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Jan. 31st 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 Jan. 30th, 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

COVID-19 PHE to Sunset on May 11th

On Jan. 30th, the Biden administration announced that it intends to discontinue the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11th. This is likely to mean the end of a number of remaining 1135 waiver provisions and other flexibilities tied to the PHE, including the waiver of the three-day hospital stay requirement for skilled nursing facility (SNF) care. The administration indicated that it is actively reviewing policies that were authorized under the PHE to determine which can remain in place. We, along with LeadingAge National, are reviewing the implications of the changes and will provide information to members as it becomes available.

The May 11th date is a month later than the scheduled end of the most recent 90-day extension. Since first being declared in January 2020, the PHE has been renewed 12 times in 90-day increments, most recently on Jan. 11th. The announcement fulfills the promise made by the White House to provide notice of at least 60 days prior to discontinuing the PHE and coincides with calls among some in Congress for an immediate end to the emergency declaration.

While the change is likely to have a significant impact on Medicaid enrollment, the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law at the end of December 2022 had already delinked the state Medicaid continuous coverage requirement from the PHE. The Act also continued an enhanced federal Medicaid match to states past the end of the PHE, establishing a gradual phase-out during the rest of 2023. New York State is expected to gradually resume Medicaid recertification activities starting in late March.

Provider Relief Reporting Webinar

Members interested in learning about Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting, including recent changes to the requirements and common reporting errors, can register here for a LeadingAge National webinar scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 2nd. The PRF Reporting Portal is open for Reporting Period 4 until March 31, 2023. Members who received a PRF and/or American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payment or payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate from July 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021 are required to report on their use of funds during this fourth reporting period. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) PRF Reporting page with resources is available here. In addition, any provider who may have received a Final Repayment Notice (issued in December 2022) of PRF funds has 60 days from the notice date to return funds or request a Decision Review as outlined here.

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

DOH Planning COVID-19 Webinar for ACFs

The Department of Health (DOH) Division of ACF and AL Surveillance, along with DOH epidemiologists, is planning a webinar for ACFs regarding COVID-19. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 or the current COVID-19 guidance for ACFs, please email us, and we will ask the Department to address them during the webinar. We will let members know when more details are available; we do not yet have a date.

Changes in Nursing Home PPE Stockpile Requirements Approved by PHHPC

Amendments to the personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile regulation, approved last week by the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC), should reduce the amount of inventory that nursing homes are required to maintain. The amendments also include provisions governing off-site storage of PPE stockpiles. The amendments were adopted on an emergency basis and took effect on Jan. 26th. They will remain in effect for 60 days, at which point DOH will either seek renewal on an emergency basis or seek adoption on a permanent basis. Click here for more information.

CDC Issues Reports on Effectiveness of Bivalent Booster in Nursing Home Residents

On Jan. 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) regarding a study conducted on SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain and Omicron BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5 variants in Ohio and Rhode Island nursing home residents after receipt of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine from September to November 2022. A second MMWR was also released on Jan. 27th regarding laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case incidence rates among U.S. nursing home residents by up-to-date vaccination status from Oct. 10, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023. Click here for a review of the findings.

DOH Issues Revised Guidance on COVID-19 Treatment Recommendations

As outlined in an advisory released by DOH last week, on Jan. 26th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Evusheld is no longer authorized for emergency use in the U.S. Click here for more information.