To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: National Public Health Emergency Renewed – COVID-19 Waivers Extended; Mandatory Flu Vaccination of Long-Term Care Personnel; DPH Lifts Determination of Need (DoN) Moratorium on LTC Beds for Projects that Meet Certain Criteria; DPH Weekly Call Reminder; HHS Posts Application Form to Apply for Phase 3 Provider Relief Fund Resources
Date: October 6, 2020
National Public Health Emergency Renewed – COVID-19 Waivers Extended
On October 2nd, HHS formally extended the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency for another 90 days, effective October 23rd. The extension ensures that the COVID-19 related regulatory and reimbursement blanket waivers are extended. This includes waivers of staff training requirements, the 3-day stay and spell of illness.
Today, the Acting Commissioner of Public Health signed an Order requiring certain personnel to be vaccinated against influenza virus. All long-term care facilities licensed pursuant to G.L. c 111, § 71 must ensure that all personnel are vaccinated against influenza virus by December 31, 2020, unless such administration is medically contraindicated, which means administration of influenza vaccine is likely to be detrimental to the individual’s health, or vaccination is against the individual’s religious beliefs. Personnel may not otherwise decline the vaccine. Personnel means an individual or individuals employed by or affiliated with the facility, whether directly, by contract with another entity, or as an independent contractor, paid or unpaid including, but not limited to, employees, members of the medical staff, contract employees or staff, students, and volunteers who either work at or come to the licensed facility site, whether or not such individual(s) provide direct care.
Mass Senior Care Association has launched a Fight the Flu campaign to provide facilities with resources and strategies to effectively implement a facility-wide flu vaccination program. Please click here for more details. Also, if you have not yet completed Mass Senior Care’s brief flu vaccination survey, please click here to access the survey.
DPH Lifts Determination of Need (DoN) Moratorium on
LTC Beds for Projects that Meet Certain Criteria
As part of its overall 2021 nursing home rate and restructuring package, EOHHS today announced via a DPH memo that, effective immediately, the Determination of Need Program (DoN) Program will accept applications for new long-term care beds if the proposed project meets all of the following five criteria.
- Project addresses one of the following: MOUD, reducing the risk of homelessness, addressing unmet cultural needs or treating specialized populations.
- Ensuring enhanced infection control measures;
- Reserving some of the new capacity for MassHealth recipients;
- Demonstrating historical quality performance is above average; and
- Addressing of the DoN Health Priorities.
DPH is accepting public comments through October 19, 2020. Comments should be sent to: email@example.com.
DPH Weekly Call Reminder
The next weekly call with providers is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. These calls will include members of DPH’s Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, and Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management. This call is intended for long-term care facilities caring for residents with COVID-19.
Phone Number: 888-390-5007
Participant Code: 6826729
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted on its Provider Relief Program website the Application Form for Phase 3 Provider Relief Fund. On October 1, HHS previously announced an additional $20 billion distribution in new COVID-19 funding for providers. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments are invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. HHS will be accepting applications from providers from October 5, 2020 through November 6, 2020. HHS is encouraging providers to apply early.
In regard to applying, all applicants must submit their TIN and financial information to the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal . Applicants who submit by Friday, November 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET will be considered for funding. Providers are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible to expedite the calculation and distribution of payments. Providers should apply if they have lost revenues and/or increased expenses attributable to COVID-19 that have not been reimbursed by other sources.
- Most recent federal income tax return for 2017, 2018, or 2019, unless exempt
- Revenue worksheet (if required by Field 15)
- Operating revenues and expenses from patient care
Note: Providers will need to submit a new application, even if they previously submitted revenue details for a prior PRF distribution; the application has been updated to include some additional data entries in order to calculate payment based on financial impact of COVID-19.