Coronavirus Update #63
Thank You from Congressman Sarbanes, HFAM Update, Daily Bed Availability Reporting Tool, New CMS Requirements, Nebulizing Guidance, Careers in Aging Week
Thank You Message to LTC Sector from Congressman Sarbanes

Please watch and share with your teams this special message from Congressman John Sarbanes to thank all caregivers, residents, and families for all they are doing during this difficult time. Congressman Sarbanes offers words of encouragement to residents in Maryland's skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and assisted living campuses and salutes the frontline caregivers as heroes during this health emergency.
HFAM Update

As we pass through this difficult part of the surge for our sector, there is so much out of our control and it is frustrating. But there is much in our control:
  • Take actions that will tell your best story.
  • Over communicate with families, residents, patients, and staff.
  • Appreciate, support, and over communicate with your care teams.
  • Quality care is always your focus.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing home healthcare workers are proving themselves not just as essential workers, but frontline heroes. The challenges faced are immense, unprecedented, and heartbreaking. Nursing home and assisted living healthcare heroes are truly working hard and doing all they can to save lives.

As always:

  • Operate DRIVEN by your infectious disease protocol.
  • Execute your observation and isolation beds.
  • Work closely with your acute-care hospital partners and home health partners.
  • Stay in contact with local health offices and the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ).

Media Clips and Articles:

  • CLICK HERE for a Media Clip of Dr. Howard Haft from the Maryland Department of Health.

  • CLICK HERE for a Washington Post opinion piece from its Editorial Board on Nursing Homes.

  • CLICK HERE for a Baltimore Sun Op-Ed from HFAM President & CEO Joe DeMattos that shares our sector's story during this pandemic.
Daily Bed Availability Reporting Tool

Our partners at the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and CRISP have been working with post-acute providers and hospitals to streamline nursing home daily bed availability reporting. The hope is that this will be an easier and more comprehensive way to understand bed availability than current processes. 

The intent is to ask nursing home for key pieces of information that will not be overly burdensome and still provide enough information for hospitals to streamline post-acute care placement. Facilities will be allowed to enter data more than once per day if bed availability changes from first entry, but daily submissions will need to be completed by 10:00 am each morning. 

All entries will be processed to provide a single source capacity directory that discharge planners and care managers can use to locate needed beds. Initially, this will be in the form of a spreadsheet emailed back to the discharge planners. Over time, it will also include display in CRISP.

Facilities that submit data will also be able to see daily bed availability across the state. You will need to be credentialed in CRISP to view data, but no credential is needed to submit.

Nursing homes can input information via this link:

CRISP is asking facilities to begin entering data now, however, you may want to concurrently run existing processes until CRISP is able to automate their a single source capacity directory distribution.

A webinar will be scheduled this week to go through the process with CRISP and answer any questions. Be on the lookout for more details about the upcoming webinar.
CMS Announces New Requirements for Reporting Confirmed Cases 

At a White House briefing late yesterday, Administrator Seema Verma announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be requiring skilled nursing care centers to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 to residents and families. SNFs will also be required to report confirmed cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Details on how to do this will be forthcoming later this week from CMS. 

This announcement is similar to AHCA/NCAL guidance   released last weekend ( in Update #38 ) on reporting confirmed cases to stakeholders and to the state survey agency, if providers were not already doing so. The announcement by CMS late today applies only to nursing homes, so assisted living communities and facilities that serve the ID/DD population should continue to follow AHCA/NCAL’s guidance on notifications.
Nebulizing Guidance 

AHCA/NCAL has developed new guidance that outlines when and what to do with COVID-19 residents with severe respiratory symptoms who need nebulizer treatments. CDC considers nebulizer treatments to be an aerosol generating procedure. This may increase risk of infection due to aerosols generated by the procedure or due to increased contact between health care providers and patients. Facilities should review the guidance and consider whether they can care for a resident who requires nebulizer treatment. 
Careers in Aging Week - Honoring LTC Professionals
This week we are kicking off Careers in Aging Week by highlighting the honorable work being done in the long term care (LTC) profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week is happening in the most unusual of circumstances -- we are realizing more than ever before that for our best teams, this work is a calling. 
“There has never been a time like this,” said AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson. “Millions of people living in America’s skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities depend on our providers every day for vital care. There are so many amazing stories of dedication, sacrifice, and compassion by long term care professionals who are going above and beyond to ensure the safety, health, and happiness of our residents during this unprecedented time. These individuals are saving lives; they are heroes.”
Careers in Aging Week, an annual celebration, is also a time dedicated to bringing greater awareness and visibility to the wide-ranging and rewarding career opportunities in LTC for the next generation. The AHCA/NCAL Workforce Resource Center offers a variety of resources, including those for LTC organizations on recruiting and retaining staff, resources for individual LTC professionals at multiple staff levels to develop skills and advance careers, and the LTC Career Center, which includes featured job openings in the profession.
Contribute to the conversation on social media throughout this week using #CareersInAging , and tell us how you’re celebrating.

And, don't forget to visit to read amazing stories of care. Visitors to the site can also learn how to leave messages of support for residents on social media.
Reminder: Temporary Staffing Program

As we predicted earlier, we knew that the long-term and post-acute care sector would face increasing workforce and staffing challenges in the heart of the COVID-19 care surge. We have received reports of more critical staffing shortages in isolated parts of the state - both urban and rural. Staffing and workforce challenges will likely continue for at least the next few weeks. For those reasons, we are again sharing the below resource we sent out yesterday regarding the Maryland Hospital Association temporary staffing program.

MHA has expanded their temporary staffing program, Chesapeake Registry Program (CRP) during the COVID-19 outbreak to vet and recruit new groups, including nursing, medical, and respiratory tech students; clinicians not practicing in Maryland hospitals; and those signed up for the Maryland Responds and Medical Reserve Corps.

Hospitals that already use CRP and those that do not, including post-acute providers, can quickly contract with MHA and CRP to access:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Allied staffing
  • Non-clinical staff

If you’d like to access the new resource, please contact and MHA will send a short-term, simplified contract to you to review and sign. Once the contract has been returned, MHA will quickly load your facility into the system and meet your needs. To request assistance for filling more than 10 positions, send a surge staffing request to MHA at An intake team is ready to begin taking requests. Working with the state, MHA has developed a list of COVID-19 top positions and COVID-19 specific rates, which are included here.
Johns Hopkins Medicine’s A Woman's Journey is holding a special COVID-19 update via Zoom on April 21 at 7:00 PM.

Epidemiologist and internist Lisa Maragakis offers updates on COVID-19, what we have learned about the virus, how it invades a patients lungs, short and long-term impact on other organs, the potential of new treatments and a vaccine, and the threat of return.

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.