Issue: April 4, 2020

Published on April 4, 2020

Articles in this issue:

NYSDOH COVID-19 Guidance on Suspension of Health Plan Utilization Review Requirements

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is providing the attached Guidance to address health care provider responsibilities in accordance with the health insurance industry’s suspension of certain utilization review requirements pursuant to the Department of Financial Services Circular Letter No. 8 (2020), and other voluntary reductions and eliminations in authorization requirements. Utilization review is used to determine if a requested health care service is medically necessary. This guidance is provided due to the state disaster emergency declared by Executive Order No. 202 and shall remain in effect until subsequent notice from NYSDOH, which will be provided prior to, or upon, the expiration of such state disaster emergency.

In Response to COVID-19, CMS Has Released 1135 Waivers to Address an Adequate Supply of Workforce Staff and Facilities

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

NYSDOH has released the attached Health Advisory outlining temporary waivers released by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The waivers include Training and Certification of Nurse Aides to assist with potential staffing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Advisory also lists the following regulations waived in response to COVID-19: Required retraining; Regular in-service education; 3-Day Prior Hospitalization Reporting Minimum Data Set Staffing Data Submission; Pre-Admission Screening and Annual Resident Review (PASRR); Resident Groups (participate in-person in resident groups); Physician Visits in Skilled Nursing Facilities/Nursing Facilities.

Announcement: NYSHFA will be hosting an audio conference call on Tuesday April 7, 2020 at 2:00pm to review the Training and Certification of Nurse Aides waiver. Recommendations and practical strategies for implementation at your facility will be shared including review of competency and supervision. Pamela Truscott, MSN, RN, Senior Manager, Clinical and Regulatory Services at American Health Care Association will be joining us on this call to provide instructions on accessing the 1 hour Paid Feeding Assistant program and the 8 hour online Temporary Nurse Aide training program. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. The call in information for the Tuesday April 7th audio call is 800-220-9875, Code 14227658 #. We will be sending you an information packet prior to the conference call.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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

Guidance for Resident and Family Communication in Adult Care Facilities (ACFs) and Nursing Homes (NHs)

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

The Department strongly encourages nursing homes and assisted living/adult care facilities to implement a communication protocol for both residents and their families, loved ones, and guardians unable to visit the resident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several best practices to consider when creating a communication protocol are included in the attached Advisory.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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

Alert Issued from NYSDOH, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, NYS Intelligence Center Regarding Cyber Threat

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

Please read asap regarding serious cyber threat: Cyber incident is considered a reportable “cybersecurity incident” under the New York State Department of Health guideline, if it affects patient care, or represents a serious threat to patient safety, including intrusions whose intent appears to be breach or theft of protected health records. Please immediately share the attached bulletin with your facility leaders and information systems staff.  If your information technology (IT) department suspects a compromise, please contact your local law enforcement and also contact your NYSDOH regional office, per the attached NYSDOH poster, to report the compromise.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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

Revisions to IHANS Notification for Nursing Homes, Adult Care Facilities, Hospice Providers and Home Care Agencies

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

Please note the revision to the IHANS Notification for Nursing Homes, Adult Care Facilities, Hospice Providers and Home Care Agencies. NYSDOH stated that it is imperative that all providers assign at least two individuals capable of meeting the daily deadline and are available to answer any calls from the Department of Health for each of the Health Commerce System roles noted in the attached notification.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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

COVID-19 Update #32: Revised Resources on Cohorting and When COVID-19 Gets In

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

In This COVID-19 Update:

Updated: When COVID-19 Gets into Your LTC Facility (Assume It's Already There)

 AHCA/NCAL has updated this resource as COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across the country and is increasingly impacting nursing homes and assisted living communities. Due to the rapid progression of this virus, centers should assume it is already in their surrounding community and may be in their facility. This resource outlines four action steps. 

Updated: Cohorting Residents During COVID-19 

AHCA/NCAL has updated this cohorting consideration guide, as CMS released new guidance on April 2 related to this topic. 

All nursing homes and assisted living communities should make plans for cohorting residents now, even before COVID-19 enters the building per CMS guidance. Cohorting is imperative to help control the spread of the virus. If possible, nursing homes and assisted living communities should also begin preparing wings, units or floors as “isolation units”. Isolation unit should be a separate, well-ventilated area, ideally with a separate entrance. 

COVID-19 Update on 2020 Census for Health Care Group Quarters Administrators

The 2020 Census is underway, but due to concerns about accepting visitors to a skilled nursing facility, assisted living community, ICF/IID facility, or other group quarters, some adjustments to their approach are being made. 

If you have elected to use the “In-Person” or the “Drop-off/pick-up” method for reporting data on individuals in your building, the Census Bureau will be reaching out to ask you to select either the “eResponse” or the “Paper Response Data Collection” options. These would entail the following: 

  1. Electronic Response Data Transfer (eResponse) – The group quarters administrator fills in a template with group quarters data and respondent level data for each person who is staying at the facility on Census Day (April 1, 2020). The group quarters administrators electronically send the census response data to the Census Bureau. Please note: the eResponse option is not available for service-based administrators.
  2. Paper Response Data Collection – A census worker meets with the administrator of the facility to obtain a paper listing of census response data for each person who is served or staying at the facility on April 1, 2020.

More detailed information on enumeration types may be found in our previous blog post or on the Census Bureau website. More extensive explanations on how and why changes are being made may be found in a Census Bureau memo and on their COVID-19 Monitoring Page.

CDC Issues Report on Assisted Living COVID Experience in Seattle 

CMS released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) yesterday (April 3) on an assisted living and independent living community in Seattle related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The report found that early intervention, increased social distancing among residents, and less contact with health care providers were possibly effective at minimizing the spread of the virus in an assisted living setting. More specifically:

Among the 142 residents and staff members tested during the initial phase, three of 80 residents (3.8%) and two of 62 staff members (3.2%) had positive test results. 

The report also found that symptom screening is unlikely to be sufficient to identify all persons infected. Three of four residents who had positive test results were asymptomatic. 

All assisted living providers are strongly encouraged to review CDC guidance for LTC Facilities as well as AHCA/NCAL’s guidance for ALs on limiting the spread of COVID-19, and are encouraged to minimize the number of interactions with residents by reducing the number of various (non-essential) people entering the building, targeting the number of interactions with residents, and instituting non-communal dining

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

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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

Audio Conference: Coping Mechanisms for All Staff on Dealing with Anxiety and Stress in Your Facility

Author: Jackie Pappalardi and Lisa Volk

Our next NYSHFA-NYSCAL audio conference on Wednesday April 8, 2020 at 2:00pm with be Coping Mechanisms for All Staff on Dealing with Anxiety and Stress in Your Facility. Dr Robert Figlerski, an expert Mental Health Practitioner, will provide you with practical ways to manage the disbelief and anger staff may be experiencing with the onset of COVID-19.  Dr. Figlerski will share simple strategies to build staff morale, help with resiliency and recognize when staff need to step away for a break.  Conference Call in Information for the audio on Wednesday April 8, 2020 at 2:00pm is 800-220-9875  Code is 14227658 #.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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