Aug. 17th COVID-19 Update
New updates pertaining to the COVID-19 emergency continue to be announced by both the state and federal government on a regular basis. The latest developments for providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services are reviewed below.
As a reminder, LeadingAge NY continues to convene weekly webinars on Mondays at 11 a.m. to address emerging questions on COVID-19. A recording of our most recent webinar, held on Aug. 16th, is available here. If you have questions for next week’s update, please send them to Ami Schnauber, and be sure to check your email for the access information, or contact Jeff Diamond.
Governor Cuomo Announces Mandate for All Health Care Workers to Become Vaccinated by Sept. 27th
Governor Cuomo announced on Aug. 16th that all health care workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals and long term care facilities (LTCFs), including nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Mon., Sept. 27th. The Department of Health (DOH) will issue “Section 16 Orders” requiring all hospitals, LTCFs, and nursing homes to develop and implement a policy mandating employee vaccinations, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.
LeadingAge NY spoke to DOH staff, who are working on guidance regarding the mandate, and we hope to have more information soon. There are many outstanding questions, including whether the mandate applies to home care and hospice providers or volunteers in nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs). We will inform members as soon as we have more information.
The latest vaccination information, including updates on the new State vaccine mandate for health care personnel, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) approval of booster vaccines for the immunocompromised, and new State guidance for vaccinators, is summarized here.
Members Should Pay Attention to Local Infection Rates to Comply with Mandates
Members are reminded that with rising infection rates, certain requirements are triggered both for the general public and specifically for nursing homes. This website provides more information on CDC standards for all and provides a searchable tool to help you determine if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Nursing home members are also reminded of the community rates of infection and their implications for staff testing and visitation. LeadingAge NY has posted updated data regarding the nursing home requirements, which can be found here.
Click here for more information on these requirements.
Members Encouraged to Connect with Local Officials on Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Opportunities
Members are encouraged to connect with your local officials regarding Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund opportunities. This funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and it provides a mechanism for counties, cities, and local communities to receive funding relief. We understand that local governments are currently in the process of planning how to use funds, and some providers have had success in getting their priorities considered in the planning. Thus, we encourage members to connect with local officials now and to articulate your needs. Click here for more information.
Nursing Home Updates
DOH Discusses Changes in HERDS Survey, Workforce Challenges, and Reminders of Visitation Requirements
During a meeting with DOH on Aug. 17th, LeadingAge NY discussed workforce challenges, and DOH provided updates regarding the daily Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey questions, visitation, resident outings, and other issues. Click here for more information.
Emergency Regulations Issued on Confirmatory Testing
Last week, the State issued emergency regulations eliminating the requirement that nursing home residents be tested for influenza along with COVID-19 under certain conditions. Prior guidance required both types of tests. This latest iteration requires COVID-19 testing only “along with any other clinically appropriate testing,” which leads us to believe that DOH may bring back influenza testing during flu season. Click here for more information.
New NYAM and CMS Resources for Nursing Homes
Nursing home members are encouraged to take advantage of two new resources from the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to equip staff with the latest information regarding infection prevention and control, COVID-19 preparedness, resident-centered care, vaccine distribution, and other important topics. Click here for more information and to access the resources.
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)/Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) Updates
Certain MLTC Involuntary Disenrollments to Resume
As a result of the expiration of the state COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), DOH will begin reinstituting certain MLTC involuntary disenrollment processes prospectively, effective for disenrollment date of Oct. 1, 2021 and monthly thereafter. Click here for more information.
CMS Announces Pilot Opportunity for Medicare COVID-19 Vaccination Data Sharing with Medicaid MCOs
CMS is launching a Medicare COVID-19 Vaccination Data for Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) pilot. Through this pilot, CMS aims to support equitable vaccinations by enabling Medicaid MCOs to provide additional services and support dually eligible beneficiaries. Selected Medicaid MCOs will have the opportunity to request certain dually eligible beneficiaries’ Medicare COVID-19 vaccination claims data on a weekly basis. The pilot is open to a maximum of 20 Medicaid MCOs that enroll dually eligible beneficiaries.
The solicitation announcement is available here.
MCO applications are due by Mon., Aug. 30th. Please feel free to reach out to LeadingAge NY with questions.