May 18th 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 May 17th, 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.
New York Passes HERO Act
On May 5th, Governor Cuomo signed the HERO Act into law. The first part of the HERO Act creates a new section of the Labor Law that requires private employers to adopt an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan. This requirement will take effect on July 4, 2021. The second part of the HERO Act, which will take effect on Nov. 1, 2021, adds a new section to the Labor Law requiring private employers to allow employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee at each worksite. Click here for more information about the law and its requirements from LeadingAge NY and our counsel, Hinman Straub.
The latest vaccination information, including updates on the State’s new “Universal Dose” administration process for all multi-dose COVID-19 vaccine types, new vaccine wastage reporting guidance, the State’s confirmation that facilities not vaccinating the general public need not register in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) VaccineFinder tool, and New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) reporting concerns, is summarized here.
Nursing Home and Adult Care Facility (ACF)/Assisted Living Updates
LeadingAge NY Advocates for Reduced Staff Testing and Reporting Requirements in Letter to DOH Commissioner
This week, in response to concerns expressed by members, LeadingAge NY President and CEO Jim Clyne sent a letter to Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker requesting the elimination of serial COVID-19 testing of vaccinated and recently recovered nursing home and ACF staff, in alignment with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)/CDC guidance. In addition, the letter asks the State to streamline Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) reporting requirements to eliminate duplicative and unnecessary data collection and to reduce the frequency of reports. Click here to access the letter.
CMS Issues Regulations Requiring Nursing Homes to Offer Vaccinations and Report
Last week, CMS issued regulations requiring nursing homes to educate staff and residents about the COVID-19 vaccine, offer the vaccine to staff and residents, and maintain documentation of the education, offer, and vaccination status of staff and residents. The requirements also apply to intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition to these requirements, the regulations mandate that nursing homes report the vaccination status of their staff and residents, doses administered, adverse vaccine events, and therapeutics administered for treatment of COVID-19 on a weekly basis via the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system. Click here for more information.
New Quarantine Guidance for ACFs Not Licensed as ALPs or EALRs
On May 14th, DOH issued new quarantine guidance for residents of non-health care congregate settings. The guidance applies to ACFs that are not licensed as Assisted Living Programs (ALPs) or Enhanced Assisted Living Residences (EALRs). LeadingAge NY is seeking answers to questions posed regarding the guidance and will share when we receive them.
Test Positivity and Vaccination 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. Based on federal data, three counties (Monroe, Cattaraugus, and Lewis) had test positivity rates above 5 percent. The county positivity data posted by CMS are lagged by a week and are updated each Monday or Tuesday. They are available for download in raw format here. LeadingAge NY extracts the CMS-calculated rates for New York State counties and posts them here, along with positivity rates calculated on state data covering the same two-week period.
Current daily county-level data for New York State are here, 7- and 14-day regional data are here, and ZIP code-level data for New York City showing infection rates during the most recent four weeks are available here. The State’s regional COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard showing new infections, severity of infections, and hospitalization data is available here.
DOH posts daily COVID-19 vaccination rates for staff and residents of both nursing homes and assisted living facilities on their website. The site shows county and regional average vaccination rates and contains links to provider-specific listings. The rates are based on daily HERDS reporting and can be accessed here.
Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Updates
LeadingAge NY Advocates for Enhanced 10 Percent HCBS FMAP
CMS has published guidance for state Medicaid agencies for the spending of HCBS enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding going to states. New York will receive a 10 percent enhanced HCBS FMAP, or $1.6 billion, for Medicaid HCBS and must use it to supplement, not supplant, HCBS programs and services. Click here for more information.