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04/15/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Wednesday, April 15 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

All-member Call - Tomorrow, Thursday, April 16, 10:30 a.m.

LeadingAge Ohio is holding an all-member COVID-19 update call tomorrow, Thursday, April 16 at 10:30 a.m. On the call, LeadingAge Ohio staff will cover the recently-released pre-surge planning toolkit, the status of Ohio’s 1135 and Appendix K waivers, and the latest on Ohio’s plan to post a list of Ohio facilities with positive COVID-19 cases. We’ll also hear best practices from LeadingAge Ohio members in preparing for their first COVID-19 case and in communicating with families. 

Call in registration is as follows:

For best call quality, we encourage using your computer audio. This also allows callers to easily send questions to the speakers via the 'chat' function. Questions can also be sent to the COVID19@leadingageohio.org email address.

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

Dial in information:

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +13126266799,,97825504200#

Or Telephone:

US: +1 312 626 6799 

Webinar ID: 978 2550 4200

Pre-surge Planning Toolkit Released, All-Provider Call with Administration on Friday

This morning, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) distributed its Pre-surge Planning Toolkit to all long-term services and supports providers via the EIDC system. The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has confirmed that it will launch training later this week.

Additionally, the Departments of Health, Medicaid and Aging are jointly hosting an all-provider call on the toolkit this Friday, April 17 from 3:30 to 5:00 pm. LeadingAge Ohio is joining the Ohio Health Care Association, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice and the Ohio Provider Resource Association to craft the call’s agenda from member questions. Call-in information will be provided. 

Please direct all questions on the Pre-surge Planning Toolkit to Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, at swallace@leadingageohio.org by COB Thursday, April 16.

Director's Order on Case Reporting Signed, In Effect Immediately

As reported on Monday, Governor DeWine and Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton announced this week that nursing homes with positive or probably cases of COVID-19 must notify residents or staff within 24 hours. 

LeadingAge Ohio received a copy of the signed Director's order, which goes into effect immediately and remains in effect until declared State of Emergency has ended. LeadingAge Ohio continues to work with the Administration to communicate provider questions and concerns with the order. 

ODA Updates PASSPORT FAQs

The Ohio Department of Aging sent out an updated Frequently Asked Questions document on the PASSPORT program and other essential ODA-administered programs. The only update included from the previous version is that providers may now conduct the initial assessments by phone. If you have waiver-related questions you would like elevated to the Department, email them to COVID19@leadingageohio.org. If they are not included in ODA’s FAQs, we will include those answers in future editions of the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19  Q&A document.

State Applies for 1135 Waivers

Governor DeWine announced yesterday that his administration is submitting its first waiver applications to the federal government-- one 1135 waiver for the Medicaid program and one Appendix K request for Ohio’s home- and community-based waivers. If approved, these waivers would provide the needed flexibility to address this crisis. This announcement comes after LeadingAge Ohio joined the Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) to proactively apply for 1135 waivers weeks ago.

These waivers will allow Ohio to:

  • Bolster the use of telehealth and other technology for health assessments and care planning;
  • Waive signature requirements for a variety of providers to ensure safe distancing without compromising access to care;
  • Ease obstacles to access nursing home care;
  • Allow services to be provided at alternative locations; and
  • Remove staffing-level requirements to give providers more flexibility.

"Removing restrictions like these during this pandemic will allow health care workers to focus on meeting the needs of Ohioans," said Governor DeWine. 

LeadingAge Q&A for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Updated

LeadingAge has updated its Q&A document for the Familes First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The bill created both a new requirement for paid sick leave for workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis and a new requirement for paid leave under the FMLA (Family Medical and Leave Act). The new provisions went into effect April 1 and last until December 31, 2020.  

The updated document includes information about requirements set out in the Temporary Final Regulations issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL) on April 1. Also included is information about record keeping requirements - regardless of whether you accept or reject a request for leave.

Consult Legal Counsel Before Signing Terms and Conditions from Medicare Cash Influx

Last week, providers in Ohio who billed Medicare FFS in 2019 started receiving new payments as a result of the providers relief fund in the CARES act passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

So far, feedback has been mostly positive about the payments from the Health and Human Services (HHA) Provider Relief Fund. Some eligible LeadingAge members have not received a payment yet or are questioning the amount. HHS has set up an inbox for questions/complaints/feedback on the program (HOSPITALCOVID@hhs.gov). Members who write to the inbox and are willing to share the reply they receive are encouraged to send responses to Ruth Katz at rkatz@leadingage.org to help LeadingAge understand how responses are being handled. 

Providers must recognize that relief comes with terms and conditions, and LeadingAge has suggested that providers should hold off on signing the terms and conditions until legal counsel has had the opportunity to review. Despite being framed as “no strings attached,” by CMS Administrator Seema Verma, payment from this fund is conditioned on the provider accepting the terms and conditions.

LeadingAge is awaiting guidance from its legal counsel, and encourages members to delay accepting funds until this guidance is available. Providers may also consult their own counsel.

Three Important Affordable Housing Updates

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) added eight pages of guidance to their nearly 40-page multifamily housing FAQs, including how to handle vacancies and evictions. LeadingAge has provided a summary of these recent additions to the FAQs and a listing of LeadingAge’s current HUD requests related to COVID-19. 

HUD issued three mortgagee letters with forbearance options for all FHA-approved MFH mortgages, and underwriting adjustments for Sections 223(f) and 232 Healthcare facilities. LeadingAge has summarized the flexibilities. 

Finally, Rural Development issued an updated FAQ covering tenant income changes, waitlist management, and more.

State Orders Local Health Departments to Keep Contact Info for COVID+ Individuals

In an effort to protect first responders and ensure consistency across the state, Dr. Amy Acton announced yesterday that a new order has been issued that requires local health departments to provide to their jurisdictions' dispatch agency or agencies the names and addresses of COVID-19-positive individuals.

Dispatch agencies are required to keep this information confidential. By knowing in advance if they will be interacting with someone who has tested positive, Dr. Acton stated that first responders will be better prepared when they arrive at a scene with appropriate protective gear. 

Ohio Statistics: 7,280 Cases, 324 Deaths

As of yesterday, there were 7,280 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 324 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 2,156 people have been hospitalized, including 654 admissions to intensive care units. 

In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

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.