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Oct. 26th 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 Oct. 25th, 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

Member Experience with Workforce Shortages

During LeadingAge NY’s weekly COVID-19 update webinars and other communications with members, we have gotten a pulse on the workforce challenges you are experiencing and the measures you are taking to ensure that you can continue to provide the quality of care you are committed to. Members have shared feedback with us regarding the resources the State has offered thus far; click here for more information.

More Clarifications and Resources on the HERO Act

It wouldn’t be a week without further clarification regarding the implementation of the HERO Act. This week, LeadingAge NY’s counsel, Hinman Straub, provided members with information and resources to help you demonstrate compliance with the law. Click here for more information.

Provider Relief Funding Opportunity Ending

Providers are reminded to submit their completed Provider Relief Funding (PRF) applications prior to the deadline of Tues., Oct. 26th at 11:59 p.m. ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that administers the PRF, began accepting applications for the next round of PRF funding on Sept. 29th. All applications must go through a number of validation checks before financial information is submitted, so providers are strongly encouraged to begin their applications as soon as possible to meet the Oct. 26th deadline. Click here for more information.

CDC Approves Additional Boosters and Mixing/Matching of Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines on Oct. 21st. Click here for more information, including new State vaccination guidance addressing the newly authorized boosters and details on the Department of Health’s (DOH) Oct. 27th COVID-19 Vaccination Program enrollment webinar for non-New York City health care providers.

CDC Issues Updated Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

On Oct. 15th, the CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated people to recommend that these individuals get tested five to seven days after close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The previous guidance had recommended testing after three to five days. The CDC also provides additional information describing what vaccines qualify individuals as fully vaccinated and how to interpret vaccine records. These changes are reflected on the agency’s “When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated” webpage as well.

CDC Updates List of Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19

On Oct. 14th, the CDC updated its list of underlying medical conditions that put adults of any age at higher risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. The updates were made based on evidence from published reports, scientific articles in press, unreviewed pre-prints, and internal data.

Updates to the following conditions were completed based on evidence published between Dec. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2021:

  • Chronic lung disease (including bronchiectasis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary embolism, and tuberculosis) and chronic liver disease (including cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, and autoimmune hepatitis)
  • Mental health disorders (such as mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders)

No conditions were removed from the previous underlying medical conditions list.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Updates

HERDS Reporting for Home Care and Hospice Moves to Once a Week

The Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey for licensed home care services agencies (LHCSAs), certified home health agencies (CHHAs), and hospices will now be required on a weekly basis. Reporting will be on Tuesdays only, opening at 8 a.m. with a closing deadline of 2 p.m. The changes take effect this week, on Oct. 26th. As a reminder, Assisted Living Program (ALP) LHCSAs serving only their residents do not have to complete this LHCSA survey.

DOH Issues First Quarterly Report on HCBS eFMAP Spending

DOH’s Oct. 18th quarterly report on HCBS Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (eFMAP) spending to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides progress and activity updates, modifications to spending proposals, lessons learned, plans for sustainability, and individual activity updates for each spending proposal. Click here for more information.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

Join LeadingAge National for a Special CSP Call on Thurs., Oct. 28th

With key Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) deadlines approaching for COVID-19 Supplemental Payments (CSPs), LeadingAge National will host a special call to review member questions about COVID-19 reimbursements on Thurs., Oct. 28th at 1 p.m. ET. During the call, staff will review HUD’s CSP Notice, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and request form and identify outstanding questions about CSPs. The discussion will cover both operating and capital expenses eligible for reimbursement, including internet connectivity costs. Click here for more information.