Today's COVID-19 Report: Friday, April 3. 2020
Friday, April 3, 2020
Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, April 3 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
State sends $8.8 million in meal assistance for older Ohioans
The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) announced yesterday that it will distribute $8.8 million across the state to meet the growing demand for meal assistance by older Ohioans impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
ODA distributed the funds, provided through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to support meals programming for older Ohioans at highest risk for malnutrition and hunger.
Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel J. McElroy added, “Thanks to these dollars, our AAAs will be able to address waiting lists, expand the number of people receiving home-delivered meals, reach those who previously participated in congregate meals, and provide additional meals per day or per week.”
AAAs Can Help Affordable Housing Providers
The Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) has asked that affordable housing providers with needs should reach out to the state's 12 AAAs. The funds referenced above give the AAAs more flexibility due to the disaster designation. Affordable housing providers with residents who may not have previously qualified as homebound are encouraged to reach out to their AAA for meal assistance.
Telephonic Supervision for PASSPORT, ECL is Permitted
LeadingAge Ohio reached out to the Ohio Departments of Medicaid and Aging regarding guidance related to supervisory visits under the PASSPORT program. The following response was provided, and applies to the PASSPORT program, as well as the Ohio Home Care Waiver and MyCare waiver services:
The State will permit providers to perform supervisory visit(s) telephonically if a supervisory visit is required by the waiver service.
- The modified supervisory schedule must be documented in the individual’s service plan by the provider’s nurse supervisor.
- The provider shall notify the case manager if they elect to perform the supervisory visit telephonically.
Free Training to On-board Nurse Aides
Among the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) blanket waivers granted on Monday night was a waiver of most of the training and certification requirements for nurse aides. The waiver did not include CFR (1)(d)(i), which requires nursing homes to ensure that nurse aides are competent to perform the tasks they are assigned.
Subsequently, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) confirmed that they interpret this waiver to extend to Ohio’s nurse aide training requirements, which would remove a primary hurdle to onboarding frontline staff in anticipation of the surge. To help nursing homes working to fast-track competency training, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) has made available a free eight-hour nurse aide training course.
LeadingAge Ohio encourages members to begin building redundancy into their staffing plans in anticipation of the surge. Some members are looking first to existing staff, like administrative staff or housekeeping, as possible candidates for nurse aide cross-training. Questions related to the nurse aide waiver may be directed to the COVID19 mailbox at email@example.com.
LeadingAge Advocates for Affordable Housing
Yesterday, LeadingAge submitted a letter to the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, United States Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities regarding affordable housing concerns.
The letter included the following recommendations:
Identifying Affordable Housing Stakeholders as Essential
The nation has several thousand HUD-assisted Section 202 Housing for the Elderly communities. The staff employed by these non-profit housing providers are critical to the health and economic wellbeing of affordable housing residents and to the broader community. As states, counties, and cities take action to protect citizens while ensuring critical functions continue, we urge you to identify staff working in and supporting HUD-assisted senior housing as an essential workforce.
In determining lists of essential business and workers, we recommend utilizing the advisory list developed by the Department of Homeland Security on March 28, 2020, for critical infrastructure workers. The categories related to residential/shelter facilities and services include service coordinators who support food and social services access for elderly populations; property managers responsible for leasing, operations, and services on-site; and maintenance technicians and cleaning staff who support service calls for residents. A complete list is available in the DHS memo here.
Including HUD-Assisted Senior Housing Communities in Response Efforts
About 400,000 older adults call these communities home. Nationally, their average annual household income is less than $14,000 a year, and many rely on community- and home-based services to meet daily needs. Medically, HUD-assisted seniors have more chronic conditions than non-HUD-assisted and equally poor seniors who live in the same neighborhoods, which puts them at a higher risk for flu-like viruses like COVID-19.
We urge you to use this HUD database of HUD Section 202 communities when thinking about getting masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies to in-need organizations in your states, counties, and cities. We also know that these communities are generally in need of food, meals, internet, and any other supports and services your governments may be able to provide them. We hope this database helps you prioritize low-income older adults in your crisis response.
Stay at Home Order Extended
Governor DeWine announced yesterday that Ohio’s Stay at Home order has been extended until 11:59 PM on May 1. The order will be re-assessed as the situation progresses.
Updates to the new order include: the creation of a dispute resolution process to address companies that believe the state’s business closure order has been implemented inequitably; a requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at once; a mandate that wedding receptions be limited to no more than 10 people; and other changes.
Ohio Statistics: 2,902 Cases, 81 Deaths
As of yesterday, the Ohio Department of Health confirmed there were 2,902 confirmed cases, 260 ICU admissions, 802 hospitalizations, and 81 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard.
Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit the LeadingAge Ohio COVID19 Hub for template communications and other resources. Finally, join the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Working Group facebook group to pose questions to peers and share best practices