Issue: March 25, 2020

Published on March 25, 2020

Articles in this issue:

AHCA: COVID-19 Update #20 - CMS Call TODAY at 4:30 Eastern

Author: Lisa Volk and Jackie Pappalardi* Published in Clinical & Quality

In This COVID-19 Update: 

CMS CALL TODAY: COVID-19 with Nursing Homes 

Please join the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a call on COVID-19 with Nursing Homes today at 4:30 PM EST. CMS leadership will provide updates on the agency’s latest guidance. There will be audience Q&A and an opportunity for you to share best practices with your peers. The call will be recorded if you are unable to join.   

Wednesday, March 25th 
4:30 – 5:00 PM EST 

Attendee Dial-In: (877) 251-0301 Conference ID: 7983218 
This call will be recorded.  

CDC Releases COVID-19 Guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for retirement and independent living communities, including assisted living communities that do not provide medical services. AHCA/NCAL has learned that the CDC will be releasing guidance for assisted living communities in the coming days. Until that guidance is published, we strongly recommend that members follow AHCA/NCAL’s previously issued recommendations on visitors, communal dining and events.  

The CDC guidance for retirement communities and independent living is similar to AHCA/NCAL’s guidance in that they suggest canceling all public or non-essential group activities and events, cleaning and disinfecting all areas, screening visitors when appropriate and possible and posting information related to COVID-19.

In recognizing the home-like environment of these residences, the guidance also highlights asking residents to self-monitor , asking residents to ensure they have needed medications, etc. The guidance also recommends that providers work with the local department of health if a positive case of COVID-19 were to be found in the building. It is key to note that the guidance covers retirement communities, assisted living communities that are a less medical model, and CCRCs. Again, we recommend that members utilize AHCA/NCAL’s more robust guidance as well.  

For additional questions, please email COVID19@ahca.org and visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus for more information and resources. 

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

Lisa Volk, RN, B.P.S., LNHA
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x15

Jackie Pappalardi, RN, BSN
Executive Director
518-462-4800 x16

AHCA: COVID-19 Update #19 - Today: CDC Call on PPE Strategies

Author: Stephen Hanse and Jackie Papalardi* Published in Clinical & Quality

In this issue: 
•    CDC Call on PPE Strategies Today, March 25, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
•    AL Hospital Admissions Guidance 
•    HUD FAQ 
•    Template Letter for your MA Plan and/or ACO 
•    Possible Extension of Medicare Cost Reports Due Date  
•    See an update on 1135 Waiver approvals 

CDC Call on PPE Strategies

CDC will host a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call that will focus on PPE optimization strategies. The call will take place today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). Presenters will discuss strategies for healthcare facilities to optimize PPE supplies such as eye protection, isolation gowns, facemasks, and N95 respirators. Advanced registration is not required. Due to the high demand, we encourage participants to also consider viewing the call on Facebook Live . If you are unable to attend, the call will be available for viewing on COCA’s Facebook page a few hours after the live event ends. If you have questions or would like to learn more about the COCA Call, email coca@cdc.gov.

In addition, we have been notified that today’s COCA call, Underlying Medical Conditions and People at Higher Risk for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is postponed to March 27, 2020.  

AL Hospital Admissions Guidance 

AHCA/NCAL has updated our interim guidance regarding accepting hospital discharges during COVID-19 pandemic to include assisted living communities. It is important to note that the decision-making and guidance will likely change as the prevalence of COVID-19 varies in communities and hospital surge increases in the community.

COVID-19 HUD Update 

The Office of Healthcare Programs for the Federal Housing Administration has put together a questions and answers document  for external stakeholders around COVID-19. This document addresses questions such as whether the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Healthcare Programs is cancelling or postponing inspections or other site visits in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case at a HUD-insured facility and what steps Owners and Operators should take to protect residents, staff, and the community. HUD knows long term care providers are looking for supplemental Q&As, and they are working on it daily.   

Template Letter to Health Plans and Accountable Care Organizations Requesting Relief 

As AHCA previously reported, health plans have announced, and CMS is allowing Medicare Advantage plans flexibilities  to offer, relief to patients and providers specific to COVID-19-related services. However, due to the extraordinary efforts SNF providers are taking to care for all residents, AHCA is providing a template letter to ask Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) for further relief from administrative burdens including all prior authorizations, all pre- and post-payment reviews, excessive documentation requests, and payment delays.  

Similarly, AHCA is providing a template letter to use with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to request a reduction in documentation requests, loosening of utilization management strategies and effective communication and partnership on COVID-19 patients.  To use the letters, download the document(s) and include the MCO’s or ACO’s name and SNF’s contact information where indicated, and send the letter to the provider or contract representative at the MCO or ACO. 

Possible Extension of Medicare Cost Report Due Date 

With the considerable burden posed by COVID-19, SNFs have been exploring as many possible ways to reduce administrative burden and free up staff.  A key question has been whether CMS would extend cost report due dates.  Today, at least one Local Administrative Contractor (MAC) posted information indicating CMS has the authority to extend cost reporting due dates (42 CFR § 413.24 (f) (2) (ii)).   

Specifically, the MAC noted that CMS will delay the filing deadline of Fiscal Year End (FYE) December 31, 2019 cost reports due at the end of May due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  
  
The filing deadline for the following cost reports are now June 30, 2020: 

The filing deadline for FYE December 31, 2019 is now July 31, 2020.  
Suggested Action Steps: 

  1. Check your MAC Provider Information webpage for similar information; or 
  2. If none is posted, contact your MAC and ask about the dates, above.  MAC often do not follow the same procedures and post differing information.   

View a map of MAC coverage by states.  

Email COVID19@ahca.org for additional questions, or visit ahcancal.org/coronavirus for more information.

DOH Grants Blanket Extension to Complete ATI Education

Author: Nancy Leveille and Lisa Volk* Published in Clinical & Quality

NYSHFA received an email this morning from Laura Rosenthal, Bureau Director, Residential Health Care Reimbursement, Division of Finance and Rate Setting, NYSDOH, noting that they are providing a blanket extension to all SNF, who have received Advanced Training Initiative (ATI) funds, to complete their training initiatives by December 31, 2020. Accordingly, each SNF does not need to request an individual waiver. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Leveille or Lisa Volk.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

Lisa Volk, RN, B.P.S., LNHA
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x15

Nancy Leveille, RN, MS
Director, Special Projects and Educational Development
518-462-4800 x20