April 3, 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.

TOP STORIES
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update
A major issue in Illinois and nationwide is the shortage and need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 
 
IDPH Guidance
Kirk Riva , in a meeting with IDPH and the Governor’s Office, asked about the IDPH issued guidance/recommendation that all congregate communities are to wear protective masking. Kirk was told by Laura Vaught at IDPH and the Governor’s staff that it is simply a recommendation and that facilities would not be cited for fines considering the lack of PPE in the global supply chain. The Governor’s Office went on to say they are working with several other agencies to ensure there are no obstructions with regards to payment issues with the Comptroller’s Office and they are also communicating with shipping entities to clear any obstruction to any barriers that might exist any getting those much needed PPE and medical supplies. They stressed that a production ramp is desperately needed to meet the demands of all the major health care providers.
 
The process at this point is still to contact your local county health department for PPE. You should document when you call and the result of each communication. 
 
CMS Guidance:
CMS released guidance on April 2 to further help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It states that long-term care facilities should ensure all staff are using appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE.
 
Value First:
Confirmed case in your Community?
If you have a CONFIRMED COVID-19 case in your community, please reach out to your normal medical distributor. Value First has been made aware that most distributors have some some PPE in reserve put away for communities with a CONFIRMED case. They do NOT have a stock pile, but may be able to assist. If your distributor cannot assist you, please reach out to your local health department to let them know your needs. Continue to reach out to Terry Romin at 224.230.7365 for the needs of your community, whether you are a Value First member or not, she is available to assist. Also, visit the Value First Website or their resource page for up-to-date information for your community.
General Hospital Discharge and Skilled Long Term Care Transfer Protocols
After several weeks of negotiations with the three long term care associations and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA), the two health care professions reached an agreement on discharge and admit protocols from hospitals to nursing home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building off processes developed across the country, the Illinois Health Care Association (IHCA), LeadingAge Illinois, the Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI) and IHA have developed proper procedures that deal with four categories of patients with regard to discharging protocols from hospitals to nursing homes, which are:
 
  • Category 1 Patients with no clinical concern for COVID-19.
  • Category 2 Patients investigated for possible COVID-19, but with a negative test.
  • Category 3 Patients under investigation for COVID-19 testing
  • Category 4 Patient with positive COVID-19 testing.
 
We have submitted our agreed document to IDPH for their review and analysis and are awaiting feedback with regard to their approval.
 
Once approved by IDPH, we will be distributing it throughout the membership.
Governor Issues Executive Order Granting Civil Immunity to Nursing Home Workers -
LeadingAge Illinois Requests Adding Assisted Living, Supportive Living and Life Care Community Workers to Order
On April 1, the Governor issued an Executive Order in response to COVID-19 stating that Health Care Facilities, Health Care Professionals and Health Care Volunteers shall be exempt from Civil Liability unless such Acts would demonstrate willful or wanton misconduct. This order became effective April 1, 2020 and for the remainder of the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, which currently extends through April 30, 2020. 
 
Nursing Homes are covered under 77 IL Administrative Code 1130.215 (C). Assisted Living, Supportive Living and Life Care Facilities were not included. However, LeadingAge Illinois met with IDPH and the Governor’s team and requested that the following acts be added: Assisted Living, 210 ILCS 9/1 et seq. as defined by 210 ILCS 9/10; Life Care Facilities Act, 210 ILCS 40/1 as defined by 210 ILCS 40/2 and the Supportive Living Act which is under HFS 210 ILCS 9/1. 
 
The example used to the Department and Governor’s staff of why we need this is that IDPH just issued guidance for congregate communities recommending universal masking. Given the shortage of PPE’s right now, many facilities will run out and plaintiff’s lawyers will jump on this “failure” as a basis for liability under this extreme health care crisis.
CMS Approves Medicaid Section 1135 Waivers for Illinois in
Response to COVID-19
Section 1135 waivers will give Illinois regulatory relief on a range of requirements. Illinois was one of the 11 recent states approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicaid waiver requests under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (Act). At this point, 13 states have been approved.
 
The waivers offer Illinois new flexibilities to focus resources on combatting the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries. These waivers provide relief on a number of fronts, such as prior authorization and provider enrollment requirements, suspending certain nursing home pre-admission reviews, and facilitating reimbursement to providers for care delivered in alternative settings due to facility evacuations.  Click here for Illinois’ waiver information.  
STATE
IDPH Guidance for Nebulizer Treatments for COVID-19 Confirmed Positive or Suspected Cases
On March 27, IDPH issued guidance for Nebulizer treatments for COVID 19 confirmed positive or suspected cases. They recommend contacting the healthcare provider to see if a metered –dose inhaler is a viable option instead of nebulizers. If that is not an option, see if the resident can hold and perform their own nebulizer treatment. This will save on PPE for the healthcare worker. If they cannot perform self- treatments, FULL PPE for droplet and contact precautions must be utilized. Click here for full guidance.
Implementation of New Policy for Systematic Processing of Facility-to-Facility Transfer Long Term Care Admissions and Additional MEDI Edits
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) issued a provider notice with the subject "Implementation of New Policy for Systematic Processing of Facility to Facility Transfer Long Term Care Admissions and Additional MEDI Edit.” The implementation date of Monday, March 30, 2020 was temporarily delayed due to concerns with implementing system and billing changes during the COVID-19 emergency. In the interim, HFS will be manually identifying transfers to enter into the State payment system. The manual processing will be completed every other week until we implement the systematic changes detailed in the provider notice.
Advance Payment Recoupments
The State has given an additional three month extension to July 15, 2020 for Advance Payment Recoupments. In May 2019, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) established a process for Long Term Care (LTC) providers to request an “Advance Payment” if they were experiencing a financial hardship due to Medicaid eligibility determination issues. The process included a repayment agreement that directed the provider to submit 12 monthly installment payments on the 15th of each month, beginning in January 2020. See the provider notice here.  
IDPH Hosts Weekly COVID 19 Q & A Webinars for LTC and Congregate Residential Settings Effective April 10, 2020
IDPH is hosting a weekly webinar to provide updates and answer questions from long-term care and congregate residential settings. The first one is scheduled for Friday April 10, 2002 from 1-2 p.m. Click here to register.
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.
 
Today’s press conference was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, which will serve as the largest Alternate Care Facility (ACF).
 
The purpose of the ACFs are to be for persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness and to take the strain off of hospitals. At McCormick Place 500 of the planned 3,000 beds are already completed. The other ACFs are:
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital-Elgin (about 250 capacity)
  • Metro South Health Center-Blue Island (about 250 capacity)
  • Westlake-Melrose Park (230 beds)
  • Vibra Hospital in Springfield (announced today)
 
COVID-19 Cases:
Today, the Governor announced that there are 1,209 new cases, bringing the total to 8,904. There are 53 new deaths, with a total of 210. There are 64 counties in Illinois with cases. 
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
FEDERAL
Updated Medicaid FAQs 
Last night, CMS published updated FAQs on COVID-19 and Medicaid/CHIP. The new material includes several new questions related to eligibility determination, among other things. This has come up as an issue for some providers throughout the country, since Medicaid eligibility determination offices are teleworking and/or working differently; demand on the systems is high too. More information on this is forthcoming. 
Summary of CMS Call with Nursing Homes
CMS held another call with nursing homes this week.  Here is a summary . Covered topics include:
  • CNA Training/Certification,
  • Staff with multiple jobs,
  • Hiring issues,
  • Converting buildings,
  • FEMA, and
  • PBJ
Source: LeadingAge
New CDC Postings
The CDC posted to new items to their website yesterday:
 
Affordable Housing Update
There are a few items we wanted to make you aware of today:
 
  • HUD Questions and Answers.  HUD updated their Q&A document yesterday with more information about recertifications. It also includes information on construction, rehab and RAD conversions going on during this time.

  • Coronavirus Information for Affordable Housing.  LeadingAge has a page devoted to resources for members from affordable housing organizations on COVID-19. The page is updated frequently with important information. 

  • Memo to Elected State and Local Officials on Affordable Housing COVID-19 Needs.  LeadingAge sent a memo to the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and other associations representing states and localities, recommending that:
  • (a) staff in HUD-assisted senior housing communities supported as “essential” workers; and
  • (b) to help their member state and local officials connect HUD-assisted senior housing communities to needed relief.

  • LeadingAge Illinois Monthly HUD Member CallPlease join us April 8 at Noon for the next monthly LeadingAge Illinois HUD Member Update with 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. RSVP now
OTHER NEWS
Post Positions for Free Through LeadingAge Illinois
LeadingAge Illinois is working to assist organizations to recruit staff during this pandemic. As a first step, we have arranged with our career center to provide free postings for all of our members. To place a job posting, click here and follow the prompts to create a basic job posting. At checkout, enter the promo/coupon code FREEPOSTING. Further, LeadingAge Illinois will be promoting the career center through various channels, including our social media pages, in an effort to help encourage more people to view and respond to your job postings. 
 
Lastly, we reached out to our provider and business members and can share the following contacts that may be of further assistance in providing staffing or directly supporting your organization.
 
Willing to serve as Administrator:
Chicagoland area
Julie Boggess, CDP, LNHA
847 858-7666
 
West Central Illinois
Michael Duffy, LNHA
217-430-1064
 
Able to provide staffing:
Nextaff Healthcare Staffing
Rebekah Stanley
Peoria Office Coordinator
309-322-6022
RN, LPN and CNA’s
 
Polaris Group- National Healthcare Consulting and Staffing Services Firm
Vickie Elliott, Regional Business Development Manager
(813) 394-5674
Interim NHA, DON, MDS, Business Office Manager, Interim Regional Nurses, ADON’s, and Regional A/R specialists
 
Ward & Associates Health Services
Joy L. Ward, RN, BSN, RAC-CT, LNHA, MBA, President/CEO,
630.347.8942
Able to provide DON, MDS Coords, LNHA, EDs etc.
See our Key Services www.wardhealthservices.com
 
(nonmember) Assured Healthcare Staffing in Gurnee
Leslie Kischer, Vice President
847-775-7445
Traditionally supplies Nurses and CNAs in many of the Northern IL counties and has fill-in nurses that normally work in school districts available
 
Should you have any questions, please contact Angela Schnepf at LeadingAge Illinois at 630-325-6196.
NextStep COVID-19 Course
Prepare your workforce quickly with the most up-to-date information on how to stay safe, prevent COVID-19 spread, and keep those we care for safe. Features Dr. Vin Gupta, nationally recognized COVID-19 expert on topics including PPE, reducing spread, change in care practices, and much more. Also includes master mindfulness trainer, Lynn Morrison, who provides tools that caregivers can use now to de-stress. Additional content is leveraged from NextStep's state-approved CNA course. All content is updated frequently to ensure consistent with CDC, WHO, and Public Health Authority guidance.
 
Who is the course for?
CNAs, Home Care Aides, Family Caregivers, Home Health Aides, Housekeeping and Dietary staff, anyone on the frontlines of support and care in nursing homes, assisted living, HCBS, adult day, PACE, and affordable housing.
 
How long is the course?
Course is made up of 36 bite sized, video based skill lessons. Total course time is almost 3 hours in duration. Most users take small chunks of the course at a time, but it can be taken in one sitting. It is online and available 24/7 on any device including mobile phone, computer, tablet.
 
Will this course meet the new CNA training and testing blanket waiver?
Not built for this purpose, but can be used to complement additional training under the CNA training and testing blanket waiver. NextStep's state-approved, mobile app based CNA course can be used to meet the CNA training and testing blanket waiver. E-Mail for more information
 
How can I access this course?
 
How much is this course?
Regular price is $39 per seat, however LeadingAge members can purchase unlimited number of seats now through April 10 for FREE with discount code COVIDCERTNOW entered at time of purchase.
 
Is this course approved for CNA CE?
This course may be used as state-approved CE for CNAs in most states for 3 hours of CE.   E-Mail for more information.
Ziegler Conducts CARES Act Webinar With Focus on Paycheck Protection Program and its Impact on Midwest Senior Living Communities
Ziegler held a webinar this morning to discuss how the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) under the CARES Act could impact your senior living organization. The program is expected to be fully operational today and offers loans up to 250% of average monthly payroll, or $10m, whichever is less. The good news is that these loans can be forgiven and not represent a permanent debt, assuming that organizations meet the SBA requirements and appropriately qualify.
 
A link to the webinar replay can be found here . Below are links with other important information:
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.