COVID-19 UPDATE #51
July 2, 2020
LTC WAIVERS EXTENDED UNTIL AUGUST 1
On July 1, the Washington Legislature’s “four corners” approved an extension of LTC-related COVID-19 waivers. Here is the letter affirming the extension until August 1, 2020. These waivers, which have been in effect since the statewide COVID-19 emergency was declared, must be extended by legislative leadership to remain in effect. Here is WHCA’s letter explaining the need for these extensions:
  • The current prohibition on visitors is extended until August 1, while the state works on a phased re-opening plan for LTC.
  • The waiver on the 120-day timeline for NARs to achieve certification as nursing assistants is waived until August 1.
  • Waived regulations for certain LTC worker requirements and fingerprint background checks are also continued.

Click here for the WHCA waiver tracker. Please note that the hyperlinks to proclamations are not yet updated; we are waiting for that information to be posted. Expiration dates are updated for your ease of review.

If you have questions or need additional information regarding waivers, please email Lauri St. Ours.
DSHS PHASED REOPENING WEBINARS SCHEDULED FOR JULY 9
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has scheduled a webinar on phased reopening strategies for both assisted living and skilled nursing. You must register for the webinar you wish to attend. Once registered, you will receive instructions on how to join the webinar. Click on the appropriate link below to register for the webinar for your setting.

DOSH DIRECTIVE PROVIDES ENFORCEMENT GUIDANCE FOR ANNUAL FIT TESTING, RESPIRATORY PROTECTION, AND FACE COVERINGS
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health received Temporary Enforcement Guidance on May 22 instructing inspectors to take all appropriate and necessary steps to increase the availability of general use respirators for emergency use by healthcare personnel in healthcare facilities. Referring to a Presidential Memorandum, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued 29 CFR § 1910.134 , regarding required annual fit-testing (paragraph (f)(2)), which is to take effect from the date of their memorandum and remain in effect until further notice.

We have heard from some members that DOSH inspectors are already looking for Respiratory Protection Programs to be in place and citing facilities that do not have one and that are not performing the required initial fit testing for respirator masks. In collaboration with Employer Resources Northwest (ERNwest), WHCA is providing a sample Respiratory Protection Program , and we have also compiled a list of resources for obtaining fit tests. We encourage you to review the Temporary Enforcement Guidance, make sure you have a written policy, and ensure all employees are being properly fit tested when necessary. For your convenience, the WHCA resources page contains a training video regarding fit testing.

WHCA would like to learn more about what is happening regarding DOSH inspections in our member facilities. If you experience a DOSH inspection, please reach out to Diana Hitchings at WHCA to let us know. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email Diana Hitchings or call her at (800) 562-6170, extension 116.
SBA GUIDANCE PROVIDES THAT PPP BORROWERS CAN APPLY EARLY FOR FORGIVENESS - BUT DOING SO MAY NOT BE WISE OR PRUDENT
Since the enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) at the beginning of June, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been issuing revised Interim Final Rules (IFRs) at a nearly-breakneck speed to address the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. In the latest iteration, the 20th IFR supplements the guidance in the instructions for the regular PPP loan forgiveness application and the instructions for the EZ PPP loan forgiveness application . At first blush, the biggest news appeared in the SBA’s statement as to when PPP borrowers can apply for forgiveness.

A borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application at any time on or before the maturity date of the loan – including before the end of the covered period – if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness. (Emphasis added).

Although the statement comes as welcome news to the many businesses that had hoped for flexibility around application timing, the SBA’s lack of guidance for submitting such an application significantly limits the scope of the statement. Learn more in a legal update provided by Lane Powell. Many thanks to Lane Powell for providing this article and information to assist providers as they navigate the PPP.
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.