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Jan. 19th 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 outlined 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 Tues., Jan. 19th due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 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.

Cross-Sector Updates

Reporting CARES Act Funding

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has activated the portal through which recipients of more than $10,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Provider Relief Funding (PRF) will need to report specified data elements. The link to the portal site is here, a registration guide is here, and a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is here. The first step providers must take is to register.

HHS indicates that the registration process will take at least 20 minutes to complete and must be completed in one session. Because it is not possible to save a partially completed registration, providers should be familiar with the information required and have it readily available before beginning the process.

At present, there is no deadline for completing registration in the portal. Similarly, the due date of the initial report is also unclear, with HHS indicating that it will notify providers about the reporting deadlines by email.

We urge members who will be required to report to take the opportunity to participate in our Jan. 20th learning opportunity. We are partnering with CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) to present a PRF reporting webinar for LeadingAge NY members. It will allow members to hear the latest news and pose questions to experts from CLA’s PRF Advisory Team. The session is free to members, but registration is required here.

In a related development, Jan. 19th marks the date that lenders may start accepting applications for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from all eligible organizations. Members interested in the program should contact their lending institution without delay. Information from the Small Business Administration is available here.

New Vaccine Prioritization Guidance and Details on the State Vaccination Provider Program

Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) issued new COVID-19 vaccine guidance following the addition of the 1B population and individuals over age 65 to the State's prioritization list. The document clarifies that health care providers are now to be served by hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), urgent care centers, and ambulatory care centers. Click here for more information.

Nursing Home and Adult Care Facility (ACF)/Assisted Living Updates

Highlights from Jan. 15th Call with DOH and Governor’s Office

On Fri., Jan. 15th, LeadingAge NY participated in a call with DOH and the Governor’s Office. Click here for highlights from that discussion, including updates on nursing home and ACF vaccinations, vaccination Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) questions, Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests sent to nursing homes, point-of-care test result reporting, and COVID-only nursing homes.

DOH Responds to Questions on Return to Work, Testing, and More

DOH staff members have responded via email and in association meetings to some requests for clarification of guidance documents. Click here for more information.

DOH Provides Information on Staffing Portal

Late last week, DOH issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) reminding ACF and nursing home providers of an online staffing portal that can be accessed if they are experiencing staff shortages. Click here for more information.

Local Positivity Rates

A document showing the most recent 14-day test positivity rates for each county in New York State based on both federal and state figures is available here. Although nursing homes across the state are required to test staff twice per week, we encourage members to be aware of their local positivity rates. Nursing home members should also keep in mind the federal requirement that for homes located in counties where positivity rates exceed 10 percent, visitation is limited to compassionate care.

Current daily county-level data for New York State are here, and ZIP code-level data for New York City showing infection rates during the most recent four weeks are available here. Metrics related to the State’s micro-cluster initiative are available here, and links to cluster maps and the address look-up tool are here.