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Sept. 28th 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 Sept. 27th, 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

Updates on Staff Vaccination Mandate – Legal Challenges and Religious Exemptions

Despite legal challenges, the State’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care personnel remains in effect, with a compliance deadline of Sept. 27th for nursing homes and hospitals and Oct. 7th for other health care providers. Only the State’s prohibition on religious exemptions has been enjoined. Click here for the latest information related to the mandate as well as guidelines and a sample form for religious exemption requests developed by LeadingAge NY.

Pfizer Booster Authorized for Use

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made recommendations on Sept. 24th authorizing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster for certain eligible populations. Their final recommendation includes eligible populations as well as workers in COVID-19 high risk group and work settings, overruling the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which excluded workers in their recommendations. Eligible groups may receive the booster at least six months following completion of their primary Pfizer vaccine series and may receive it at any point after that time. Click here for more information.

Reminder: 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. Providers must submit their completed application by the final deadline of Oct. 26th at 11:59 p.m. ET. Click here for more information.

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

Governor Signs Executive Order to Address Health Care Staffing Shortages

On Sept. 27th, Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order (EO) to alleviate potential staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities statewide. The EO, available here, seeks to expand significantly the eligible health care workforce by authorizing out-of-state and retired professionals and recent graduates to practice in New York. It also allows additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Click here for more information.

DOH Issues DALs on Pfizer Booster Vaccination for Nursing Homes and ACFs

On Sept. 28th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued two Dear Administrator Letters (DALs) – one for ACFs and one for nursing homes – to facilitate and ensure a process moving forward for staff and resident primary and booster COVID-19 vaccinations. Click here for more information.

NHSN Reporting Changes

The CDC is implementing changes to the way that nursing homes report COVID-19 vaccination status data for staff and residents on the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The CDC presented a webinar on Thurs., Sept. 23rd that highlighted the upcoming changes. Click here for more information.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

HUD Updates on Fourth Round of COVID-19 Supplemental Payments

As has been previously reported, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has implemented a temporary reimbursement process called COVID-19 Supplemental Payments (CSPs) to offset costs related to COVID-19. Last week, HUD announced its fourth and likely final round of CSPs. Requests for these funds are due to HUD by Nov. 19th for COVID-19 costs incurred by Multifamily Housing providers (Project-Based Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811) prior to Oct. 31st. LeadingAge National is encouraging every affordable housing member to submit at least a standard payment request to HUD for access to these funds. Click here for more information.