COVID-19 UPDATE #97
November 12, 2020
LTC WAIVERS EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 7
On November 9, the Washington Legislature’s “four corners” approved an extension of long term care related COVID-19 waivers. Here is the letter affirming the extension until December 7, 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.
CDC UPDATES INTERIM INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL
The CDC updated the interim infection prevention and control recommendations for health care personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of the changes includes: ​
  • ​Different options for screening individuals (healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors) prior to their entry into a healthcare facility. 
  • Information on factors that could impact thermometer readings. 
  • Resources for evaluating and managing ventilation systems in healthcare facilities. 
  • A link to frequently asked questions about the use of personal protective equipment.
  • A guide for facilities to develop policies and procedures to ensure recommendations are applied.
CDC EXTENDS COVID VACCINE ENROLLMENT TO NOVEMBER 13
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended the CDC/Retail Pharmacy COVID vaccine enrollment to November 13. If your facility has not already done so, please register no later than November 13, 2020. 
NEW UPDATE: HHS NHSN REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
In an updated memo from HHS, the point-of-care testing results are now required as part of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system. The HHS memo identifies that “CMS-certified long term care facilities shall submit point-of-care COVID-19 testing data, including antigen testing data, to CDC’s NHSN."​ 

To report the point-of-care test results to NHSN, facilities will need to upgrade from SAMS Level-1 access to SAMS Level-3 access. While this new requirement goes into effect immediately, AHCA/NCAL has been told that enforcement discretion will be utilized until November 20 to allow time for centers to make the upgrade from Level-1 to Level-3.   

Centers must immediately take action to upgrade from Level-1 to Level-3 to meet this new requirement and avoid enforcement penalties. This process can take up to four weeks, so do not delay. Read more.
JOIN THE NATIONAL NURSING HOME COVID-19 ACTION NETWORK FOR BEST PRACTICES ON CORONAVIRUS CONTROL
The new National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network is recruiting nursing homes from across the country to participate in a virtual online peer community for improving COVID-19 infection control and better protecting residents and staff. In Washington, assisted living communities are also welcome to participate in the Seattle-based effort.

Under the Network, training centers across the country will run a 16-week curriculum with cohorts of up to 35 nursing homes. Although each training center starts with a standardized curriculum developed by IHI, it will be updated weekly to reflect new evidence and best practices – and it will be adapted to meet the needs of the local nursing home community. 

Nursing homes that complete the 16-session training will receive a $6,000 honorarium through the Provider Relief Fund, and staff will earn continuing education units (CEUs) for completing the training. To learn more, visit the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network.
CMS COVID-19 STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT CALLS | NOVEMBER
CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. Call recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page.
 
CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (twice a month on Tuesday at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)
Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to:
  • Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;
  • Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce;
  • Put Patients Over Paperwork; and
  • Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare

Next Office Hours:
Tuesday, November 17th at 2 - 3 PM PST
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: (833) 614-0820 | Access Passcode: 2491556
 
Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls 
CMS hosts calls for certain types of organizations on an intermittent basis to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.
 
Next Nursing Homes
Wednesday, November 18, at 1:30 - 2 PM PST
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: (833) 614-0820 | Access Passcode: 1335116
 
For the most current information, including call schedule changes, please click 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.