COVID-19 UPDATE #86
October 1, 2020
LTC WAIVERS EXTENDED UNTIL NOVEMBER 9
On October 1, the Washington Legislature’s “four corners” approved an extension of LTC-related COVID-19 waivers. Here is the letter affirming the extension until November 9, 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. 
 
This includes but is not limited to the waivers related to the NAR certification, resident rights, training, certification, and fingerprint-based background checks. For a complete listing of waivers, 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 by the Governor’s office. Expiration dates are updated for your ease of review.
 
If you have questions or need additional information regarding waivers, please email Paul Raines or call him at (800) 562-6170, extension 108.
HHS ANNOUNCES $20 BILLION IN NEW PHASE 3 PROVIDER FUNDING
Today, HHS announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. This funding will be available to assisted living and skilled nursing providers. According to HHS, it is “designed to balance an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.”
 
Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, October 5, 2020.

HHS has already issued over $100 billion in relief funding to providers through prior distributions. Still, HHS recognizes that many providers continue to struggle financially from COVID-19’s impact. For eligible providers, the new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19. Additional information can be found here.
 
Eligibility
HHS is making a large number of providers eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding, including:
  • Providers who previously received, rejected, or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Providers that have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.
  • Behavioral Health providers, including those that previously received funding, and new providers.
  • Healthcare providers that began practicing January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities and behavioral health providers.
 
Payment Methodology – Apply Early
All eligible providers will be considered for payment. All provider submissions will be reviewed to confirm they have received a Provider Relief Fund payment equal to approximately 2% of patient care revenue from prior general distributions. Applicants that have not yet received Relief Fund payments of 2% of patient revenue will receive a payment that, when combined with prior payments (if any), equals 2% of patient care revenue.

With the remaining balance of the $20 billion budget, HRSA will then calculate an equitable add-on payment that considers the following:
  • A provider’s change in operating revenues from patient care
  • A provider’s change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus
  • Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions

All payment recipients will be required to attest to receiving the Phase 3 General Distribution payment and accept the associated Terms and Conditions.

Additional information on this program is expected to be issued next week. As always, we will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.
DEAR ADMINISTRATOR LETTER HIGHLIGHTS VARIANCE IN CMS AND WASHINGTON STATE GUIDANCE ON VISITATION IN SNFs
In a Dear Administrator letter dated September 29, 2020, the Department of Social and Health Services provides information to skilled nursing providers about visitation. The letter explains that guidance in the recent CMS member QSO 20-39 differed from guidance provided by Washington State. DSHS staff is working with CMS, associations, and other stakeholders to determine what may need to be revised in the Washington State plan and to develop clear direction to nursing homes on visitation. DSHS will keep providers informed of any developments on this issue.
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.