COVID-19 UPDATE #67
August 10, 2020
ALL SNF MEMBER CALL WITH MARK PARKINSON: HHS PROVIDER RELIEF FUNDS
Over the weekend, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson received a call from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on which they provided a briefing related to the additional $5 billion in COVID-19 relief funds set aside for skilled nursing facilities. AHCA/NCAL would like to share this information with skilled nursing providers.
Please join AHCA/NCAL for an all member call with President and CEO Mark Parkinson and the team this Thursday, August 13, at 12:00 noon PST to provide details on upcoming COVID-relief distributions to skilled nursing facilities from the Provider Relief Fund. This call is for AHCA/NCAL members only, and attendees are required to pre-register here.
Members can log in using their existing AHCA/NCAL username and password. You will be able to register for the call once you are logged in to the website. Please email educate@ahca.org for additional assistance.
DOSH REQUIRING RESPIRATORY PROTECTION PROGRAMS IN LONG TERM CARE SETTINGS
Recently, WHCA has communicated with you about new DOSH inspections and fines being levied at the facility level related to the use of tight-fitting respirators (e.g., N95 masks). In fact, Respiratory Protection Programs have been a requirement since 1998, in cases where OSHA standards or employers require respirator use in the facility.
Here are the three most important things to know:
  1. Every employer should take the time now to implement a Respiratory Protection Program, regardless of whether they have COVID cases in the building.  This will enable you to implement your plan quickly in the case of an outbreak. An ounce of prevention can go a long way in reducing your chances for an inspection! Click here to access WHCA’s free program template for our members. 
  2. Appropriate respiratory protection is required for all healthcare personnel providing direct care of COVID patients. Employers should focus on fit testing first any employees who work in COVID areas of the building. DOSH requires that you perform fit testing BEFORE using or requiring any type of tight-fitting respirator. Reserve this type of PPE for employees who work in COVID settings. 
  3. Facilities that have recorded positive COVID cases and have employees who may have filed complaints with DOSH are most at risk for a surprise DOSH inspection. Also, if you work for an employer that has received an inspection at one of their other properties, it is best to assume that DOSH will be looking for similar practices in commonly-owned facilities. BE PREPARED!

Need help? WHCA has a comprehensive list of Fit Testing Resources on our website, under “Department of Labor and Industries.” Email Diana Hitchings for more information or to report problems with a DOSH inspection.
Register to attend a free Qualitative Fit Testing webinar with Employer Resources Northwest:
August 13, 2020 | 10 AM | Register here.
August 25, 2020 | 10 AM | Register here.
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.