To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: EOHHS Posts 2021 Medicaid Rate File for Individual Facilities; MassHealth Isolation Space Program; and Flu Vaccination Distribution Plan
Date: October 17, 2020
EOHHS Posts 2021 Medicaid Rate File for Individual Facilities
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services has posted on its nursing facility provider rate webpage the rate year 2021 rate file for each nursing facility. The proposed 2021 Medicaid rate regulation will invest significant funds in Rate Year 2021 (RY 2021), ranging up to $145 million, for quality nursing home care covering (1) a new integrated rate structure for the RY 2021 rate and beyond, and (2) targeted COVID-19 Supplemental Funding. The EOHHS proposal builds upon prior Accountability and Supports programs designed to promote and ensure quality nursing home care. The regulation is expected to be officially adopted later this month via emergency authorization with a retroactive effective date of October 1, 2020.
REMINDER: MassHealth Issues Nursing Facility Bulletin
for New Targeted Isolation Space Program
MassHealth last week issued Nursing Facility Bulletin 150, which delineates the requirements for participation for the new targeted Isolation Space Program.The original Isolation Space program ended on September 30th. Under the new Isolation Space Program, EOHHS will identify a subset of facilities to ensure regional access to isolation space facilities. To be designated as a qualifying nursing facility, the provider must attest to its compliance with eligibility criteria specified in the Bulletin. The eligibility criteria include:
- The nursing facility had a DPH Nursing Facility Survey Performance Tool quality rating score of at least 120 as of July 1, 2020.
- The nursing facility received an “in adherence” determination for all infection control audits conducted in accordance with MassHealth Nursing Facility Bulletin 145 and has no infection control deficiencies identified by DPH through the COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes required by CMS.
- The nursing facility has established a separate isolation space within the nursing facility in which it can isolate and care for COVID-19 positive residents.
- The isolation space established by the nursing facility consists of one or more isolated wing, unit, or floor that creates meaningful separation between the isolation space in which the facility isolates the COVID-19 positive residents and the space in which the facility provides care to those who are confirmed COVID-19 negative or who are not suspected to be infected with COVID-19. A curtain or a moveable screen does not provide meaningful separation.
- The isolation space established by the nursing facility contains at least 10 licensed beds for COVID-19 positive residents.
- The nursing facility will not deny admission to a member (including MassHealth Limited members) or other person seeking admission because they are confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, regardless of whether the individual is entering from a hospital, the community, or another setting, unless the nursing facility documents that it does not have sufficient bed capacity, or clinical capacity to safely provide appropriate services to such person.
In order for MassHealth to approve a provider as a qualified nursing facility eligible to operate an isolation space, a nursing facility administrator or other appropriate representative must attest to the criteria specified in the Bulletin which is included as Appendix A, and must submit the executed form via email to Christine Kim at email@example.com by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 30, 2020. Upon notification from MassHealth that the provider’s attestation has been approved, the provider will be eligible for the supplemental payment as of the date of approval. MassHealth will review attestation submissions in the order they are submitted. Therefore, providers are encouraged to submit attestations earlier than the due date, in order to be approved as a qualifying nursing facility and receive the supplemental payment more quickly.
White House Announces Vaccination Distribution Program for LTC Residents
On Friday, October 16, the White House announced the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program—a national vaccine distribution program for long term care residents.
The COVID-19 vaccine will likely become available in phases over the coming months. To prepare, the federal government has partnered with CVS and Walgreens to distribute and administer the vaccine to residents in long term care facilities. This program is free of charge and covers all of the reporting requirements associated with the vaccine. Vaccination for health care workers will be handled by states, and likely take place in early phases of distribution.
Starting on Monday, October 19, long term care facilities (nursing homes, assisted living communities, ICF/IIDs and other congregate settings for older adults) will have two weeks to register with the CDC on how they want to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Nursing homes will be able to register through the NHSN website, while assisted living communities and other congregate settings can register through an online survey.
Long term care facilities are strongly encouraged to participate and register as soon as the portals open. This is critical to ensuring our vulnerable residents are among the first to receive a vaccine when it becomes available.
- Compile the necessary information for the nursing home and assisted living portals, to inform CDC about your resident population
- Register now for one of AHCA “Office Hours” on ACHA/NCAL Education - AHCA has secured multiple times over the next two weeks with CDC staff to help answer your questions about this vaccination program.