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Today's COVID-19 Report: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Here are the latest need-to-know updates for Tuesday, May 5 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

ODH Testing Guidance Updated

As previously reported on April 30, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) updated its COVID-19 testing guidance. ODH shared the official guidance, as well as a descriptive infographic on the new testing tiers. This guidance applies to all COVID-19 testing in the State of Ohio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established priority groups for testing. Ohio has modified these groups to meet the specific needs in testing availability and evolving knowledge of COVID-19. With the emergence of greater testing ability, the state focus shifted to emphasize testing of patients who are most severely ill, patients who are moderately ill with a high risk of complications — such as those who are elderly and those with serious medical issues — and individuals who are critical to providing care and service to those who are ill.

Expanded test availability will allow individuals in lower risk tiers to be tested, as well as full testing of residents and staff in affected facilities. LeadingAge Ohio has continued to advocate for this needed change and the expansion of testing priority to long-term services and supports since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Telehealth Rule Summary and Billing Guidance

LeadingAge Ohio reached out to the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) seeking clarification on the telehealth rule summary and billing guidance for ODM telehealth services for home health and hospice that were sent to all providers via EIDC last week. ODM received clarification from CMS stating as long as payment methodology wasn’t changing, ODM did not need to request an 1135 waiver for home health and hospice services provided via telehealth.

ODM clarified home health and hospice providers can begin billing telehealth for dates of service on or after March 9. If you have any questions regarding billing Medicaid telehealth services for home health or hospice, please contact Anne Shelley at

NHSN Calls - Call Today, Q&A from Yesterday

As reported previously in the LeadingAge Ohio COVID-19 Daily Report, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) included new reporting requirements beginning May 8 in its interim final rule for nursing facilities. The reporting will gather information on suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infections among residents and staff; total COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff; PPE and hand hygiene supplies in the facility; ventilator capacity and supply; resident beds and census; access to COVID-19 testing in the facility; and staffing shortages.

In order to report information, providers will need to access the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), administered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Yesterday, NHSN hosted a call to provide an overview of the data reporting mechanism and requirements. In an effort to assist nursing homes, LeadingAge Ohio has collected the answers provided from NHSN during the COVID-19 Module Enrollment Guidance for LTFs conducted on May 4 and provided them in a Q&A document. 

Below is the call in information for today’s repeat of yesterday's NHSN call.

Topic: COVID-19 Module Overview for Long-term Care Facilities

When: May 5, 2020
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST

Join the webinar online here.

Password: 339263

Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +16692545252,,1602548824#,,#,339263#  

Or Telephone:
US: +1 669 254 5252  

Webinar ID: 160 254 8824
Password: 339263

Please note that links are available only during the date and time of the event.

Updated CDC Return to Work Criteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated Return to Work Criteria last week. 

When using a symptom-based strategy for determining when healthcare personnel can safely return to work after recovering from COVID-19, the new guidance indicates that an individual be excluded from work 10 days since the initial onset of symptoms (or first positive test for those who never developed symptoms). The guidance for determining when to discontinue transmission-based precautions in patients/residents has also been updated to reflect the same timelines. 

Request to HHS for Provider Relief Fund Distributions

Over the weekend, LeadingAge sent a second letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting funds for aging services providers from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund. 

The letter requests $53.4 billion for providers across the continuum, both those that have already received funds and those to whom HHS committed to distributing funds, including Medicaid providers.This letter follows LeadingAge's first request for $34.6 billion on April 4 and April 20 letter seeking clarification of a number of issues and questions regarding the fund and aging services providers. 

As a reminder, HHS information about the fund is here and LeadingAge’s FAQs document is here.

Action Alert: Opportunity for Senior Housing Relief 

Yesterday, LeadingAge sent an action alert to Congress requesting $1.2 billion in senior housing relief, including funds for services, PPE, cleaning, new service coordinators, and building-wide WiFi.

LeadingAge has asked for providers to join in reaching out to lawmakers. Taking action is easy and quick – click here to reach lawmakers.

HUD/CDC Webinar on Cleaning and Disinfecting

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and CDC jointly hosted a webinar for limiting the spread of the virus in multifamily housing.

A recording will be issued today and may be helpful for housing site and maintenance staff continuing disinfection protocols. LeadingAge provided summary of the webinar; it is available here.

Existing Service Coordinator Funds

After several months of delays, HUD Section 202 housing providers have reported that funds for their existing (CY20) service coordinator grants for HUD Section 202 housing have started to hit accounts.

These are separate from the new service coordinator funds from the CARES Act. If members are still seeing delays, please let LeadingAge know by emailing Linda Couch at

Ohio Statistics: 20,969 Cases, 1,135 Deaths

There are 20,969 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,135 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,956 people have been hospitalized, including 1,123 admissions to intensive care units. 

In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


Please send all questions to 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.