June 5, 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.

We Have a New Website!
You should have received an e-mail regarding our new website and how to log-in to access members-only materials and register for education. We encourage you to take a look . If you did not receive an e-mail with your password, you can create a new one here and then click on “Lost your password?” Please note that in order to receive member pricing when registering for LeadingAge Illinois education, you will need to be logged in to the website. Click here to submit any questions
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Reopening Plan 
LeadingAge Illinois and the Illinois Health Care Association (IHCA) will be working on a comprehensive plan and implementing guidance from CMS in providing recommendations for a safe and phased-in plan on reopening strategies for nursing homes and assisted living communities.

This plan will be presented to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in the near future.  As the State continues to navigate the turns of this pandemic, we feel it is imperative that all state agencies and the Governor’s Office support the eventual normalization of nursing home & assisted living operations to the extent possible. Most importantly, we strongly support the exercising of resident rights, dignity and socialization while at the same time ensuring resident safety and resident choice. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress about the phased in proposal as the undertaking begins to take shape.
Testing Update
With the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) emergency rule last week, several questions and issues have come in on testing and interpreting the rule. 
Here is what you should know:
  • Applicability:
  • The rule applies to Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facilities and amends that code. 
  • Assisted Living, Supportive Living and Sheltered Care code changes have not been proposed on testing to date. However, LeadingAge Illinois has been told by IDPH that those communities should be prepared. So know these could be coming. 
  • Guidance:
  • See current IDPH guidance here.
  • IDPH indicates that the endorse CDC Testing Guidance
  • Webinar.  IDPH held a webinar on testing yesterday. Click here for the slides and here for the recording
  • Nursing homes must develop their own testing plan and document an established relationship with a testing lab. 
  • Tests will now be to the anterior (front nostril) which has received a good response. 
  • IDPH will provide training and assistance with testing if needed (likely with the nurse teams.
  • Each facility is required to report to public health officials the number of residents and staff tested, and the number of positive, negative and indeterminate test results.
  • You have to make available, a copy of the your infection control policies and procedures by providing them to residents, the resident’s family or representative. You also need to make these available to IDPH and the local health departments, upon request. IDPH has been asked if the policies made available are all infection control polices or just those related to COVID-19. They are to report back to us at our next meeting with them on Tuesday
  • Nursing homes who decline to follow the rule, will be found in violation.
  • Staff Consent:
  • Staff have a legal right to refuse. 
  • Staff may be carrying the infection and infecting residents and staff, so administration may want to develop human resources policies to address staff refusals. Example: Make testing a condition of employment (like flu vaccinations)
  • If HR policy does not require testing, facilities should consider other measures appropriate and necessary to protect residents from staff member(s) who have an undetermined status.
  • Resident Consent: 
  • They, their representative or surrogate have a legal right to refuse.
  • General consent forms during admission cover this non-invasive test. If no general consent is on file, you need verbal, informed consent before testing and you are to document in chart. For non-invasive tests, IDPH said they do not consider written consent to be needed. 
  • Billing:
  • The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) issued a provider notice previously indicating that COVID-19 testing is free to Illinois residents. The notice reminds health care providers to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing and testing-related services free of charge to all Illinois residents, regardless of insurance status or immigration status, and informs providers that HFS is initiating a new eligibility category to reimburse providers for these services. 
  • The State is contracting with Quest Labs for testing. In the Quest agreement, it states they cannot bill for Part A and the facility will need to seek reimbursement. Quest is meeting with HHS to clarify billing for hospice under Medicare and VA coverage. Some insurance companies do not recognize Quest labs, and the State is looking into that as well. Quest will bill Medicare under Part B.
  • Funding for testing has come from HHS through CARES Act funding. LeadingAge Illinois will meet with HFS next week to get an update on funding for testing. 
LeadingAge Illinois continues to analyze information and meet with IDPH and HFS on issues related to testing and will keep you updated via this newsletter or through alerts as warranted. 
Testing Resources
LeadingAge Illinois and Value First continue to track resources for testing to provide to our members. We will keep you updated on legitimate information we receive. Here is a look at some of the information and resources we have gathered to date (we will keep a running list updated in the newsletter):
Sales Specialist
219.508.6206 (Cell)
844.522.8847 (Support)
631.532.1680 (Fax)
Provides testing, supplies and results

Contact: Brent Branneman
Provides testing, packaging and results ($100 each test)
Does not include lab processing.
Expense Tracking Tool Helps Economic Relief Fund Recipients Stay Compliant
The economic relief funding from Congress to help businesses get through the financial challenges brought by COVID-19 feature specific rules for how the funds can be used by health care organizations. Tracking and monitoring is critical, but can be very complicated, especially when funding is received from multiple sources. LeadingAge has collaborated with CliftonLarsonAllen to offer an expense-tracking tool that creates the foundation to organize spending in accordance with compliance and the reporting initiatives that are sure to come. Learn more and purchase access by visiting the CLA website .
IDPH COVID-19 Webinars Update
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is hosting webinars to provide COVID-19 updates and answer questions from long-term care and congregate residential settings.

June 4 Slides and Recording
Webinar attendance is limited. If you cannot register or get in, email Michael Moore .
IDPH will be recording the webinars and sending out the links of the recordings.
Governor Pritzker’s Daily Press Conference Updates
Governor JB Pritzker is now conducting the COVID-19 press briefings now only on an as needed basis. He indicated they may be just once per week. Click here to listen. LeadingAge Illinois monitors the briefings daily for information coming directly from the Governor and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). 
NHSN Data and Infection Control Surveys
CMS has released the full data from nursing homes’ NHSN reporting. The data is available here and there is a link to this data on the Nursing Home Compare site. The press release from CMS is available here.
All data elements entered into NHSN are reflected for the reporting periods ending May 24 and May 31. It also shows if a nursing home did not submit data or if the data submitted did not meet validation criteria. The data file will be updated in two weeks and weekly thereafter. In addition to this data, CMS also began releasing survey results for the focused infection control surveys that were first announced on March 4.
Approximately 8,300 infection control surveys have been completed and results were posted today for 5,700 of those surveys. Survey results are available in a zip file linked on the Nursing Home Compare page and the files will be updated monthly.
Provider Relief Fund Update
HHS confirmed, in writing, in its most recent (June 4) FAQs that apparently it was ONLY those who had NOT yet received a 2nd payment who needed to attest and submit financial data as of yesterday (June 3).
This conflicted with numerous HHS information that was in writing. One of the new FAQs asks: “I wasn’t able to attest to the $20 billion General Distribution funding by June 3, 2020. What should I do? (Added June 3) The June 3, 2020 deadline was for providers to submit revenue information to be considered for a portion of the $20 billion General Distribution.
Providers have 90 days from receipt of their payment from the $20 billion General Distribution to attest and agree to the Terms and Conditions.” In addition, HHS has updated the General Distribution Portal noting that it remains open for those providers who have already received a second payment to submit their financial information. It does not list a deadline for submitting the financial information but providers must attest before they can submit financial data in the General Distribution Portal.
LeadingAge Issues Letter to HUD Urging Distribution of CARES Funds
LeadingAge sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson urging him to distribute critically needed COVID-19 relief funds to Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance senior housing providers. The funds were provided under the CARES Act; as the letter says, the time is long overdue to these providers to receive the emergency funding to pay for cleaning, disinfecting, personal protective equipment, services, security and other COVID-related costs.
Cleaning and Disinfecting in Affordable Housing
This was discussed in various LeadingAge Illinois congressional meetings recently and LeadingAge continues to get a lot of questions from affordable housing members on cleaning and disinfection. See this new article that summarizes HUD’s recommendations on this topic, which are mostly CDC and EPA guidance. HUD does have a new, and timely, two-pager on how HUD multifamily housing owners should dispose of medical waste. The article also links to the recording of a HUD disinfection webinar.
Argentum Stand with Seniors Campaign
Argentum asks members to take part in the “ Stand with Seniors” Campaign . This Campaign calls on Congress to take swift action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff of the communities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Illinois is fourth in national rankings of the number of letters sent to Congress as part of the Campaign.
Value First PPE Update
The LeadingAge Illinois and Value First team continue to work to keep you updated on PPE and items needed for the reopening phases in your communities. We encourage you to continue to work with your trusted food, medical and janitorial distributors for your supply needs. However, we are also aware our "normal" channels may still be working to catch up with demands and allocations are still in place. The following vendors have all been vetted for your use. See this letter from LeadingAge Illinois/Value First.
Member Presents on LeadingAge National Daily Call
Ralph Gaines, CEO of Embrace Living Communities , was the featured guest this week on one of LeadingAge’s national COVID-19 calls. 
Gaines was named CEO of Embrace in April, 2020 Embrace has 35 affordable housing communities with over 3,000 residents and 150 staff in Illinois, Missouri and Florida. Gaines is formerly a Chief Operations Officer at HUD where he headed up the Opportunities Task Force.
He talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on senior living, including costs and the needs of providers as a result of the pandemic. He also expressed his support of expanding funding for asks such as service coordinators, integrated health and wellness programs and WiFi in affordable housing. “I am such a believer in health and housing,” said Gaines. “Health, wellness and technology are so important in today’s age. Even before COVID came on, internet and telehealth were talked about and it is very important for health and wellbeing in the many ways we can use technology. WiFi is very important when we start to talk strategically on investment in these areas.” He also echoed the need for more housing. “The affordable housing crisis was here before this. The need for affordable housing is greater than it’s ever been.”
Gaines was a part of recent meetings with congressional offices, which urged federal legislative support of LeadingAge’s $1.2 billion ask for affordable housing. Special thanks to Ralph Gaines and Embrace for their advocacy. 
LeadingAge Illinois Monthly HUD Member Call Set for June 16
Please join us for the next monthly LeadingAge Illinois HUD Member Update on June 16 at Noon. These calls feature Linda Couch, Vice President of Housing Policy and Juliana Bilowich, Director, Housing Operations and Policy at LeadingAge, Washington, D.C.  You will receive important updates on HUD and COVID-19 issues. There is also time for sharing best practices, asking questions and discussion. RSVP to Jason Speaks
Partners in Quality Virtual Visit Update
Through a LeadingAge Illinois Partners in Quality Virtual Visit, a trio of members met with a State Representative and Senator yesterday on COVID-19 related issues.
Phillip Kaufmann, Administrator, Greenfield-Princeton , Keith Swartzentruber, Executive Director, Snyder Village-Metamora and Matt Feucht, Administrator, Apostolic Christian Skylines-Peoria had a virtual visit with Senator Chuck Weaver (R-37th District; Peoria) and Daniel Swanson (R-74th District; Woodhull).
The issues discussed were testing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), staffing and costs. Another issue shared with the legislators, was the need for a plan for visitations that meet guidelines set by public health officials. Currently, Illinois is in Phase 3 of Restore Illinois. The IDPH Director has said that visitations will be the one of the last things in Illinois’ reopening. IDPH staff have also indicated that as of right now, no visitations are allowed, including outdoors. “The end game for us, that is the most critical, is what do we have to do to be able to get some visitations for our residents?” asked Keith Swartzentruber during the call. “We have folks that have not seen their family members in two months, except through a glass door. This damage caused psychologically, emotionally and mentally is very significant. There has to be an avenue to let families and residents see each other.”
The meeting allowed members to present their issues before their elected officials. Special thanks to the members for taking part and addressing current issues. 
Our next "visit", is part of a series of meetings with members of U.S. Congress. Next week, we will host a video conference with U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-13th District) and members from his district. The purpose is to urge the representative’s support of aging services during the current public health emergency and educate him on issues transpiring in the response. 
LeadingAge Live Online Coronavirus Daily Member Update
LeadingAge is hosting daily live online updates each weekday afternoon. Subscribe to "LeadingAge Need to Know" via communications preferences in your MyLeadingAge account to receive email updates. Register for live online updates 5 days/week at 2:30 p.m. through May. You can find an archive of all member updates here

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.
LeadingAge Illinois Requests Your Feedback
As your provider association, LeadingAge Illinois wants to offer the most relevant and up-to-date education offerings in the best format possible all while being respectful of provider time constraints and staffing considerations. We’d like your feedback regarding your education needs and readiness to participate in virtual events. 
Please complete this short survey Friday, June 5.  It should take less than 2 minutes to complete.
LeadingAge Illinois staff will use your responses to plan education for the remainder of the year. Thank you in advance for responding to this request and for your dedication to serving your residents.
Leadership and the LGBTQ Senior in the Age of COVID-19 (Webinar)
June 23
1:30-2:30 p.m.
1.0 CEs will be offered.
1.0 hours of general CLE credit pending in Illinois, New York and California

  • Donna Sue Johnson, Licensed Social Worker, St. Mary's Center, Inc. / Adult Day Health Center
  • Dan Churchill, Chief Financial Officer, The Admiral at the Lake; Board Member, Project Q, Boston, Massachusetts
  • David Alfini, Esq., Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP; Board Member, One Roof Chicago

As a leader, it is important to understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ community and how COVID-19 has impacted them from a clinical and emotional perspective. The presenters will discuss who the LGBTQ population is and why understanding this will help you better serve the population. Additionally, learn how to avoid the risk management pitfalls and take advantage of opportunities with the LGBTQ resident to better understand needs. Registration information will be available soon.

Sponsored by: