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Legislative Bulletin: Legislative Leaders Announce Return to Session

May 22, 2020

 

Legislative Leaders Announce Return to Session

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced in a joint press release this morning that the Legislature plans to convene session next week to pass legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Committee meetings are expected to be held on Tuesday, May 26th and session will be held in the following days. Legislative processes will have a prominent virtual component and social distancing measures will be used when necessary. All proceedings will be broadcast for the public.

An official schedule of committee meetings and agendas has yet to be released, however, LeadingAge NY is prepared for the likelihood that bills aimed at nursing homes and long-term care providers could be made a priority. We are tracking these COVID-19 specific bills closely and will make members aware of any urgent need for advocacy.

In the meantime, it is crucial that members are educating lawmakers about the unique challenges that providers are facing as they work to keep both residents and staff safe from Coronavirus.

 

New Bill Takes Aim at Nursing Home Pandemic Response

LeadingAge NY has been closely tracking all new COVID-19 legislation that might pertain to long-term care and aging services. Earlier this month, a new bill came to the surface. Bill A.10394 Lentol/S.8289 Salazar would require residential health care facilities to submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the commissioner of health. While some elements of the bill mirror existing requirements, there are some provisions that are either infeasible or extreme, including a two-times daily update for resident families and a requirement for nursing homes to “maintain” a 2-month supply of PPE. The bill says that non-compliance with any provision is punishable as a willful violation of the public health law and as a violation of the penal law, rendering providers subject to criminal penalties.

This bill is one of several that has potential to see movement upon the Legislatures return next week, and we are hearing that it is already a part of some 3-way legislative discussions.

 

Engage with Lawmakers TODAY, Ahead of a Return to Session

As lawmakers prepare for next week’s return to session, we need them to understand the challenges that long term care providers continue to face in the fight against COVID-19.

Please call lawmakers TODAY and share your story! Click here to find your legislator’s contact information. While on the phone, you can discuss the following issues that may or may not be impacting your specific organization:

  • Inadequate supply of patient protective equipment (PPE)
  • Overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients
  • Staffing shortages
  • Testing requirements
  • Cohorting challenges (not having enough staff, COVID units are full, etc)
  • Current financing challenges and the need for financial support
  • Reactive policy making from the Executive and Department of Health
  • The inability to get answers and clarification in a timely manner

In your conversations with legislative offices, make sure you are clear and speaking specifically to your organization’s situation and what your biggest issues are in the fight against coronavirus.

Additionally, please take a moment to send your lawmakers the below letters! It only takes a few clicks!

Thank you for your advocacy efforts during this unprecedented time! It will make all the difference in providers receiving the support they need!

 

Additional Coronavirus Relief Targeted at Nursing Homes

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun issuing a third Provider Relief Fund payment specifically targeted at nursing homes.  Some providers report receiving payments today which are being made in the same manner as previous payments (i.e., direct deposit) and are calculated as a $50,000 base payment plus $2,500 per-bed.  As with previous Provider Relief Fund (PRF) distributions, recipients will be required to agree to specified terms and conditions within 45 days, which will likely require periodic reporting.   The HHS press release is available here and the main HHS PRF web site here.  HHS has also expanded and updated the PRF FAQ document (available here). 

HHS is also reminding eligible providers that they have until June 3, 2020, to accept the Terms and Conditions and submit their revenue information to support additional payments from the Provider Relief Fund $50 billion General Distribution.  All providers who automatically received an additional General Distribution payment prior to 5:00 pm, Friday, April 24th, must provide HHS with an accounting of their annual revenues by submitting tax forms or financial statements (announcement is here).  Providers have 45 days from the date they received a payment to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds.  Providers that do not log into the provider portal and accept the Terms and Conditions after 45 days of receipt will be deemed to have accepted the Terms and Conditions.

 

Tell Congress We Need Relief for Affordable Senior Housing
As Congress debates the next COVID-19 response package, House offices need to hear your support for a new affordable senior housing relief bill. The bill, the Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act of 2020 (H.R. 6873), provides $1.2 billion for COVID-19 relief for HUD-assisted senior housing. Click here to ask your members of Congress to support this legislation today!

 

LeadingAge & LeadingAge NY Coronavirus Resources

LeadingAge NY is closely following all COVID-19 news and doing our best to keep members informed of updates, recommendations and guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH). We encourage members to keep an eye out for email updates as well as visit our Coronavirus Resources page for the latest news and guidance. We also have re-organized our Member Q&A website so members can more easily navigate and search by service line. 

LeadingAge NY is hosting COVID-19 Weekly Update calls, which are held on Mondays from 11 am – 12 pm. You can click here to join the call from your computer, android or apple device. Or you can join the call by dialing in: 877 853 5257 (Toll Free); Webinar ID: 852 964 255.

Additionally, LeadingAge NY has developed a compendium of federal and state COVID-19 guidance specific to nursing homes or of a general nature, arrayed by topic in reverse chronological order. We will be updating this document frequently so members can easily find the most recent and relevant guidance.

LeadingAge National is also providing helpful resources to keep members informed of the latest. National resources include:

 

Contact: Ami Schnauber; 518.867.8854; aschnauber@leadingageny.org

               Sarah Daly; 518.867.8845; sdaly@leadingageny.org