To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: DPH Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Licensure Regulations; Renewal of Expired and Expiring Licenses; HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund FAQs
Date: October 30, 2020
DPH Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Licensure Regulations
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed licensure regulations for Monday, November 9, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. Due to the COVID State of emergency the hearing will be conducted on a moderated conference call. The proposed regulatory changes are part of EOHHS’ Accountability and Supports 2.0 rate reform and policy package which is investing up to $145 million for quality nursing home care. Specifically, the proposed LTCF licensure regulations would (1) establish minimum nursing HPPD requirements, (2) eliminate the 3rd and 4th bed in multi-bed rooms, and (3) revise minimum square footage requirements to allow for physical distancing in 2-bed rooms. The proposed changes include:
- Minimum HPPD of 3.58 hours, with sub-minimum of .508 HPPD for RN hours - the proposed regulations would require nursing facilities to maintain an HPPD of 3.58, inclusive of a sub-minimum of .508 RN hours per patient day, which aligns with CMS’ minimum cut off for 3-star ranking for staffing. EOHHS will use CMS’ definition of HPPD, inclusive of Resident Care Assistants (RCAs) and aides in training. The HPPD would take effect upon promulgation of the final regulation, with the expected effective date of on or no later than February 1, 2021.
- Require conversion of multibed rooms (3 and 4 beds) to 1 and 2-bed rooms and revise minimum square footage requirements to allow for proper physical distancing in doubles – the proposed regulations align with May 2020 amendments to the Facility Guidelines Institute’s (FGI’s) 2018 Edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction and implement other infection control best practices/standards (e.g., space beds 6 feet apart). There would be an over a one-year glide path to implementation as the proposed regulation is expected to be promulgated in January 2021, with an effective date of on or no later than January 31, 2022.
Mass Senior Care is preparing testimony in response to the proposed regulations, in regard to the impact it will have on the nursing facility provider community.
Please see below for links to the DPH website for the (1) Public Hearing Notice, (2) the Red-lined version of the draft licensure regulations and (3) Public Health Council Memo.
- MDPH Hearing Notice (DOCX) – includes instructions on how to testify orally or in writing.
- Proposed Revision – 105 CMR 150 (DOCX)
- PHC Memo – 105 CMR 150 (DOCX)
Renewal of Expired and Expiring Licenses
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a memo requiring licenses with an expiration date subsequent to March 10, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2020 to be renewed on or before December 31, 2020. Those impacted by this memo include: long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, hospice agencies, out of hospital dialysis units, adult day health programs, clinical laboratories and registrations or approvals for temporary nurse staffing agencies and nurse aide training programs.
DPH staff will process completed applications for renewal in order of receipt and issue a new license, registration, or approval when the criteria for renewal have been met. The license, registration, or approval will be dated to expire from the date of the end of the prior license, registration, or approval period. Renewal applications should be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the expiration date, or no later than November 30, 2020 to allow sufficient time for processing. If you have questions, please email: DPH.BHCSQ@MassMail.State.MA.US.
The American Heath Care Association has provided the following update. HHS recently made a significant number of updates to the Provider Relief Fund FAQs.
Notable changes include:
- New flexibility to update Provider Infection Control and SNF allocation information;
- Additional reporting guidance; and
- New CHOW information.
A document containing the new FAQs is available here.