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Dec. 13th COVID-19 Update

New COVID-19-related updates for providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services continue to be shared on a regular basis by both state and federal authorities. The latest developments are discussed 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 Dec. 12th, is available here, and a list of the items shared by LeadingAge NY staff in the webinar chat can be accessed here. If you have questions for next week’s update or would like the access information, please contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

Important Reminders and New Developments Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

The latest vaccination information, including updates on federal efforts to increase nursing home resident bivalent booster uptake, the availability of single-dose vaccine vials, and the expansion of the use of bivalent vaccines to children ages six months through five years, is summarized here.

Nursing Home and Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Updates

New Pandemic Emergency Plan Provisions Enacted with Promise of Amendments

New nursing home pandemic emergency plan requirements signed into law last week will be amended to align with federal guidance, in all likelihood before the new requirements take effect in February. As currently written, the new law, Chapter 662 of 2022, requires more rapid family notification and a separate cohorting area in pandemic emergency plans. However, the Governor’s approval memorandum indicated that she had reached an agreement with the Legislature to enact amendments when the Legislature reconvenes in January. Click here for more information.

Seeking Input into New Method for Calculating Size of PPE Stockpiles

The Department of Health (DOH) is seeking input from stakeholders on the appropriate methodology for calculating the quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be included in the PPE stockpiles that nursing homes are required to maintain. LeadingAge NY has raised repeated concerns about the existing methodology, pointing out that the formula for calculating the size of the stockpile results in excess supply and wastes health care resources. In response to our concerns, the regulation was recently renewed on an emergency (60-day) basis only, rather than permanently adopted. We are looking for your recommendations on the methodology. Please contact Karen Lipson at klipson@leadingageny.org with your suggestions.

DOH Issues DAL Outlining Changes to Nurse Aide Training Program

On Dec. 9th, DOH issued Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) NH 22-21 outlining some key changes to the Nurse Aide Training Program (NATP). Prior to the new guidance, New York State nursing homes with an approved NATP were required to provide a 100-hour nurse aide training course. The new guidance aligns with existing federal requirements and calls for a minimum of 75 hours of training to become a certified nurse aide (CNA). Click here for more information.

Current DOH Guidance Prohibits Comingling of Nursing Home Residents and ADHC Registrants

LeadingAge NY members have been inquiring about comingling of ADHC registrants and nursing home residents during the holiday season. The current guidance in effect for ADHC programs indicates that this is not allowed. It prohibits registrants from communal dining and any activities with nursing home residents until further notice.

The Adult Day Health Care Council (ADHCC) has inquired with DOH about whether there is any leeway to these provisions, as this guidance was issued a year and a half ago. We will be sure to let members know if the Department changes its position on this issue.