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Sept. 21st 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 Sept. 20th, 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, please send them to Ami Schnauber, and be sure to check your email for the access information, or contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

DOH Issues FAQs Regarding State Vaccination Mandate

On Sept. 20th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued the anticipated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding the Aug. 26th Emergency Regulations related to Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission by Covered Entities, which mandate COVID-19 vaccination for multiple health care provider types and settings. The FAQs answer several of the questions LeadingAge NY posed to the Department. Click here for more information.

LeadingAge NY Urges Commissioner to Make a Plan for Staffing Crisis in Member Organizations

On Sept. 21st, LeadingAge NY sent a letter to DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker regarding the State’s vaccination mandate and workforce crisis for LTPAC providers. In the letter, we continue to sound the alarm regarding the workforce crisis our members are experiencing across the continuum. We also urge the State to set aside the State-specific mandate and instead await the federal vaccination mandates, which will be issued in just a few weeks. While this will not solve the workforce crisis, it does allow more time, avoids conflicting and confusing guidance, and could obviate the need for the current legal challenges underway. LeadingAge NY will continue to raise your concerns in our interactions with the Governor's Office, DOH, and the Legislature and keep you apprised of any developments.

Pfizer Vaccine Boosters Expected Soon; Updated Vaccine Wastage Guidance Issued

On Sept. 17th, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine for individuals age 65 and older, those considered at “high risk of severe COVID-19,” and those who work in settings that make them more likely to get infected. Click here for more details on this development as well as information about newly released guidance for entities enrolled in the State Vaccination Program.

HHS to Begin Accepting PRF Phase 4 Applications on Sept. 29th

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the division of HHS that administers the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), will begin accepting applications for the next round of PRF funding on Sept. 29th. The application portal will remain open for four weeks. Click here for more information.

FEMA Resource for COVID-19-Related Funeral Expenses

LeadingAge NY wanted members to be aware that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020. To apply for funeral assistance, applicants will need to call the toll-free COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333. Callers should plan on spending at least 15 minutes for this process.

Applicants may qualify if:

  • They are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses on or after Jan. 20, 2020; and
  • The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, including the U.S. territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by, or was likely the result of, COVID-19.

Click here for more information on this benefit. Information is provided in multiple languages.

Nursing Home Updates

State Issues New Request Process for Monoclonal Antibody Therapies

This week, DOH issued Guidance to Providers on How to Request COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics providing a new process to obtain supply of the therapies. Click here for more information.

CDC Releases Update on Ending Isolation

On Sept. 14th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an update to its interim guidance entitled “Ending Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19.” The update, available here, combines guidance on ending isolation and precautions for adults with COVID-19 and ending home isolation webpages and provides evidence for expanding these recommendations to include children. Click here for more information.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

HUD Announces New Round of COVID-19 Payments for Housing Providers

In the fourth and anticipated final round of COVID-19 Supplemental Payments, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) responded to LeadingAge requests for changes, including an extended request deadline and expanded uses of funds. Providers can complete expenditures by Oct. 31st and submit requests by Nov. 19th. Click here for more information from LeadingAge National.