COVID-19 UPDATE #45
June 16, 2020
PROGRAM MOVING HARD-TO-PLACE RESIDENTS OUT OF HOSPITALS COMING TO AN END FOR SKILLED NURSING
On March 18, 2020, the Home and Community Service (HCS) division of Aging and Long Term Supports Administration (ALTSA) implemented The Community Home Project, a program to move difficult-to-place residents out of hospitals and into nursing homes in an effort to free up hospital beds to increase COVID-19 surge capacity. The program provided those skilled nursing facilities accepting these difficult-to-place residents with a $100/day rate add-on. On June 15, 2020, HCS announced that the project will be winding down. As part of the winding down, HCS announced the following:
  • HCS will continue to approve exceptional rates for those individuals who are Medicare and Medicaid eligible and who are currently hospitalized and transition to a nursing facility on or before June 18, 2020. Individuals who are not approved on or before June 18, 2020, will not receive the $100/day rate add-on.
  • The Community Home Project approval letters are client-specific; the exceptional rate must be approved prior to the dually eligible individual’s admission to the nursing facility and the approval for the exceptional rate is limited to 180 days after admission.
  • For those residents who have already admitted with a Community Home Project approval, they are assigned to Home and Community Services Nursing Facility Case Managers. These specialized case managers are actively working with the resident and nursing facility staff to coordinate transition planning out of skilled nursing facilities and into less restrictive community settings.

Nursing facilities will also receive notification of the end to the approval of $100/day rate add-on for new clients as of June 19, 2020, in a Dear Provider letter.
UPDATE ON NHSN REPORTING AND RELATED CITATIONS AND FINES FOR SKILLED NURSING
AHCA received communication from CMS on June 11 regarding reporting through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). CMS is researching the issues resulting in providers being marked as non-compliant.

CMS reports that there are a few common issues they have discovered so far, and the agency is seeking each center’s help to get these corrected and straightened out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) NHSN is looking into some actions that they can take to make it easier for these issues to be identified on the facility side of the platform. Read more .
HOW TO MAKE COVID-19 NOTIFICATIONS MEANINGFUL FOR SKILLED NURSING
While skilled nursing centers must continue reporting confirmed and clusters of suspected cases in a cumulative manner in order to meet the current CMS requirements, AHCA/NCAL suggests nursing homes consider including additional information in these notifications so they are more meaningful and useful to residents, their representatives, and families. Additional items have been added to the template letter to residents and families created by AHCA/NCAL as suggestions for you to consider. Read more .
RELIEF FUND PORTAL FOR MEDICAID PROVIDERS LAUNCHES FOR ASSISTED LIVING
On June 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a web application portal for Medicaid providers other than skilled nursing facility Medicaid providers. Skilled nursing facility Medicaid-only providers already should have received a Medicaid allocation or will receive payments over the course of the week. The new Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal will initially be used for new submissions from Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers seeking payments under the Provider Relief Fund including assisted living communities, ICFs/ID-DD, and home and community-based providers.
CMS OFFERING WEBINAR JUNE 18 FOR SKILLED NURSING
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering a webinar on Thursday, June 18, at 1 PM PST entitled, Clinical Care: Managing COVID Positive Residents . The clinical management of COVID positive and presumed positive residents requires understanding the various trajectories and having appropriate plans of care in place that align with each resident’s goals and preferences. It also requires working with medical directors and clinicians to have the needed medications and other treatments available. This webinar will review the key considerations for the clinical management of COVID positive and presumed COVID positive residents.

Advance registration is required. Once you register, you will receive an email with your link to join the webcast.
AHCA/NCAL INVITE IMAGES AND VIDEO FOR CAMPAIGN
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living is working on a national advertising campaign, and they are inviting facilities across the country to submit images and/or video that can be utilized. They are particularly interested in any media you have of caregivers and/or residents wearing the proper protective equipment (face mask, gloves, etc.). Photos and videos captured on a smartphone camera could work for their needs. Please click here for some examples of images and videos they have received. If any photos or videos are shared, they must be accompanied by a signed release form .
DOH OFFERING WEBINAR FOR LTC PROVIDERS
The Department of Health (DOH) continues to offer a webinar each Thursday at 11 AM specifically for long term care providers and other healthcare professionals. This webinar provides an opportunity to ask questions and get additional information directly from DOH officials. Join the webinar on Thursday, June 18, at 11 AM. Register in advance . For slides and previous Q&A documents covered in the previous webinars, visit the WHCA COVID-19 resource page
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website . If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.