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Nov. 22nd 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 outlined 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. 21st, 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

Provider Relief Funding – Special Cases

After meeting recently with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), LeadingAge National reports that the agency is working on issuing the final 1 percent of Phase 4 Provider Relief Funding (PRF), after which it will begin adjudicating Phase 4 reconsideration requests. It appears that the reconsideration determination process will begin in early 2023 and may last until the end of June 2023.

Any member who may have been notified that they must return all or a portion of their prior PRF funding, but believes that it may be an error or is seeking clarification on why they owe these funds, should reach out to HRSA for an explanation before returning any dollars. Eventually, providers will receive a “demand letter,” at which time they will have the opportunity to follow a specific appeals process to make the case for why they do not believe they need to return the funds. An article from LeadingAge National discussing these issues is available here.

Is Employee Retention Credit an Option?

Some members are taking another look at the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). Most are probably getting copious emails marketing assistance with the process. While the process is complex and requires employers to work through the eligibility requirements and factor in other COVID-19 relief, it may offer a material benefit to some.

While the credits are based on wages from 2020 and the first three quarters of 2021, there is plenty of time to apply, although it likely requires the filing of amended payroll tax returns. Eligible employers have until April 2024 to apply for the 2020 tax year and April 2025 for the 2021 tax year. For those who qualify, it can be a fairly large benefit, conferring $5,000 per employee in 2020 and $7,000 per employee in 2021. Eligibility is based on a decline in revenue OR the fact that operations were fully or partially suspended based on a COVID-19-related government order. This COVID-19 order eligibility path may be especially relevant for nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs).

Because it is a fairly complicated process with eligibility rules that are subject to interpretation, organizations may want to work with a known and trusted tax adviser. There are various companies reaching out offering help with this process, but it is important to make sure to work with a reliable adviser. Those who are not familiar with the ERC or seek a refresher on the basics should take a look at the LeadingAge National ERC Explainer available here. Other resources include an on-demand webinar available here (nominal fee) as well as an accompanying set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

New Toolkit, CDC Webinar Address Anticipated “Tripledemic”

Five major medical societies have teamed up to create a toolkit for clinicians addressing public health concerns related to the “tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) anticipated this winter. During a meeting with members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team on Oct. 17th, leaders from health care associations across the country were asked to educate their members and stakeholders about the importance, effectiveness, and accessibility of the COVID-19 bivalent booster and the therapeutics available to treat those diagnosed with COVID-19. AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA) partnered with the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), the Gerontological Advance Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants/Associates (AAPA) to create this toolkit for clinicians working in LTPAC settings, treating the most vulnerable of our population.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be hosting a webinar on the threat posed by RSV, flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses this fall and winter on Tues., Nov. 29th from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. More information about the webinar, including registration information, is available here.

Nursing Home Updates

DOH Issues FAQs for Nursing Homes on COVID-19 Infection Prevention

On Nov. 22nd, the Department of Health (DOH) issued an Advisory with FAQs regarding COVID-19 infection prevention in nursing homes. The FAQs largely align with prior guidance from the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and DOH. Members are encouraged to read the entire document; however, the FAQs include two noteworthy questions often raised by LeadingAge NY members. Click here for more information.