April 21, 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
MUST READ! Federal Relief Dollars May be Available
We are asking members that receive Medicaid funding (Nursing Homes or HCBS) to please fill this out ASAP to get federal relief dollars.
 
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking information as quickly as possible (but no later than Today COB ) to inform its decisions about how to allocate the next tranche of the $100 billion Provider Relief Fund authorized under CARES. The first tranche of $30 billion went to providers who billed Medicare (FFS) in 2019.
 
HHS is working to make payments in the second tranche to providers who bill Medicaid but do not bill Medicare. The ultimate goal of these funds is to cover lost revenue and some expenditures. But at this point HHS is not looking for any data on spending or increased expenditures. They want only the Tax ID Numbers (TINs) of providers who bill Medicaid, but not Medicare.
 
If you are a Medicaid provider who does not bill Medicare, please send your TIN on the excel spreadsheet to Aaron Tripp ASAP by COB Today , to be included in the list LeadingAge has been asked to submit to HHS.
IDPH Updates Long Term Care Facilities PPE Resource Request Guidance
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has updated their Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Resource Request Guidance . In the guidance, IDPH outlines the process for requesting PPE. 
CMS Announces New COVID-19 Reporting Requirements for Nursing Homes
CMS announced upcoming requirements for nursing home reporting of COVID-19 in a Quality, Safety & Oversight group memo on April 19. CMS reinforced existing requirements for reporting to state and local health departments on COVID-19 confirmed or suspected cases and clusters of respiratory illness, then announced that new requirements are forthcoming. Nursing homes will be required to additionally report information on cases and clusters directly to CDC through the National Health Safety Network (NHSN) system. CDC will publicly report this information, while using this data to support surveillance, monitor trends, and inform policy.
 
Nursing homes will be required to update residents and families on a weekly basis in addition to providing notification within 12 hours of confirmed infections or clusters. This includes cases or illness in both residents and staff. Nursing homes will also be required to inform residents and their representatives of actions implemented by the nursing home to prevent or reduce risk of transmission, including any changes to normal operations.
 
With the implementation of reporting through the NHSN system, nursing homes will be required to duplicate reporting to 2 government entities through 2 separate reporting processes. Providers should visit the CDC’s NHSN page to familiarize themselves with this system and process and work out any issues ahead of the impending requirement.
 
LeadingAge recommends reaching out to residents and representatives now to update them on the current status of COVID-19 in your nursing home, and to let them know they will soon be receiving regular updates if this is not already occurring. Coordinate internally to determine the most efficient and effective way your nursing home can keep residents and representatives up to date. Make sure that your chosen method accommodates the needs and preferences of your population, then develop a contingency plan to ensure that information and updates can be available even when things don’t go according to plan.
Communicating about COVID-19 in Congregate Settings - Long-Term Care Facilities
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released guidance that addresses notification procedures by long-term care facilities to residents and residents’ next of kin, guardians or emergency contacts when that resident, another resident or a staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 or died from it. This notification shall identify whether the diagnosed individual was a staff member or resident. The facility shall not, however, reveal personally identifying information about the diagnosed individual, including their name, except as necessary to notify the resident’s next of kin or guardian and to ensure staff take sufficient safety precautions.
STATE
Access to Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities by Essential State-Authorized Personnel
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a notice on Access to Residents of Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities by Essential State-Authorized Personnel. 

IDPH indicated they recognize the continuing need for reasonable access by necessary professionals to hospitals and intermediate and long-term care facilities while still protecting the health and safety of patients/residents.
 
Residents have a right to legal counsel and other protections that must be preserved, IDPH went on. IDPH stated that essential professionals, such as those providing legal services, advising residents of their legal rights, and assisting with matters in which residents may be aggrieved should be allowed reasonable access to residents at facilities.
 
IDPH stated that essential State-authorized personnel have a duty to provide certain services to long-term care residents. Therefore, the Department grants authorization for entry into intermediate and long-term care facilities and hospitals to those individuals permitted or required by federal, State, or local law. These individuals include, but are not limited to, employees or agents of a public agency, such as the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, including representatives of the Office of State Guardian for the purpose of reviewing do not resuscitate (DNR) orders and making other end of life decisions, and Legal Advocacy Service (LAS) attorneys for the purpose of conducting meetings pursuant to the legal representation of their clients.
 
All individuals granted authorization under the guidance should not be classified as visitors - they should be assessed as facility staff are assessed. All such individuals must promptly notify facility staff upon arrival and follow all screening protocols established by the facility. Any individual who does not meet the screening standards will not be granted.
IDPH Adopts Emergency Rules Regarding Healthcare Workers
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently also adopted emergency rules regarding healthcare workers. Codes amended include: Home Health, Home Services, and Home Nursing Agency, Long-Term Care Assistants and Aides Training Programs and the Health Care Worker Background Check
Code.
 
All changes are effective March 25 for a maximum of 150 days, to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
  • Amendments suspend, for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, registered nurse supervisory visits and agency supervisory visits normally required for home health, home services, or home nursing agencies. These supervisory visits may be conducted via telephone or electronic means where available.
  • The rules allow military personnel with medical training to serve as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in healthcare facilities while the COVID-19 emergency continues.
  • The normal requirements for Illinois certification of CNAs licensed in another state are also suspended, provided that the out of State CNA is in good standing and is working under the direction of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and IDPH.
  • CNAs with inactive status on the IDPH Health Care Worker Registry for less than five years, and who were in good standing at the time they became inactive, may resume work as CNAs immediately.
  • The conditional employment period of three months for CNAs who have not yet undergone a fingerprint based criminal background check is extended to 6 months.
State Recognizes the Need for Healthcare Workers During Pandemic
Now more than ever, the need for and importance of healthcare workers is evident. The state has recognized this and has been working to maximize entry and re-entry into the healthcare workforce. Recently, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced they are expediting licensing.  Retired healthcare workers have been encouraged to rejoin the workforce and license fees have been waived. Healthcare workers are also reminded to sign up for emergency alert system in which public health officials immediately reach out to workers in time of need. The state also seeks volunteers at this time of need. 
IDPH Webinars Update
The next IDPH webinar is scheduled for April 24 and titled, “ COVID-19 Updates and Q&A for long-term care and congregate residential settings.”   Click here to register.  
Proposed Collaboration Between the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and Local Health Departments
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office issued a memo today on their collaboration with local health departments related to social distancing guidelines and employers. The Attorney General’s Office seeks to strategically collaborate with local health departments on high impact efforts to limit transmission of COVID-19 in essential businesses. The Office anticipates that this collaboration would focus on large employers with substantial violations of the Executive Order’s social distancing guidelines. Upon receiving a reliable complaint, the Office would seek assistance with the relevant local health department that could include a number of actions.  Click here to read the memo.  
HFS Adopts Emergency Telehealth Rules
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) recently adopted emergency rules on Telehealth. The rules are effective March 20 for a maximum of 150 days. The rules authorize medical assistance coverage of all medically necessary and clinically appropriate telehealth services for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
 
Telehealth services that utilize an interactive telecommunication system or other communication system that allows the patient and provider to exchange health information that would otherwise be collected in a face to face encounter are eligible for medical assistance reimbursement.

Also for the duration of the public health emergency, HFS will cover services provided by federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and encounter rate clinics that do not ordinarily meet its definition of telehealth services, including virtual check-ins and behavioral health services provided via telephone or video and e-visits via online patient portals.
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.

The focal part of the Governor’s Briefing yesterday afternoon was COVID-19 testing in long term care facilities. LeadingAge Illinois has been communicating with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and pushing with the administration for some time now the lack of testing in communities.  
 
As tests are now becoming more available, and with the numbers exploding in communities throughout Illinois, they intend to begin more widespread testing. Their first efforts are going to focus on ‘clean’ facilities in hotspot areas, in an effort to prevent outbreaks from occurring in additional facilities. These focused hotspot areas will initially include facilities in Cook County and the suburban collar counties (i.e., DuPage, Kane, Lake & Will counties), though they will looking at other areas of the state where the numbers are beginning to climb (metro areas specifically). IDPH is testing residents and staff. More information is to come on testing and we will keep you updated on progress. 
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
CMS Calls This Week
CMS has scheduled calls this week for:
  • COVID-19 Office Hours: Today and Thursday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Lessons from the Front Lines: Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Home Health and Hospice: Today, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Nursing Homes: Wednesday, 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Dialysis Organizations: Wednesday. 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Nurses: Thursday, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
 
Click here for full call information from CMS. 
Affordable Housing Update
There are a couple of important items we want to share today regarding affordable housing. 
 
One is regarding technology , which has helped low-income seniors connect to critical services throughout the pandemic. LeadingAge is asking Congress to help bridge the connectivity gap for low-income older adults.
 
The other item is resources for residents . A recap of federal resources available to help elderly residents of affordable housing navigate COVID-19 can be found here.  
OTHER NEWS
Interview with Ari Shabat, CEO of RESIDE Admissions
In a recent interview, Ari Shabat, CEO of RESIDE Admissions, joins Scott Christiansen, CEO of Root3 Marketing & Business Development to discuss how RESIDE’s remote admissions process puts everything in one place, ensuring the health and safety of your residents and staff. Shabat shares how the long-term care industry, which has been especially vulnerable during COVID-19, can benefit by accessing the RESIDE platform remotely. Request a demo .

 Pictured: Ari Shabat, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RESIDE Admissions
COVID- 19 Testing Kits Available
A few Leading Age Illinois providers have reached out to us to let us know that COVID -19 Testing Kits are available. Here is information from Acutis Diagnostics. They train on collecting specimen, coordinate for pick up through UPS and results in 48 hours. They need a physician’s order to do test and their PI number. 
 
  • Acutis provides all necessary supplies (test kits, specimen bags, etc.) for testing at no cost to the facility
  • Testing is done with a nasopharyngeal swab in the resident’s nose
  • Results are processed and finalized in ~48 hours and are results are available to receive via fax or online
  • COVID-19 testing is covered by the resident’s insurance. They accept all insurance in Illinois.
  • Pending availability, Acutis will provide supplies as they are needed and can send more supplies within 24 hours- notice.
 
Click here for a sample results page for a patient.
Contact: Paul Jaskowiak , Sales Specialist 219.508.6206

Star Labs has shared that they also offer COVID-19 Testing, in particular utilizing ‘high-throughput FDA-authorized Therm Fisher TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit’. For more information, please reach out to Marc Villafania , Director of Business Development at 847.329.7500 or visit their website.
Careers in Aging Services Week
This week is Careers in Aging Services Week. As you know, the aging services field offers a wide range of job opportunities, including culinary, dining, retail hospitality, maintenance, transportation, IT services/support and more. Visit the LeadingAge Illinois Career Center to connect talent with opportunity. 
Share Your Resident Engagement Story
Share with us, how you are keeping residents active and engaged during the COVID-19 crisis. Share your story here and tag your staff or community using the hashtag #LAILResidentEngagement. 
Recognize Your Heroes
During this time of crisis, it is important that we recognize the heroes working in your organizations that are making a difference in the lives of residents. To all those on the front lines keeping Illinois seniors safe, LeadingAge Illinois says "Thank you"! Tag your staff or organization on our Facebook page here to say thank you or share your own post to the Facebook page .
Telehealth Grant Funding Opportunity
If you are interested in telehealth and don't have the technology, please make sure you check the FCC's $200 million program. The program will only help fund monitoring devices that are already connected and able to automatically share data. The funds were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and are available immediately. Not for Profit Healthcare Providers, including Nursing Homes, are eligible to apply. Learn more about the application process , and apply today .
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.
EDUCATION
Upcoming:

April 22, 2020
1:15 p.m.
 
April 28, 2020 10:15 a.m.
 
April 30, 2020
10:15 a.m.
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