursing homes to use to prepare for an Infection Control Survey.
Postal Issue Update
As you may remember from a previous newsletter edition, LeadingAge sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General regarding a major issue members were having with postal mail carriers. The issue, which several LeadingAge Illinois members had in addition to providers all over the country, was the postal service forbidding postal carriers to be screened for COVID-19. The postal service has now offered three alternatives in response:
  • redirect to a temporary mail receptacle inside or outside the building where screening would not be necessary;
  • place the mail on hold at the post office for up to 30 days and pick it up; or
  • redirect all mail to an alternative location. 
CAST QuickCast - Supporting Social Connectedness through Technology
This 7-minute QuickCast offers ideas to leverage a variety of available technologies to connect older adults during times of social distancing.