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Legislative Bulletin: Governor Signs COVID-19 Legislation Into Law

June 19, 2020

Staff Testing Mandate Reduced to Once Weekly as State Reopens

Mayor Bill DeBlasio confirmed yesterday that New York City will move into Phase II of reopening on Monday, June 22nd. With this next phase of reopening, New York City will be joining the rest of the state in the reopening of outdoor dining at bars and restaurants, in-person retail, hair salons and barbershops and more office-based jobs. Meanwhile, other regions in the state have begun a transition into Phase III of reopening, which allows for businesses such as nail salons to open and restaurants to offer inside dining.

For New York City’s nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs), a transition to Phase II means a reduction in required COVID-19 staff testing. Executive Order 202.40, released on June 9th, re-instated the twice-weekly staff testing for regions still in Phase I but reduced the testing to once-weekly for regions in Phase II or higher.

Now that all of New York’s nursing homes and ACFs are required to test staff only once per week, LeadingAge NY has revised our advocacy letters to reflect these changes.

Click Here to Urge Lawmakers to Reimburse Nursing Homes and ACFs for Costly Testing Mandate!

Thank you again for your advocacy during this unprecedented time.

 

NH Pandemic Emergency Plan Bill Signed by the Governor

During Wednesday’s briefing, the Governor signed a batch of COVID-19 related legislation including A.10326-A (Reyes)/S.8397-A (Savino), a bill which expands existing whistleblower protections for health care employees by prohibiting employer retaliation if an employee reports improper quality of patient care or improper quality of workplace safety to a news media outlet or social media forum.

Later in the day, the Governor signed a slew of other bills which had passed the Legislature in late May, including A.10394 (Lentol)/S.8289 (Salazar), a bill requiring nursing homes to submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the commissioner of health. The legislation requires such plan to include a communication plan with families, plans to protect staff, residents and families against infection, and plans to preserve a resident's place at the facility if he or she is hospitalized. Before the bill’s passage, LeadingAge NY was able to provide comment on the bill language and was successful in getting some amendments included. Now that the bill has been signed by the Governor, we are awaiting guidance from the Department of Health (DOH) on what the process will be for creating and submitting annual pandemic emergency plans. LeadingAge NY will continue to keep you updated on this new requirement.

 

Urge Lawmakers to Oppose the Repeal of the Emergency or Disaster Protection Act!

Please contact your lawmakers TODAY and urge them to oppose  A.10427 Rules (Kim)/S.8497 (Biaggi), a bill which would repeal the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act. This critically important legislation provides health care providers and professionals with reasonable immunity from liability during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.  

Please call your lawmakers and relay the following talking points! After you call and speak to a staff person, we recommend also sending an email as a follow-up. Click here to find your legislators’ contact information. LeadingAge New York’s memo of opposition to A.10427/S.8497 is linked here.

Nursing Home Immunity Repeal Talking Points:

  • The Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act is critically important legislation which provides health care providers and professionals with reasonable immunity from liability during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. It is important to note that the immunity is provided only for good faith provision of care consistent with the law and the state’s directives.
  • Nursing homes, adult care facilities, and other aging services providers have been engaged in selfless and heroic work throughout the pandemic, caring for residents who are particularly vulnerable to this devastating virus.
  • They have been working under extraordinarily challenging conditions, with reduced staff and fewer resources than other healthcare provider types that were made priority at the height of the pandemic.
  • This legislation would subject all health care facilities and caregivers to civil and criminal liability for the care they have provided during the pandemic, even if they acted in good faith in spite of circumstances beyond their control, such as systemic shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and employee/patient testing, staffing disruptions due to quarantining COVID-positive or suspected workers, and constantly changing and often conflicting directives from the state and federal governments.
  • Repealing the Protection Act puts hard working staff and direct care workers at risk of liability. These staff have sacrificed more than most of us during this pandemic. They have worked long hours and risked their own health and safety with every shift. Many have had to  distance themselves from their own families in order to best care for their residents. Putting these heroes at risk of potential legal action is both unfair and unreasonable.
  • Mission-driven not-for-profit and public providers have not shied away from the hardest cases – indeed, they proudly deliver care to the most vulnerable, much as they have done for generations – they view it as their responsibility to care for individuals living with COVID and to provide them critical support in their time of need. To deny protection for these organizations and their heroic front-line workers during such an unprecedented and extraordinary time would be incredibly unfair and shortsighted.   
  • For these reasons, I urge you to reject A.10427/S.8497, A.10621, and any similar legislation.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy and please reach out with any questions or concerns.

 

$15 Billion CARES Act Funding for Medicaid Providers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it will be distributing $15 billion of Provider Relief Funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers including assisted living, home care agencies, and hospices. This funding, along with additional relief funding outside of the CARES Act, supports health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19. Each qualifying provider that successfully applies will receive at least 2 percent of its reported gross revenue from patient care. Applications for this funding are due July 20th, and the HHS portal for applying is now active.

This $15 billion installment of Provider Relief Funding is targeted at existing Medicaid and CHIP providers that did not receive Provider Relief Funding from the previous $50 billion General Distribution.

Earlier this week, LeadingAge NY published an Intelligence article on the funding and eligibility criteria. The article is linked here.

 

ACTION ALERT: Sign On to the “Act for Older Adults” Advocacy Letter

Communities are struggling to obtain enough personal protective equipment, adequate testing, and resources for older Americans during this crisis. Congress needs to provide immediate relief but they will not take action unless they hear from providers.

LeadingAge National has created a list of key demands that are needed to protect older adults. These priorities have been added to an “Act for Older Adults” letter which LeadingAge will be delivering to Congress next week. We ask that members read the letter and add your organization’s name to our list by Tuesday, June 23.

Some of the “asks” in the letter include:

  1. $100 Billion fund to cover costs for PPE, supplies, staffing, treating COVID-19 residents, current and future lost revenue, for all aging services providers including providers compensated through Medicare, Medicaid and by private payers.
  2. $1.2 Billion fund for affordable senior housing, to cover COVID-19 related costs, Service Coordinators, and wireless internet to combat social isolation and link to telehealth.
  3. $10 Billion fund to cover testing of staff, including ancillary costs such as additional staff to cover for staff who test positive. Separately, Congress must ensure that public and private insurance fully cover multiple tests necessary for older persons.
  4. Allow home health agencies to be compensated for telehealth visits and allow for verbal orders for purposes of eligibility and billing for the duration of the pandemic.

Click here to sign on TODAY as a supporter! Members must sign on to the letter by Tuesday, June 23rd.

 

Urge Congress to Pass Federal Housing Assistance Bill

Join LeadingAge New York, the New York Housing Conference, and our partners as we call on Congress to pass a federal assistance bill which includes at least $100 billion in rental assistance for households impacted by COVID-19 and $915 billion to keep state and local governments funded, in order to continue critical public programs.  

To support this campaign, you can do three things:

  1. Sign on to Letter to Congressional Leadership calling for $100 billion in rental assistance and $915 billion for aid to state and local governments. Click here to Sign On!
  2. Gather and Share Stories of Housing Need on social media of why housing assistance is needed right now. Use the hashtag #RentReliefNowNY and #RentReliefNow!  
  3. Contact Your Member of Congress and other members of the New York Congressional delegation calling on them to prioritize housing assistance and aid to state and local governments. Click here to find your member of Congress!

 

LeadingAge New York Announces Move to Virtual Conference Line up for 2020

The safety of all the dedicated people who work at LeadingAge New York member organizations, the organizations they do business with, as well as the health of the vulnerable people they serve has driven the decision to move to a virtual setting for all LeadingAge New York conferences for the remainder of 2020. This important decision was not made lightly but is the best move given current conditions.

There will be more details to come, but for now we encourage members to save the dates for the following virtual conferences!

  • Financial Professional Conference: Sept. 1, 3 and 9
  • Housing Professionals Conference: Sept. 9-11
  • Annual Conference and Exposition: Oct.  14, 15, 21, 22
  • Recreation and Activity Professionals Conference: Monthly webinar series starting soon.
  • Nursing and Social Work Professionals Conference: Nov. 4, 5, 11
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Contact: Ami Schnauber; 518.867.8854; aschnauber@leadingageny.org

               Sarah Daly; 518.867.8845; sdaly@leadingageny.org