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March 21st 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 described 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 March 20th, 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

DOH Rescinds Mask Requirement for Non-Emergency Medicaid Transportation

The Department of Health (DOH) issued an alert last week stating that, consistent with recent DOH guidance for health care settings, the mask mandate for Non-emergency Medicaid Transportation (NEMT) is no longer in effect. Transportation providers and Medicaid ridership are no longer required to wear masks while providing or receiving transportation services. Click here for more information.

Relief Funding Reporting Deadline Is Almost Here

We remind members who may have received federal provider relief payments in the second half of 2021 that the deadline for reporting on that funding is March 31st. This applies to providers who received Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and/or American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural funding from July 1st through Dec. 31, 2021 that in the aggregate exceeded $10,000. Failure to report may result in recovery of the funding. Click here for more information.

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

Nursing Homes: Submit Weekly NHSN Report by Friday to Avoid Potential Disruption

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making scheduled upgrades to the Secure Access Management Service (SAMS) database this weekend, March 25th to 26th. The outage is expected to begin on Fri., March 24th at 9 p.m., during which time users may experience difficulty accessing the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). To ensure that required COVID-19 data is submitted successfully for the reporting week that ends on March 26th, providers may want to report before the weekend. The NHSN reporting week spans Monday through Sunday, with nursing home providers required to submit data at least once during the seven-day period.

DOH Issues Updated Nursing Home Visitor Testing and Screening Guidance

On March 17th, DOH issued updated guidance indicating that the State is fully aligning with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) QSO-20-39-NH regarding nursing home COVID-19 screening and visitor testing. Specifically, nursing homes are no longer required to verify that visitors have a negative COVID-19 test before entry or conduct active COVID-19 screening. Click here for more information.

Project Firstline NY Providing Free Training on Infection Prevention/Control and Audit Monitoring

Project Firstline NY, a CDC-funded program offered through the New York State Health Facilities Association’s (NYSHFA) Foundation for Quality Care, has partnered with a team of infection control experts to create and implement a FREE three-hour Infection Control Audit Quality Improvement Program for frontline staff in nursing homes and AL facilities. Click here for more information.