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04/10/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Friday, April 10, 2020

Friday, April 10, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Friday, April 10 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

$30B in Emergency Funds coming from CARES Act 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to begin the release of $30B of the emergency funds for providers included in the CARES Act starting today. The exact timing as to the distribution is not known at this point. Some entities have already received electronic payments, and it is likely providers will begin seeing them soon. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided a release today on the emergency funds, as well as a write up of the CARES Act and who qualifies.

All facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019 are eligible for this initial release of funds. Payments to practices that are part of larger medical groups will be sent to the group's central billing office.

ODA Pre-surge Planning Toolkit and Training

On a call today with providers and aging services groups, Director of Aging Ursel McElroy stated that the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) will begin providing pre-surge trainings beginning tomorrow, Saturday, April 11, as well as providing a pre-surge planning toolkit for providers. As discussed in the April 9 LeadingAge Ohio all-member call, the trainings will provide an overview of a robust toolkit and guidelines that have been collaboratively developed by the Ohio Departments of Aging, Health and Medicaid.

The toolkit includes recommended practices and contingency plans that will help Ohio LTSS providers standardize the way we respond to the needs of older and disabled Ohioans during the COVID-19 crisis. While all trainings will include the necessary information needed, they are planning to designate trainings as a facility focus, as well as home-and community-based focus, since each perspective will generate different questions.

Director McElroy noted that the first training will be held on Saturday, April 11, and that information will be placed on the ODA coronavirus website later today in regards to the training and the toolkit. 

FEMA Public Assistance Program for COVID-19 Expenses

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering financial assistance to state, territorial, tribal, and local government entities and certain private not-for-profit organizations, including 501(c)(3) healthcare and senior living organizations. FEMA has begun awarding funding to state emergency management agencies under the Public Assistance Program for eligible response activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the COVID-19 response, FEMA has simplified the Public Assistance Program application and funding process to allow state and local officials to receive eligible funding more quickly. FEMA will cover 75% of eligible expenses, with applicants covering the other 25%.

Even though the process has been simplified, applying for and getting awarded FEMA funds is a multi-step process.  Eligible entities can apply for FEMA Public Assistance by completing a Request for Public Assistance through FEMA's web-based grants portal. First time applicants must contact the Ohio state emergency management agency to get access to the portal.

CDC Cloth Mask Guidance

On April 9, the CDC released guidance on the use and making of cloth face coverings. The guidance includes how to ensure proper fit, when to wear, and how to launder. Instruction is also provided on how to make the face coverings through a sewn or no sew technique. 

Decontamination Methods for Respirators

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided information on Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators. The three methods researched include ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and moist heat.

The CDC recommends providing enough PPE to a healthcare worker so that reuse occurs no less than every 72 hours to mitigate transfer of the virus. If the supply is not sufficient enough to implement this mitigation strategy, then decontamination can be considered.

A reminder that Columbus-based company Battelle has been granted full clearance from the FDA to sterilize protective masks worn by those treating coronavirus victims, and that for the first two weeks of this process, the sterilization will be provided at no cost to healthcare providers.

Critical Infrastructure Workers Exposure Guidance

The CDC released new guidance for critical infrastructure workers following exposure which allows workers to continue to work, provided the person remains asymptomatic. Additional precautions such as screening, monitoring, social distancing, wearing a mask, and cleaning practices are included in the guidance.

Continuous Home Care not to be used for Respite Care

Palmetto GBA provided guidance that if a hospice provider cannot find a nursing facility bed to place a patient whose family/caregiver is desiring a respite level of care, then continuous home care (CHC) level of care cannot be used in place of respite. If the patient’s symptoms do not support the need for CHC, then routine care should be billed.

ODM Survey Due by COB Today, Friday, April 10

Reported twice yesterday, LeadingAge Ohio received communication from the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) regarding an urgent survey request for all Medicaid-certified nursing facilities that evaluates the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to date on Ohio’s Medicaid-certified nursing homes. The survey is due by close of business tomorrow, Friday, April 10. LeadingAge Ohio is sharing the survey link with all members here, but the subject of the email from ODH will read "SURVEY: Nursing Facility COVID-19 Cost Impacts  *PLEASE COMPLETE TODAY* “.

Both ODM and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) stated that while the provider number field is not mandatory, all providers are being urged to provide their NPI. 

ODM is open to allowing multi-site providers to respond with an Excel spreadsheet for the multiple facilities of a single entity. An organization responding in this way should send its spreadsheet to Elizabeth.Effah@medicaid.ohio.gov. The survey is only intended for NF providers, not assisted living or other lines of service. Please complete only one survey per facility. As stated before, the surveys are due by COB today, Friday, April 10. 

Otterbein SeniorLife has created a handy spreadsheet for multi-site organizations to capture the answers so it is easier to complete the online survey. 

Questions

Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Working Group facebook group to pose questions to peers and share best practices.

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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.