May 19, 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
LeadingAge COVID-19 Communication and Media Tools You Can Use
In a number of recent conversations with LeadingAge Illinois members, providers have shared with Karen Messer , President and CEO, their concerns about the negative views on nursing homes and aging services coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist members with their communication efforts, LeadingAge has developed a variety of templates for you to use based on the situation and your need.
 
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are likely to have news to share with your community and may even be receiving a surge of media interest. Here’s how LeadingAge is Driving the Coronavirus Conversation and how we’re Responding to Negative Views on Aging Services During the Pandemic . We're also creating resources to help make it easier for you to communicate with clients, residents, family members, staff, and the media.
 
Communication Planning:
 
Communication About Testing for COVID-19:
 
Communication About Positive Cases of COVID-19:
 
Communication About COVID-19 Losses:
Argentum COVID-19 Communication and Media Resources
Most members have already implemented procedures to keep public health officials, residents, family members, legal representatives, staff, and other stakeholders aware of incidents of COVID-19 in communities. However, given the importance of transparency, Argentum has provided information to support members making decisions on issues related to reporting and communications. Members can access sample messaging for residents, staff, visitors, and media by logging into Argentum’s website . Argentum also recommends a CDC template of a comprehensive letter to residents, families, friends, and volunteers explaining restrictions and what the community is doing.
LeadingAge Illinois to Meet with Congresswoman Schakowsky on Nursing Home Challenges During COVID-19
LeadingAge Illinois will meet with U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9 th District; Glenview) on Thursday to discuss nursing home struggles during the COVID-19 emergency, the need for relief and why regulatory burdens should be lifted.
 
Schakowsky is the Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging & Families. She has voted in support of the Heroes Act, which includes provisions of a bill she introduced recently titled the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act ( H.R. 6698 ). We will be discussing this legislation with her on our call. LeadingAge Illinois educated the representative previously on senior housing issues during a visit to Patten House of Glenview, an Embrace Living community. During that visit, we discussed the challenges senior housing providers face and the importance of the IWISH program. We look forward to educating the representative on nursing homes issues our members are facing. 
CMS Announces Guidance to Ensure States Have a Plan in Place to Safely Reopen Nursing Homes
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new guidance for state and local officials to ensure the safe reopening of nursing homes across the country. The guidance released is part of the President’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again . The recommendations issued would allow states to make sure nursing homes are continuing to take the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure resident safety and are opening their doors when the time is right.

CMS added that the guidance also serves to help states and nursing homes reunite families with their loved ones in a safe, phased manner. Along with the guidance, were FAQs that focused on Reopening, Testing and Visitation.   See the LeadingAge article on the guidance here Another new document regarding the President’s guidelines is the CDC’s 60-page report titled “CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response.” 

The guidance is for consideration by the states. LeadingAge Illinois continues to monitor the actions of the Governor in response to COVID-19 as well as meet regularly with the administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on these issues. We will keep members abreast of Illinois' plans regarding nursing homes.
STATE
COVID-19 Updates and Q&A Webinars for Long-Term Care and Congregate Residential Settings
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.
 
To register, click on dates below:
 
 
 
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.
IDPH Proposes Rule Change in Health Care Worker Background Checks
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently proposed rule changes for the Health Care Worker Background Check Code implementing Public Act 101-176 , which allows staffing agencies, workforce intermediaries (organizations that provide job training and employment services) and organizations that provide pro bono legal services to initiate fingerprint-based criminal history background checks for their clients seeking employment in health care jobs. These organizations may also initiate requests for waivers allowing an individual who would otherwise be disqualified from health care employment due to a past criminal conviction to be cleared for employment.  The Act is not a part of COVID-19 response as it became law on July 31, 2019 and is the result of the passage of SB1965. 
Governor Pritzker’s Daily Press Conference Updates
Governor JB Pritzker is conducting daily press 2:30 p.m. conferences on COVID-19. Click here to listen daily.  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). 
 
Yesterday’s update included:
 
Cases:
  • 2,294 new cases (96,485 total)
  • 59 new deaths (4,234 total)
  • 100/102 counties have case(s)
 
Hospitalizations:
  • 4,120
  • 1,096 in ICU (about 25%)
  • 636 on ventilators
 
Testing:
  • 21,297 in the last 24 hours. 
 
Senior living was not mentioned in yesterday's briefing by the speakers nor by the media. The focus was Illinois’ Contact Tracing Collaborative. The Governor and Wayne Duffus, M.D. and Ph.D., outlined the program. Duffus is an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is the Acting Illinois Epidemiologist. It is the second briefing he has attended since taking the position. IDPH will lead the technology-based approach to tracing that innovates and scales up existing systems at local health departments. 
 
The Governor talked briefly about the upcoming legislative session, which resumes tomorrow. The sole focus of the three session days this week in Springfield is COVID-19 issues. LeadingAge Illinois will closely monitor the activities of the Illinois General Assembly and report on actions in this newsletter. 
FEDERAL
Federal Aging Committee Hearing to Focus on Caring for Seniors Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding a televised hearing Thursday at 8:30 a.m., entitled “Caring for Seniors Amid the COVID-19 Crisis”. One of the witnesses is LeadingAge/ Visiting Nurses Association of American (VNAA) member Steven Landers, MD and MPH, President and CEO, Visiting Nurses Association Health Group, out of Holmdel, New Jersey. The witnesses also include R. Tamara Konetzka, PhD, Professor of Health Services Research, Department of Health Sciences, at the University of Chicago. LeadingAge will be submitting a statement for the record on behalf of LeadingAge/VNAA. There are no Illinois members of Congress on this Committee, but it is an important group that considers key issues that impact aging services, providers and residents. 
OSHA Releases Guidance for Nursing Home and Long Term Care Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released their first guidance on COVID-19 for nursing homes and long term care workers. The guidance gives 16 bullets of tips to help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  
SBA Loan Forgiveness Application
Over the weekend, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released the forgiveness application for the Paycheck Protection Program loans.  Lenders will likely program the application into their own websites, and borrowers will need to fill out the application with their lender to get their loan principal forgiven. Borrowers will need to provide detailed information on how their funds were used, including payroll data at the employee level. Stay tuned for more information on this.   
FTC Blog on Stimulus Checks
Last Friday, a new blog post came out from the Federal Trade Commission on the $1,200 stimulus checks that went out last month as they relate to nursing homes and assisted living. The blog posts states what we already know: that the stimulus checks are considered tax credits and cannot be taken from Medicaid residents. The article’s framing suggests that state attorneys general should get involved if facilities are taking these checks.
OTHER NEWS
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
The RESIDE Dashboard: Everything in One Place. Finally.
The current admissions process is not only inefficient and time consuming for administrators, but also a drain on revenue. Facilities can lose up to 20% of revenue due to missing or inaccurate documentation. But with RESIDE, admissions staff, regionals, and owners can oversee the entire admissions process – all in one place. Our centralized dashboard ensures accountability at each stage, full transparency into every admission, and the necessary reports to maintain compliance. See it in action .
 
Holly Kasnetz is the VP of Strategy and Implementation at RESIDE Admissions.
LeadingAge PPP Member Survey
LeadingAge is fielding a short member survey of five questions on the Paycheck Protection Loans. They are looking to gauge whether members are accessing these loans and which member types are doing so more than others. They are also using this to gather stories both from those who have and have not received PPP loans to support advocacy efforts in this area.
Value First PPE Update
As the list and solutions for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continues to be an ever changing landscape, Value First encourages you to vet any email offerings you may receive for items. While there are many offers that are legitimate, members are encouraged to be wary of any offers that may seem too good to be true. The FDA is finding a large amount of masks that are now being received in the U.S. that are not able to pass inspection.  Click here for more information on PPE updates and resources from Value First. 
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.
EDUCATION
LeadingAge Quick Cast on Ethical Dilemmas: Decision-Making in a Pandemic
In this Virtual Session , Dr. Michael Gillette explores the simple and complex ethical decision-making leaders face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Gillette is an ethics expert who has presented numerous keynotes and workshops nationally and internationally for over 25 years.