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Nov. 15th 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 Nov. 14th, 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

Application Period Open for State’s COVID-19 Capital Cost Tax Credit Program

Applications are now being accepted from small businesses that have successfully completed the pre-screening process to become certified for the State’s COVID-19 Capital Costs Tax Credit Program. Announced as part of Governor Hochul’s first Executive Budget in order to enhance the State’s support for small businesses, and subsequently included in the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022-23 Enacted Budget, this new refundable tax relief program targets COVID-19-related expenses for infectious disease mitigation during 2021 and 2022. Click here for more information.

Provider Relief Funding Update

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has updated the document outlining the reporting requirements for an entity that received $10,000 or more in federal Provider Relief Funding (PRF) during a six-month reporting period. The changes will apply to reporting after Jan. 1, 2023. Providers who received aggregate PRF and/or American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments exceeding $10,000 between July 1st and Dec. 31, 2021 should begin preparing for these new reporting requirements. The fourth reporting period covering this timeframe starts Jan. 1st and ends March 31, 2023. HRSA distributed the first batch of PRF Phase 4 General Distribution payments on Dec. 16, 2021 and the first batch of ARP Rural payments on Nov. 23, 2021. The updated reporting requirements document is here, and a helpful article from LeadingAge National is here.

Continuation of the Federal Public Health Emergency

All indications suggest that the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration will be renewed again in January. The Biden administration has promised to provide governors 60 days notice if it were to allow the PHE to expire. The 60-day mark passed last week with no notice. If the current January expiration is extended for another 90 days, the new expiration date would be in mid-April. Unless specifically discontinued, 1135 waiver flexibilities, including the waiver of the Medicare three-day hospitalization stay to qualify for skilled nursing facility (SNF) Part A services, would continue.

Nursing Home Updates

Submitting COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Data to NHSN

Nursing homes have been submitting COVID-19 vaccination data through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) since at least 2021. This reporting must be completed at least weekly. The NHSN web page dedicated to this reporting is here. The reporting is required by regulation. The staff COVID-19 vaccination rate became a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) measure in October 2021. Following an email blast from NHSN that left many providers confused, NHSN clarified that the weekly staff and resident COVID-19 vaccination data reported into NHSN would be transferred to the QRP with no additional action required by the provider.

In contrast, reporting of staff influenza vaccination rates through NHSN requires providers to take new steps. Click here for more information.