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03/24/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Moving up the Curve

Today's COVID-19 Report: Moving up the Curve

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Tuesday, March 24 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note the information related to a nursing facility focused webinar tomorrow, and an all-member call on Thursday. 

 

SNF COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Update - Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25, 1:00 p.m.

Join Stephanie DeWees as she describes best practices related to nursing facility (SNF, NF, RCF and Hospice Facilities) infection control practices. Learn about the CDC guidelines and how to apply those with the challenge of limited PPE.

Join the webinar here.

For best call quality, we encourage using your computer audio.

Dial in information:

iPhone one-tap: US: +13126266799,,614534744# 

Telephone Dial-in: US: +1 312-626-6799 
Webinar ID: 614 534 744

 

All-member Call - Thursday, March 26, 10:30 a.m.

LeadingAge Ohio is holding an all-member COVID-19 update call tomorrow, Thursday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m. Call in registration is as follows:

Join the call online here

For best call quality, we encourage using your computer audio.

Dial in information:

iPhone one-tap: US: +13126266799,,766248838# 

Telephone Dial-in: US: +1 312-626-6799 
Webinar ID: 766 248 838

 

Dr. Acton Update, Kudos to Nursing Home Staff

Dr. Acton shared on Monday that there are now 442 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio with an illness onset between 2/7 and 3/23. There are now 6 confirmed deaths. A total of 104 people are hospitalized. COVID-19 has been confirmed in 46 Ohio counties. 

Dr. Acton again voiced support for nursing home employees, stating:

"I want to talk about our nursing home colleagues. I'm hearing amazing stories from the front lines. Staff are working tirelessly to take care of residents. The folks in our nursing homes are doing a heroic job."

She noted the importance of social distancing, and that we are beginning to move up the pandemic curve and to expect dramatic increases in cases in the coming days. 

 

PPE

Dr. Acton stated that all PPE procured from federal stockpiles is going to local health departments. She recognized that the state has limited amounts, and is working to procure more as quickly as possible. 

Dr. Acton noted that Ohio businesses are shifting focus to work on the production of PPE. 

LeadingAge Ohio has been hearing that many providers have exhausted, or are dangerously close to exhausting their supply of PPE, particularly gowns and masks. LeadingAge Ohio is working to elevate this urgent issue to leadership at ODH, as we anticipate the surge of COVID-19 patients across the health system. Strategies being advanced include redistribution of PPE more equitably between providers, and centralizing the care of COVID-19 patients to further conserve PPE.

LeadingAge Ohio is also working with partners to connect members who have PPE needs with several potential suppliers.  In addition, please note that disinfectant alternatives are available through R-Water and Centerville, OH-based Extreme Microbial.

 

Director McElroy Letter to Senior Centers, Adult Day

In a letter to Ohio’s adult day and senior centers dated yesterday, Ohio Director of Aging Ursel McElroy encouraged providers to continue to demonstrate leadership and ensure individuals have access to resources—particularly meals— during closure.

The letter was accompanied by a checklist of key steps these organizations can take to continue to fulfill their mission and serve the seniors in their community.

 

Temporary Pandemic Child Care Begins Thursday 3/26

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that beginning Thursday, March 26, all operating child care centers in Ohio must do so under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license. The Governor announced the closure of all child care in Ohio except for those operating Temporary Pandemic Child Care licenses. 

Placement of children must first be offered to kids with parents who are healthcare workers, first responders, hospital and clinic staff, pharmacy staff, children service workers, adult protection workers, developmental disability aides, mental health counselors, psychiatrists psychologists, nursing home workers, elder care workers, home health care workers, and dentists. 

A full list of child care centers operating under the special license can be found online. Children in the pandemic childcare centers will be limited to 6 per classroom, and efforts will be made to group children from a single employer, further reducing the risk of community spread of the novel coronavirus. 

 

CMS Suspends Survey Activities

In a memo released yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would be suspending all standard surveys, but would continue with complaint surveys at an immediate jeopardy (IJ) level. Surveys suspended include standard surveys for long term care facilities (nursing homes), hospitals, home health agencies (HHAs), intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs), and hospices. The memo clarified that the suspension includes the life safety code and Emergency Preparedness elements of those standard surveys, as well as revisits that are not associated with IJ.

Furthermore, surveyors will be directed to focus on infection control during any surveys it does complete. The full memo is available on the CMS Policy & Memos website.

 

BELTSS Suspends Renewals

Following a special BELTSS Board meeting on March 23, BELTSS released the following information:

"The Board has determined to WAIVE the CE requirement for 4-1-20 and 7-1-20 renewals.  LNHAs must still go online and complete the application and make the renewal payment prior to their renewal deadline.

Additionally, LNHAs may use unlimited distance learning/self-study CEs for renewals up until 12-31-20. The online application and payment are due before the renewal deadline as usual.  Courses must also be NAB or BELTSS approved to be applied to the renewal.

AIT programs may continue as scheduled based on the preceptor's and the AIT's willingness to proceed.  We would encourage preceptors to allow their AITs to complete their hours, as this is a time of unprecedented learning opportunities.  Anyone who feels unable to continue the AIT at this time may have an extension of up to 6 months to complete the AIT hours without submitting a formal request to the Board.  If you need more time to complete your AIT, please email Jennifer Cunningham at jcunningham@age.ohio.gov and let her know the date you suspended your AIT and the date you resumed it or plan to resume it.

Those in Direct College internships may complete up to 100 hours of their university-approved internship online as directed by their NAB-accredited university program.  Those with more than 100 hours to complete may also work with their field placement supervisor to complete hours in a local facility if able to arrange.

Any questions or concerns may be directed to the BELTSS office at (614) 466-5114 or dveley@age.ohio.gov."   

 

EVV Requirements Continue, Don’t Affect Claims

LeadingAge Ohio reached out to the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) related to home health agencies needing to utilize the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Home health providers have voiced concerns with the need to shift homecare staff to meet patient need and some of their staff may not be as familiar with the EVV system.  Other concerns are focused around infection control and the need for the individuals receiving services to sign in on their agency devices.

The response from the ODM representative was, “at this time ODM has not waived the EVV requirements.  However, no claims are currently being denied for EVV related edits.”

LeadingAge Ohio will continue to monitor the EVV process related to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide updates as they are received. If you have any question regarding EVV as it relates to COVID-19, please contact Anne Shelley at ashelley@leadingageohio.org.

 

Palmetto Extends Home Health, Hospice Cost Report Filing Deadline

Palmetto has announced it will be extending the deadline for cost reports for fiscal years ending on October 31, 2019 and November 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

The filing deadline for FYE December 31, 2019 is now July 31, 2020. 

This extension applies to all Part A, home health and hospice providers.

 

State Hiring Freeze

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that with commercial activity slowing down due to state policies aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, state revenues will go down dramatically. 

DeWine announced several new measures, effective yesterday, March 23:

  • An immediate hiring freeze in state government—except those involved directly in COVID-19;
  • A continuing freeze in state travel;
  • A freeze on new contract services;
  • A meeting with all members of the cabinet at 4:00 p.m. yesterday to instruct each member to look at cuts they can make in budget and spending, up to 20% and excluding those involved with COVID-19; and
  • A pull back on spending requests for a variety of projects that need legislative spending authority. 

The Governor reiterated his awareness of the hardship the closures and cut backs are having on Ohio workers and businesses. 

 

Stay at Home Order in Effect

As of last night at 11:59 p.m., Ohio is officially under a Stay at Home order. 

As reported yesterday, the Administration has provided a Stay At Home FAQ to provide guidance. The 'Stay at Home' order will not affect providers of long-term care, post-acute care, or senior housing, which fall under essential Human Services Operations. 

In addition, Governor DeWine emphasized that he is not asking for a ‘policing’ of this policy. The listing of businesses considered essential is broad, including: transportation, carry-out/delivery services, mail, hardware and supply stores and critical trades, to name a few.  

 

Questions

Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org.

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.