AHCA: Update #68

Jackie Pappalardi and Nancy Leveille in Clinical & Quality

In This COVID-19 Update:

  • IPCA Version 2 Available Now
  • OSHA Alert
  • Economic Impact Payments for Those with Representative Payees
  • House Passes HEROES Act

Infection Prevention Control Officer (IPCO) Version 2 Training Now Available with BONUS COVID-19 Content 

The emergence of COVID-19 has compounded the need for centers to have an effective infection prevention and control program. AHCA/NCAL’s new and expanded version of its popular Infection Preventionist Specialized Training, IPCO Version 2 is now available. The online training is recommended for individuals responsible for infection prevention and control in all long term care settings, including assisted living communities. 

IPCO Version 2 is designed to train the Infection Preventionists to run a comprehensive infection prevention and control program. It is also now available for administrators to take to gain a deeper understanding of the infection prevention and control in the overall operation of a nursing facility. AHCA/NCAL recommends that each skilled nursing facility train at least two Infection Preventionists through AHCA/NCAL’s IPCO training program should one Infection Preventionist leave the facility. The training is also highly recommended for assisted living communities because they care for a similar population and can face similar infection risks.  

As an added feature to all participants registered for the IPCO Version 2 program, bonus content related to COVID-19 is included. The bonus content includes topics such as: Interim COVID-19 Guidance, courses on PPE, and N-95 mask use.  

Members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords to register for IPCO Version 2. For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, members should e-mail educate@ahca.org with their name and facility contact information.  


OSHA Alert on Nursing Home and Long Term Care Workers' Safety

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration released guidance aimed at protecting nursing homes and long term care facilities workers from exposure to COVID-19. Many of the recommendations are based on CDC guidance including optimizing PPE, screening workers and sending sick workers home. The guidance includes encouraging staff to report any safety or health concerns and staggering breaks to avoid overcrowding in the break from. 


Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries with Representative Payees  

The Social Security Administration recently issued an update that beneficiaries who have their regular monthly payments managed for them by another person, called a representative payee, will begin receiving their economic impact payments (EIPs) from the IRS in late May.  

It is important to note that under Medicaid rules, a stimulus payment is not counted as income. Therefore, receiving a stimulus payment does not change a resident’s monthly payment (often called a ‘patient pay amount’ or ‘share of cost’). The resident pays the same monthly amount to the nursing facility and keeps the stimulus payment for their own use. In addition, the stimulus payment does not count as a Medicaid resource for 12 months. In other words, for the first year, the payment cannot cause you to have ‘too much’ savings.

More details on these payments can be found in this SSA press release. You may also find information about the eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments here. In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at  www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information. Social Security will continue to update the agency’s COVID-19 web page with additional information.  


H.R. 6800, The HEROES Act Passes the House  

On Friday, May 15th, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, The HEROES Act, another piece of legislation aimed at addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill was passed largely along party lines with most Democrats voting for it and Republicans voting against the package. Leader McConnell has stated that he will not bring up this legislation in the Senate. The Senate is likely to craft its own bill. We will continue to work with both chambers and advocate for our priorities during this challenging time  

Of particular note to our sector, below are the provisions found in the bill:  

  • Ensures an additional $100 billion for the provider fund.  
  • Improves the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program that has been critical to keeping providers afloat including lowering interest rates for repayment. 
  • Allows facilities with the most losses from this pandemic to be compensated fairly.  
  • Increases the Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by 14 percentage points through June 30, 2021. At a time of financial instability, this would ensure State governments have the resources they need to continue providing critical services.  
  • Delays the implementation of the Medicaid Financial Accountability Rule (MFAR) until the end of the emergency period.  
  • Requires Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organizations to provide infection control support to nursing homes struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks.  
  • Ensures skilled nursing facilities have a means for residents to conduct “televisitation” with loved ones while in-person visits are not possible during the COVID-19 emergency.  
  • Requires public reporting of positive cases in nursing facilities.  
  • Provides $150 million to states to create strike teams if three or more residents or staff are diagnosed with COVID-19 in a 72-hour time period.  
  • Provides a 20 percent per diem increase for facilities with COVID-19 only units.  
  • Provides a $13.00 increase in wages for essential workers up to $10,000.  

As the Senate begins to consider this bill, we will keep you updated as to what the final outcome will be.  

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

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

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