To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: MassHealth Issues Nursing Facility Bulletin for New Targeted Isolation Space Program; CMS Releases Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Guidance; DPH HCFRS System Upgrade Scheduled for October 18, 2020; Register Now for Important Respiratory Protection Program Webinar.
Date: October 9, 2020
MassHealth Issues Nursing Facility Bulletin for New
Targeted Isolation Space Program
MassHealth today 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.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on October 8th announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program as required by the recently enacted Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act. CMS expanded the AAP Program on March 28, 2020 and gave these loans to healthcare providers and suppliers in order to combat the financial burden of the pandemic. Providers were originally required to make payments starting in August of this year, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued. After that first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25 percent of Medicare payments otherwise owed to the provider or supplier for eleven months. At the end of the eleven-month period, recoupment will increase to 50 percent for another six months. If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of four percent.
For questions related to the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, CMS has established COVID-19 hotlines at each MAC that are operational Monday through Friday to assist all providers with accelerated or advance payment concerns. Providers can contact the MAC that services their geographic area(s). To locate designated MAC areas, refer to the MAC Contact section of this document or visit the MAC website list.
Today, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Health Care Facility Reporting System (HCFRS) released a memo related to a HCFRS system upgrade scheduled for October 18, 2020. This upgrade will provide enhancements that will improve system performance. A supplemental guide that describes a summary of changes, as well as supplemental video tutorials, will soon be available on the HCFRS webpage. The current version of HCFRS will remain operational until October 18, 2020. After this date the upgraded application will be made available for use. Current users of HCFRS can access the upgraded application using their same login credentials via the Virtual Gateway. There will be no changes to users' accounts.
While transitioning on October 18th the system will be down and is expected to be operational the morning of Monday, October 19th. Users attempting to enter data during the transition period are encouraged to log into the system on October 19th and enter the data. Additionally, during this transition period, users must continue to notify DPH immediately by phone in the event of an unanticipated death, full or partial evacuation, or Code Black (hospitals only). Please review the HCFRS User Manual and Changes – October 2020 for additional information.
Register Now for Important Webinar:
DOES YOUR RESPIRATORY PROTECTION PROGRAM MEET OSHA STANDARDS?
OCTOBER 27, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Please join us for a webinar on October 27, 2020 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm as Marvin Lewiton, Industrial Hygiene Supervisor, from the On-Site Consultation Program, MA Department of Labor Standards reviews the required components of a respiratory protection program including the use of respirators and OSHA fit-testing requirements.
Please click here to register.