Coronavirus

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working with the federal government​​​ to ensure nursing hom​​es, assisted living communities, and intermediate care facilities for indiv​​iduals with intellectual disabilities receive necessary supplies and guidance to prevent the spread ​of this virus.​

Visit this website regularly for the latest information that AHCA/NCAL has to share with long term care providers about COVID-19. 


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How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

 Providers

Please note tha​t skilled nursing providers should consult the guidance put forth by CMS and the CDC, and assisted living communities should consult CDC guidance. Providers should also check their local and state health departments for updates and potentially stricter guidance, but these are general, national prevention and containment tips:

 
Infection Control: Maintain i​nfection control policies and procedures, updated where needed and increase transmission-based precautions.
 
Staff: #GetVaccinated! Regularly wash your hands and use PPE where appropriate. Stay home if you're sick.​ ​
 
Limit Interactions: Implement social distancing within the facility where possible to help prevent the spread of infection.
 
PPE: Regularly review federal and state guidance on appropriate use of masks, gowns, gloves, etc. and maintain your inventory​.
 
Communicate: Report suspected or confirmed cases to authorities. Keep residents, families and staff informed about your developing situation. Prepare for media inquiries.
 
Engagement: Follow government guidelines for safe in-person visitations, keep residents connected with loved ones remotely, and offer meaningful activities adapted for this situation​.


If a staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19: Have them go home immediately. 

If a resident shows symptoms of ​COVID-19​: Implement droplet precaution, and contact the local health department. ​


 Families

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. Adaptations (e.g., limited indoor and outdoor visits) and exceptions on a case-by-case basis (e.g., end-of-life or compassionate care visits) may be made. ​We understand this is difficult, but the safety and wellbeing of your loved one is our top priority.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with them, and how you can help: 

  • Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.  
  • Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.
    • Many long term care facilities are only permitted to share information about a resident to a designated health representative. Work together as a family unit to share information to keep everyone informed.       
  • If you must come to the facility, coordinate with the staff ahead of time. Learn more about how you can prepare for a visit to a long term care facility
    • They may ask you some questions, take your temperature, have you take a COVID test, and/or make sure you’re wearing proper protective equipment (like a mask) when you arrive. This is to make sure you do not pose as a potential risk to residents and staff.  
    • If you are asked to not enter the building, please understand this is for the safety of your loved one and everyone else in the building. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are following direction from the government to prevent the spread of this virus.  
    • ​If you are permitted in, please wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately upon entering and throughout your visit. Wear a mask and any other protective equipment as directed by the facility. Avoid touching your loved ones or other individuals in the building. Again, we know this is difficult, but the virus is very contagious and social distancing is important at this time. ​
  • Do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. High community spread is linked to outbreaks in nursing homes. Follow the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others. Get the COVID-19 vaccine, when you are eligible. 
  • ​Warn your loved ones about potential scammers during this crisis and encourage them to be cautious.​

 Residents

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. We understand this is a difficult and stressful time. Those who work in long term care facilities are focused on your safety and wellbeing.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with your loved ones, and how you can help: 

  • Ask the facility about other ways you can communicate with your loved ones, whether by phone, video or social media.  
  • If you haven't already, get the COVID-19 vaccine. Your facility is working with a pharmacy or state/local officials to offer vaccinations​ and can provide more specific information about how and when this will work. 
  • Follow everyday preventive actions such as: 
    • ​Washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers 
    • Covering your cough and sneezes ​
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth 
    • Keeping 6-feet distance from other residents and staff (when possible) 
  • ​Ask other individuals (including staff) to avoid touching you with handshakes, hugs or kisses. Ask them to wash their hands. Do not be shy! It’s okay to remind people.
  • Watch out for potential scammers​ during this crisis. 
  • If you begin to experience difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell​, tell a staff member immediately.​

 

 

OSHA to Release ETS on Vaccine Mandatehttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/OSHA-to-Release-ETS-on-Vaccine-Mandate.aspxOSHA to Release ETS on Vaccine Mandate9/17/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Last week, President Biden released his COVID-19 Action Plan, including mandates for COVID-19 vaccines and/or testing for employees working for employers that have 100 or more employees. This also applies to employees that work for the federal government or healthcare entities, and/or are federal contractors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will release an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in the next 2-8 weeks for this mandate. OSHA will release an FAQ prior to issuing the ETS including how OSHA will calculate 100 employees (per building, organization, etc).  </div><div> </div><div>AHCA/NCAL will continue to monitor any activity and share additional information when it is available. In the meantime, an <a href="https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/president-bidens-covid-19-action-plan-what-employers-want-know" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">FAQ</a> addressing some of the common employer concerns regarding Biden’s Plan and the upcoming OSHA ETS is available. <br></div>Last week, President Biden released his COVID-19 Action Plan, including mandates for COVID-19 vaccines and/or testing for employees working for employers that have 100 or more employees.
Tell Us About Your COVID-19 Honors Program Ceremonies!https://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Tell-Us-About-Your-COVID-19-Honors-Program-Ceremonies!-.aspxTell Us About Your COVID-19 Honors Program Ceremonies!9/15/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>Since the March launch of the AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program, nearly 300 facilities have participated in the program to recognize their incredible staff. The past year has presented unimaginable challenges in the long term care community. Despite this, staff members across the country have shown incredible determination and dedication to the residents they care for every day. From the beginning of the COVID-19 Honors Program, AHCA/NCAL has received countless emails detailing the bravery and resilience of staff members and ways in which they’ve gone above and beyond to provide care.  <br></div><div>​<br></div><div>Tell us how you have honored your amazing staff. Share photos and videos of your COVID Honors ceremonies on AHCA/NCAL’s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ahcancal" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> with the hashtag #COVIDHonors. For those of you planning to attend the upcoming <a href="https://www.ahcaconvention.org/?utm_source=ahcancal_homepage&utm_medium=main_rotator&utm_campaign=rotator_convention" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">72nd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo</a> in October, please wear your COVID Honors lapel pins and medals.  </div><div><br></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">Planning to honor your staff in the fall? Place your COVID Honors Program order now <a href="https://www.ahcapublications.org/products.asp?dept=39" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">via the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore</a> or at the Resource Center during Convention. </span></div><p>​</p>Since the March launch of the AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program, nearly 300 facilities have participated in the program to recognize their incredible staff.
HRSA Releases Additional Phase 4 and Rural Distribution Detailshttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/HRSA-Releases-Additional-Phase-4-and-Rural-Distribution-Details.aspxHRSA Releases Additional Phase 4 and Rural Distribution Details9/15/2021 4:00:00 AM<p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Portal Opens on September 29​</strong><br></p><div>Yesterday, September 15 the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released additional details on the $25 billion September 10th announcement composed of the $17 billion Phase 4 distribution and the $8.5 billion rural distribution.   <br></div><div>​<br></div><div><strong>HRSA Updates & ​New Details </strong></div><div>The Administration provided context for the size of the distribution and the parameters for award, eligibility, and use. HRSA noted the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) has approximately $39 billion. HRSA indicated the $39 billion will be reduced by the Phase 4 $17 billion to $22 billion. However, it is likely the $8.5 billion will also reduce the unobligated to $14 billion. The unobligated remaining amount of $22 or $14 billion is impacted by the ongoing availability of payments to providers who deliver care to the uninsured. Of note, HRSA also confirmed that virtually all skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living communities (ALCs) (including private pay) are eligible for Phase 4.  ​<br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>Phase 4 Distribution</strong></div><div>Based upon parameters in the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/133/text" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Consolidated Appropriations Act</a>, Phase 4 is modeled on Phase 3 and aimed at reimbursing providers for lost revenues and expenses related to COVID-19 based on Q3-4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021.  Phase 4 is open to all providers, including new providers – “any provider or supplier of health care, services, and support in a medical setting, at home, or in the community” is eligible to apply.  Unlike the rural portion of funds, providers will not be excluded based on geography. To view a list of eligible providers, click <a href="https://akastage-www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here</a>.  <br></div><div><br></div><div>HRSA made clear that the new methodology implemented in this distribution is intended to support the Administration’s broader goals around health equity:</div><div><ul><li><strong>More generous for smaller providers </strong>– the new methodology is intended to better support smaller providers. Specifically, HHS indicates its goals for the distribution is “reimbursing smaller providers….at a higher rate compared to larger providers.” HRSA is defining “small, medium and large” providers by the volume of Medicaid and Medicare patients served during the performance period.  Additional details on these delineations will be provided by HRSA next week.  <br></li><li><strong>Bonus payments based on services to Medicaid/Medicare payments </strong>– the methodology is also intended to reward those providers serving Medicare and Medicaid patients at a higher rate (vs. commercially insured). </li></ul></div><div><br></div><div>HRSA also views Phase 4 as two allocations and Phase 4 awards will be calculated based on two different methodologies:</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>75% calculated based on revenue losses and COVID-related expenses ($12.75 billion).<br></li><li>25% put towards bonus payments that are based on the amount and type of service provided to Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare patients ($4.25 billion).<br></li></ul></div><div></div><div>For more details on the sub-allocations, click <a href="https://akastage-www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here</a>.  </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Rural Distribution </strong></div><div>Of the $25 billion, $8.5 billion is specified by the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">American Rescue Plan Act</a> – the large, COVID-19 relief package Congress passed in March – for “rural providers.”  HRSA noted that “rural provider” means providers who meet their definition of rural as well as providers who deliver care to rural patients as well as an additional bonus payment based upon the number of Medicaid and Medicare patients.  Providers may determine whether their locations are considered rural by inputting their address into HRSA’ <a href="https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health?tab=Address" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Rural Provider Validator</a>. Payments to providers who serve rural patients will be based upon the number of rural patients served during the performance period.  SNFs that provide Medicaid or Medicare financed care and ALCs who provide Medicaid financed care are eligible.  HRSA indicated that due to the heavy emphasis on the number of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries served during the performance period, it is unlikely private ALC will be eligible.  </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Applying for Funding & Award Timing </strong></div><div>Though the funding opportunities are separate and distinct, HHS will use a single application portal for providers to apply for funding.  HRSA plans to release application guidance (including more detail on the award methodology) the week of September 20 with the <strong>application portal opening on September 29.  </strong>The portal will remain open for four weeks, or until November 20.  HRSA anticipates releasing Rural Distribution awards by mid-November and Phase 4 distribution awards by mid-December.  </div><div> </div><div><strong>Other PRF Information</strong><strong></strong></div><div><em>Phase 3 Reconsideration</em></div><div>As part of the September 10 announcement, HRSA noted it will reconsider Phase 3 awards.  While the reconsideration process and materials are not yet available, providers may email HRSA, now, at <a href="mailto:prfreconsideration@hrsa.gov" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">prfreconsideration@hrsa.gov</a> to indicate they will be requesting reconsideration and to be included in a reconsideration email distribution list.  <br></div><div><br></div><div><em>Grace Period for Reporting  </em></div><div>Provider Relief Fund awardees <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/reporting-auditing" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">are required to submit reports</a> to HHS that documents whether a provider’s lost revenue and expenses match the awards received.  Technically, reports still are due on September 30.  HRSA is providing a penalty-free grace period until November 30.  However, providers are encouraged to submit reports if they are ready to do so.  </div><p>​<br></p>
HHS Distributes Phase 4 Provider Relief Fundhttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/HHS-Distributes-Phase-4-Provider-Relief-Fund.aspxHHS Distributes Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund9/10/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it​ will be releasing Phase 4 of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Phase 4 consists of $17 billion for providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic. HHS has also created an option for reconsideration of Phase 3 awards and extended the due date for the first PRF Reports, formerly due on September 30, 2021, by 60 days. It is also possible rural SNFs and assisted living communitie​s may be eligible for the $8.5 for rural providers.​ </div><div><br></div><div>Consistent with the requirements included in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, PRF Phase 4 payments will: </div><div><ul><li>​Be based on providers’ lost revenues and coronavirus-related expenditures between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. </li><li>Reimburse smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers. </li><li>Also include bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare patients, who tend to be lower income and have greater and more complex medical needs. </li><ul><li>HRSA will price these bonus payments at the generally higher Medicare rates for Medicaid and CHIP patients to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors.​<br></li></ul></ul></div><div>Similarly, HRSA will make American Rescue Plan (ARP) rural payments to providers based on the amount of Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare services they provide to patients who live in rural areas as defined by the <a href="https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health?tab=Address" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">HHS Federal Office of Rural Health Policy</a>. Accordingly, ARP rural payments will also generally be based on Medicare reimbursement rates.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Applications</strong></div><div><br>The application portal will open on September 29, 2021. Virtually, all health care providers should be eligible to apply for funding in this distribution. Even providers who received funding previously may be newly eligible for consideration. In order to expedite and streamline the application process, <strong>providers will apply for both programs in a single application</strong>. HRSA will use existing Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare claims data in calculating payments. To help ensure that these provider relief funds are used for patient care, PRF recipients will be required to notify the HHS Secretary of any merger with or acquisition of another health care provider during the period in which they can use the payments. Providers who report a merger or acquisition may more likely be audited to confirm their funds were used for coronavirus-related costs, consistent with an overall risk-based audit strategy.</div><div><br></div><div>To promote transparency in the PRF program, HHS is also releasing <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/provider-relief/phase-3-methodology-overview.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">detailed information</a> about the methodology utilized to calculate PRF Phase 3 payments. Providers who believe their PRF Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly according to this methodology will now have an opportunity to request a reconsideration. Further details on PRF Phase 3 reconsideration process are forthcoming.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>September 30 Report Due Date Delayed </strong></div><div><br></div><div>In light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS announced today a 60-day grace period to help providers come into compliance with their PRF <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/reporting-auditing" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">reporting obligations</a> if they fail to meet the September 30, 2021 deadline for the first PRF Reporting Time Period. While the deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change, HHS will not initiate recoupment or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Additional Phase 4 Information</strong></div><div><br></div><div>AHCA will have more detail on the Phase 4 award methodology available next week, including possible rural SNF and ALC eligibility for the $8.5 billion aimed at rural providers. For now, additional resources and information can be found at the PRF Phase 4 announcement <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/09/10/hhs-announces-the-availability-of-25-point-5-billion-in-covid-19-provider-funding.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">webpage</a>, at the PRF Reporting <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/reporting-auditing" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">webpage​</a>, or by calling the Provider Support Line at (866) 569-3522, for TTY dial 711. Hours of operation are 8 AM to 10 PM CT, Monday through Friday.<br></div>Today, HHS announced they will be releasing Phase 4 of the PRF.

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