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Nov. 16th 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. 15th, 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

Health Care Personnel Vaccination Mandate Updates

The Department of Health (DOH) issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) on Nov. 15th on the State’s health care personnel vaccination mandate, imposing a deadline for compliance with a more restrictive approach to religious exemptions. In addition, further analysis of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccination mandate regulation has revealed that board members are subject to the requirement. Click here for more information.

LeadingAge NY Submits Comments to PHHPC on Pending Regulations

LeadingAge NY submitted comments to the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) this week urging changes in regulations governing personal/compassionate caregiving visitation and staff vaccination mandates. The comments also highlight staffing shortages faced by long term care providers and reiterate flaws in the nursing home minimum nursing hours and minimum direct care spending regulations. Click here for more information.

Clarification on OSHA ETS Reporting Requirements

There has been recent confusion regarding the reporting requirements of the two different Emergency Temporary Standards (ETSs) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hopefully, this article clears things up for you.

What if I Didn’t Get My Second COVID-19 Vaccine Within the Recommended Interval?

What if you are delayed in getting your second COVID-19 vaccine? Click here for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on the issue.

Providers to Bill Medicare Advantage for COVID-19 Vaccinations, Therapies in 2022

Providers who administer COVID-19 vaccinations and/or monoclonal antibody therapy treatments to individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans face a change in how they bill for services that are provided after Jan. 1, 2022. During 2020 and 2021, providers submitted bills to their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for both original Medicare recipients and Medicare Advantage enrollees who received COVID-19 vaccinations and therapies. For services and treatments provided on or after Jan. 1, 2022, claims for individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will need to be submitted to the plan, not to the MAC.

The CMS webpage dedicated to Medicare billing for COVID-19 vaccine administration is here, while the page listing Monoclonal Antibody Infusion information, including billing instructions, is here.

Provider Relief Funding Update

Although the deadline to initiate a Provider Relief Funding (PRF) application was Oct. 26th and the deadline to submit a completed application was Nov. 3rd, providers still have an opportunity to contact the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) about the application process. HRSA is still allowing providers to submit technical questions via email to ProviderReliefContact@hrsa.org, which implies they may allow providers who initiated their applications prior to Oct. 26th to submit in the future. Click here for more information.

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

New CMS and DOH Nursing Home Visitation Guidance Lift Most Restrictions

CMS and DOH have issued new nursing home visitation guidelines that eliminate most restrictions on visitation. The CMS guidance states: “Visitation is allowed for all residents at all times.” The DOH guidance directs nursing homes to adhere to the CMS guidance issued on Nov. 12th and immediately implement its provisions. Click here for more information.

Survey Changes on the Way

On Nov. 12th, CMS issued memorandum QSO-22-02-ALL outlining a number of changes to both the Focused Infection Control (FIC) survey and recertification survey process. The QSO also highlights some areas that surveyors have been directed to focus on as recertification surveys resume. Click here for more information.

CDC’s Project Firstline Coming to New York

The CDC’s Project Firstline is the agency’s National Training Collaborative for Healthcare Infection Prevention & Control. The New York State Health Facilities Association’s (NYSHFA) Foundation for Long Term Care, with a grant from the CDC, is making this infection control training free and accessible to all direct care workers in long term care settings throughout the state. We encourage LeadingAge NY members to engage their staff in this training. Click here for more information.

HERDS Survey Advocacy

LeadingAge NY continues to push DOH and the Governor’s Office to reduce the frequency of the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey and eliminate duplicative reporting for ACFs and nursing homes. In addition to this continued push, members have made suggestions on how the daily HERDS can be streamlined. If you have any specific recommendations, please reach out to Diane Darbyshire at ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org. Click here to send a letter to the Governor advocating for a reduction in the frequency of reporting.