Coronavirus Update #145
Nursing Facility Rates, Reminder on MDH Orders, Federal Resources, CMS Calls
Nursing Facility Rates Effective 7/1/2020

Myers & Stauffer has reported to MDH that the rates will be going out today.  The MDH transmittal is here. If you do not receive the rates in a few days, please contact MSLC directly to be sure they have your current contact information.  

The most recent rates have also been uploaded to the Department's website.

If you visited this page before today, please note that the rates that were posted were not correct. Please be sure to download the sheet that was updated 7/27/2020.
Reminder on New MDH Orders

  • Revises the Nursing Home Matters order to: (1) extend state-funded mandated weekly staff testing to August 15; (2) requires nursing homes to provide testing plans by August 14 to MDH; and (3) updates isolation guidance to 7/22 CDC guidance from previous guidance.

  • Revised the Assisted Living Program order to the same as above (no change to the distinction of 50+ beds large facilities).
New Federal Resources to Protect Nursing Home Residents Against COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced several new initiatives designed to protect nursing home residents from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

New Funding

HHS will devote $5 billion of the  Provider Relief Fund  authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to Medicare-certified long term care facilities and state veterans’ homes (“nursing homes”), to build nursing home skills and enhance nursing homes’ response to COVID-19, including enhanced infection control. This funding could be used to address critical needs in nursing homes including hiring additional staff, implementing infection control “mentorship” programs with subject matter experts, increasing testing, and providing additional services, such as technology so residents can connect with their families if they are not able to visit. Nursing homes must participate in the Nursing Home COVID-19 Training (described below) to be qualified to receive this funding. This new funding is in addition to the $4.9 billion previously announced to offset revenue losses and assist nursing homes with additional costs related to responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the shipments of personal protective equipment provided to nursing homes by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Enhanced Testing

Building on the initiative HHS announced last week, in which rapid point-of-care diagnostic testing devices will be distributed to nursing homes, and the new funding from the Provider Relief Fund, CMS will begin requiring, rather than recommending, that all nursing homes in states with a 5% positivity rate or greater test all nursing home staff each week. This new staff testing requirement will enhance efforts to keep the virus from entering and spreading through nursing homes by identifying asymptomatic carriers.

More than 15,000 testing devices will be deployed over the next few months to help support this mandate, with over 600 devices shipping this week. Funds from the Provider Relief Fund can also be used to pay for additional testing of visitors.

Additional Technical Assistance & Support

The Trump administration recently deployed federal Task Force Strike Teams to provide onsite technical assistance and education to nursing homes experiencing outbreaks in an effort to help reduce transmission and the risk of COVID-19 spread among residents. The first deployments took place in 18 nursing homes in Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas between July 18 and July 20. The Task Force Strike Teams are composed of clinicians and public health service officials from CMS, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. 

The Task Force Strike Teams went into nursing homes based on data they reported to the CDC that indicated an increase in COVID-19 cases. The teams focused on the four key areas of support, including keeping COVID-19 out of facilities, detecting COVID-19 cases quickly, preventing virus transmission, and managing staff. The goal was to determine what immediate actions nursing homes needed to take to help reduce the spread and risk of COVID-19 among residents, and to better understand what federal, state, and local resources nursing homes need to ensure the health and safety of their residents. CMS and its partners plan to use what is learned on the ground to determine remote education and other critical needs to support nursing homes and mitigate future outbreaks.

In addition, CMS, in partnership with the CDC, is rolling out an online, self-paced, on-demand Nursing Home COVID-19 Training focused on infection control and best practices. The training being offered has 23 educational modules and a scenario-based learning modules that include materials on cohorting strategies and using telehealth in nursing homes to assist facilities as they continue to work to mitigate the virus spread in their facilities. This program supplements training already underway to better equip nursing homes to contain and stop the spread of COVID-19. The training is a requirement for nursing homes to receive the additional funding from the Provider Relief Fund Program.

The training will be available to all 15,400 nursing homes nationwide along with specialized technical assistance to nursing homes who have been found to have infection prevention deficiencies in their most recent CMS inspection and had recent COVID-19 cases based upon their data submissions to CDC. A certificate of completion is offered and recognition badges can be downloaded for nursing homes to display on their website.

Weekly Data on High Risk Nursing Homes

Early on during this pandemic, CMS required nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their nursing homes. Starting in May, CMS and CDC began collecting weekly data on each nursing home including their number of COVID-19 cases. Now that this data collection process has matured, the White House and CMS will release a list of nursing homes with an increase in cases that will be sent to states each week as part of the weekly Governor’s report to ensure states have the information needed to target their support to the highest risk nursing homes.

See the full text of this excerpted  CMS Press Release  (issued July 22), including a list of actions CMS took to address the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
CMS Webinar: COVID-19 Knowledge for the Frontline Staff

Topic: Following this call, participants will possess the knowledge and understand approaches to supporting the health and well-being of older adults, their care partners, nursing home team members, and other stakeholders during COVID-19.

Session Objectives:
  1. Learners will be able to discuss guidance on nursing home workforce safety
  2. Learners will discuss two or more ways to communicate with residents, care partners, and between direct care staff and management during COVID-19

Audience: Open to nursing home leaders, clinical and administrative staff members and others interested in nursing home infection prevention in the era of COVID-19.

Date: Thursday, July 30, 2020
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET

Invitations are distributed weekly for each training in the series. Sign up here for updates .

Miss a training? View recordings, slides and resources on .
CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls – July 27th to August 14th

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so you are highly encouraged to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to: Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce; Put Patients Over Paperwork; and Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare

This week’s Office Hours:
Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 1492795
Additional Office Hours:
Tuesday, August 4th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 3296947

Tuesday, August 11th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 3498643
Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls

CMS hosts weekly calls for certain types of organizations to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.
Home Health and Hospice (twice a month on Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern)
Tuesday, August 11th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 5097566
Nursing Homes (twice a month on Wednesday at 4:30 PM Eastern)
Wednesday, August 12th 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 7857618
Dialysis Organizations (twice a month on Wednesday at 5:30 PM Eastern)
Wednesday, August 12th at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 1027088

Nurses (twice a month on Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)
Thursday, August 13th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 7844289

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (twice a month on Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern)

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.
This week’s Lessons from the Front Lines:
Friday, August 7th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; 
Access Passcode: 4695240
For the most current information including call schedule changes, please click here .
Registration Is Now Open for the
AHCA/NCAL Virtual Convention!

October 8, 15, and 22

The past few months have been full of unprecedented challenges to the long term and post-acute care sector. That's why it's more important than ever that we gather for the 71st AHCA/NCAL Virtual Convention & Expo to review the past year, recognize the heroic work that you and your staff have done, and design solutions for what lies ahead.

Join your colleagues as we come together to reflect, share, and learn.
Did you miss HFAM's previous alerts?

Visit our website to view all previous HFAM alerts, as well as guidance
from our federal and state partners.
Thank you.

We cannot thank you enough for the dedication and diligence in doing all that you can for the residents in your communities. HFAM continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic with our state and national partners and will do all we can to support you during this time.