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LeadingAge NY and Association Colleagues Meet with DOH

LeadingAge NY and other provider associations met with the Department of Health (DOH) last week to touch base on current issues of importance.

The Department referenced their recent Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) reiterating the responsibility of nursing homes to offer the updated COVID-19 vaccine to both staff and residents. They recommend that providers use the covidnursinghomeinfo@health.ny.gov email for questions.

Mark Furnish, Director of the Office of Aging and Long-Term Care's (OALTC) Center for Long-Term Care Licensure, Planning, and Finance, is working on implementation of Article 29-EE Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), recently passed by the Legislature. Currently, PACE programs need to have separate Certificates of Need (CONs) for their Article 28, 36, and 44 programs. The revised process, which will begin in early 2024, will relieve applicants of these administratively burdensome requirements.

DOH is also working on a need methodology for hospice programs. This will be shared with provider associations prior to publication. Hospice data is currently rooted in cancer data, and this will be revised. DOH is also working on revising the need methodologies for certified home health agencies (CHHAs) and Assisted Living Programs (ALPs). They will be looking to provide flexible, simplified, understandable need methodologies that do not get outdated once published. All will be shared with provider associations pre-publication.

The Department also stated that data on licensed home care services agency (LHCSA) closures and changes in ownership will be provided to the group.

Heidi Hayes, Director of OALTC's Center for Long-Term Care Survey and Operations, shared that three facilities in Watertown/Fort Drum were dealing with water issues on Oct. 19th. All facilities were conserving water at that time. Evacuations were under consideration, including looking for alternative transfer sites.

Heidi stated that the LHCSA Statistical Report is to be posted soon, by Oct. 31st. In addition, the long-overdue home care guidance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) should be posted soon. Members may recall that this will relieve agencies from requiring staff to call in everyday with the screening information.

The Department's second training webinar on medication management will be held on Nov. 8th. Registration is required and available here. Questions may be sent to DOH at ltcsurveyops@health.ny.gov. The recording of the Oct. 4th webinar is available here.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Rule visits by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to adult day health care (ADHC) programs and ALPs yielded concerns by CMS regarding the absence of overarching care plans for individuals in program. The Department has a plan that it will be rolling out soon to address this issue. This additional layer of care planning will not affect Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) registrants who have care plans or life plans, but will affect those without an overarching entity. LeadingAge NY is encouraged that CMS did not raise concerns about the first prong of the rule relating to colocation of programs on campuses or in facilities. The other rule requirements of community integration and person-centered planning appear to be sufficient for compliance.

The Department stated that approximately 385 nursing homes requested penalty reductions regarding the staffing mandate. DOH is issuing emails asking for follow-up information and will be holding a webinar soon to review issues and concerns with the process during Quarter 2. Guidance will also be issued. Redeterminations are currently in process, and the Department will provide responses soon.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadinageny.org, 518-867-8871