April 17, 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.

Contact Congress Today for Senior Affordable Housing Relief
The coronavirus has brought unprecedented emergency spending costs to senior affordable housing communities. The vast majority of these costs were not met by the CARES Act. More than 2 million seniors live in affordable apartment buildings financed by HUD, Rural Housing Service, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. These communities, their residents, and their staff need relief and they need it now. Take Action Now.
Urge Congress to provide funding and support for residents and affordable senior housing providers. Urge Congress to support:
  • $2.2 billion for rent and staffing supports, Service Coordinators, telehealth capability, and other assistance for the more than 2 million older adults served by federally-assisted housing communities financed by HUD, the Rural Housing Service, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

  • Priority access to Personal Protective Equipment and testing, as well as resources for disinfecting, without which residents and staff are at significant and avoidable risk.
Contact Congress Today In Support of Home Health Providers
Home health agencies are a crucial discharge destination for the health care system, with hospitals needing every available bed to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. To continue to support people in ways that optimize resources and minimize community spread by reducing contact between clinicians and patients, we ask that home health visits made via telehealth be a fully recognized aspect of the service.
Urge Congress to expand home health emergency telehealth authority to allow for payment. It is critical that home health agencies be able to count telehealth visits as part of a unit of service especially since we anticipate serving patients released from the hospital or sheltering at home with COVID-19. We ask that Congress allow for home health telehealth visits to be equivalent to an in-person visit for the purposes of payment for the duration of the crisis.
Stimulus Checks for Residents
The Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services released a notice to Long Term Care (LTC) providers on the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ( CARES ) Act. 
The CARES Act provides a refundable tax credit for 2020 to eligible individuals. The Internal Revenue Service will provide payments in 2020 as an advance refund of credit to eligible individuals.
These payments are called “Recovery Rebates,” and:
  • These payments are not counted as income when determining Medicaid eligibility

  • These payments are not counted as a resource for 12 months following receipt when determining Medicaid eligibility. However, any amount remaining after 12 months will be considered a resource and counted towards the maximum resource allowance.

  • These payments are not reportable to the Department of Human Services

  • These payments do not require an income change transaction in MEDI

  • These payments are not to be collected by LTC providers to be applied towards the resident’s “group care credit”

  • These payments are the residents personal funds

The “CARES Act” also provides that certain individuals collecting unemployment benefits may be eligible to receive an additional $600 as “Pandemic Unemployment Compensation” per week for weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020. The monthly equivalent of $2580 in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be disregarded when determining countable income for the purpose of Medicaid eligibility. If you have questions, contact the HFS Bureau of Long Term Care toll free at 844.528.8444.
Source: HFS
Case Study: Citadel Healthcare
Citadel Healthcare recently moved from a paper admissions process to RESIDE’s online admissions software. With 11 facilities throughout Illinois, the RESIDE software is helping Citadel build team morale, alleviate stress, and improve admissions efficiency. And, employees now spend less time printing and processing paperwork, and more time improving the resident experience. Read more
 Author: Holly Kasnetz, VP of Strategy and Implementation at RESIDE Admissions
Employee Fingerprint Collection
The Governor recently issued Executive Order 22 , which related to fingerprint collection for new hires (only applies to unlicensed staff). Section 5 of the Order states: “During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, the requirement in the Health Care Worker Background Check Act, 225 ILCS 46/33(e), and the accompanying regulations, that designated students, applicants, and employees must have their fingerprints collected electronically and transmitted to the Illinois Department of State Police within 10 working days is suspended , provided that the fingerprints are transmitted within 30 working days of enrollment in a CNA training program or the start of employment.”
IDPH Webinars Update
The Illinois Department of Public Department (IDPH) held a webinar on April 15 entitled “ Personal Protective Equipment and Transmission-Based Precautions, Resident Placement, and Crisis Capacity Strategies .”  Click here for the slides and here for the recording. The next IDPH webinars are scheduled for April 24 and are tiled, “ COVID-19 Updates and Q&A for long-term care and congregate residential settings.”   Click here to register.  
Supportive Living Program Resident Discharges
Executive Order Number 10 requires all Illinois residents to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, with exceptions for essential needs or essential business activities. Supportive Living Program residents may still leave the building for essential activities (see excerpt below from Executive Order number 10). Common examples for residents would include required routine medical care that cannot be provided in the building, such as radiation or dialysis. Recreating outdoors is also acceptable as long as social distancing is maintained, however, Executive Order number 10 also encourages the elderly and people who are at high risk of illness from COVID 19 to stay in their residence. 
If a resident is repeatedly disregarding Executive Order Number 10 and their actions are endangering the health and safety of the resident or others, an immediate notice of involuntary discharge may be issued. The rules for  involuntary discharge at 89 IAC 146.255   must be followed, including discussing the reason for the discharge with the resident and their designated representative. Prior to issuing a notice of immediate discharge, the SLP provider must educate the resident about Executive Order number 10, CDC guidance for persons in a congregate living setting and the risk of personal exposure and exposing others by routinely leaving the building. Documentation of the above in the resident’s record should be included. You must also provide the appeal form along with a self-addressed postage paid envelope. The required forms are:  Notice of Involuntary Discharge  and  Involuntary Discharge Notice of Appeal And Request For Hearing . As a reminder, please fax discharge notices to the Department, attention Sara Reardon at 217/557-5061. 
Leaving the home for essential activities is permitted . For purposes of this Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following Essential Activities:

  • For health and safety. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.

  • For necessary supplies and services. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.

  • For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas. However, playgrounds may increase spread of COVID-19, and therefore shall be closed.

  • For certain types of work. To perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations (which, as defined below, includes Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure) or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Executive Order, including Minimum Basic Operations

  • To take care of others. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Executive Order.
Source: HFS
Workers’ Compensation Commission Changes Rules During COVID-19 Emergency
The Governor announced this week, an emergency rule by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission stating that COVID-19 first responders and front-line workers who indicate that they contracted the Coronavirus at their job will automatically be presumed correct and can receive workers’ compensation benefits. This includes healthcare workers. Under normal circumstances, a worker must prove that an injury or illness was directly caused by their job.  The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to offer workers’ compensation insurance.
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.
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
CMS Administrator Gives Updates on Reporting, Funding and More
Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, said during a media call this week that nursing homes would be required to report “real time information about outbreaks” to CDC. “We think it’s important for patients and employees to have as much information as possible about what’s going on in the nursing homes. We recognize there should be more reporting than to local health departments. You’ll be seeing some more information from us at the end of this week on that.” CMS, however, has not yet released anything about reporting as of today.
Verma also talked about the Provider Relief Fund and the initial need to get the money out quickly to cover increased expenditures as well as foregone revenues for providers who aren’t able to provide services they would normally provide. Verma added the next fund distribution could be expected “by the end of this week.”
The Administrator highlighted that CMS staff are working seven days a week and reviewed what the agency is doing to be sure rules and regulations are not standing in the way. She pointed out that waivers under Medicare and Medicaid have been completed in approximately five days, rather than the usual year or more. Verma talked about new telehealth authorities and how many barriers to telehealth have been eliminated and described the need to have “all hands on deck…across the board” and to allow states to expand their workforces. The $87 billion has been sent to providers under the Medicare Accelerated Advance payments program. “We’ve had a major focus on nursing homes,” she added.
In related news, HHS announced that its Provider Relief Fund Attestation Portal is open. Providers who received payments from the $100 billion fund, created by the CARES law, must agree to the terms and conditions set by HHS, using the portal. If providers do not want to keep the funds because they think they may be ineligible, they must also enter the portal to inform HHS they will return the money. 
In addition, HHS posted a toll-free number for providers who believe they qualify for payments but have not yet received a payment. Providers can find out the status of their payment and an estimated amount (the formula is in the HHS website). Providers can still contact HHS about the fund using email.
Source: LeadingAge
SBA Loan Funds Now Depleted
The U.S. Small Business Administration announcement this week that the $350 billion authorized for forgivable loan funds under the Paycheck Protection Program are now depleted. There is currently debate in Congress about how to appropriate new funding and how to expand the program to cover providers with more than 500 employees. Look for more information on the next legislation in the coming days. LeadingAge and Argentum are calling for more funds and expanded eligibility in the next bill. 
COVID-19 Grants, Loans & Advance Funding Opportunities For Not-For-Profit Providers
A new guide put together by LeadingAge explains the various mechanisms for providers to obtain additional financial support, the conditions of those mechanisms and who is eligible. Check it out here
More Resources for Healthcare Workers
We have been made aware of a few more helpful resources for healthcare workers during this time. 
  • Free Crocs for Healthcare workers from Crocs.
  • Transportation Requests through Lyft.
  • UBER has committed to provide 10 million rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors and people in need, free of charge. They are ready to work with more cities, food banks, hospitals and others around the world to move whatever matters most to them. Organizations and governmental entities looking for support can submit their request directly through this form.
Hospice, Hospice Partners, and Telehealth in the Time of COVID-19
A number of changes have been made to Medicare telehealth via legislation, rulemaking and 1135 waivers from CMS. LeadingAge is going to provide updates on telehealth changes by provider type over the next couple of weeks since the rules and flexibilities do vary somewhat. They have prepared an article discussing new telehealth flexibilities for hospice providers and related recommendations for partnering for effective care delivery.
Source: LeadingAge
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.
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.

Keep Employee Morale Up in the Age of Social Distancing Webinar -April 22, 2020 1:15 p.m. Free to LeadingAge Illinois Provider Members

Save the Date:

Navigating an Infection Control Survey During COVID-19 and Beyond
April 28, 2020
10:15-11:15 a.m.
Free to LeadingAge Illinois Provider Members

Ensuring your Facilities are SAFE
Apr 30, 2020
10:15 a.m.
Free to LeadingAge Illinois Provider Members


LeadingAge QuickCasts that are related to Covid-19 are free to all: