To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Reminder to TNS Agencies; Testing of Persons with Suspect COVID-19 and Updated Comprehensive PPE Guidance
Date: July 13, 2020
EOHHS Sends a Reminder to TNS Agencies Regarding Maximum Rates
for Nursing Facilities Effective July 1st
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) today sent a communication to temporary nursing services agencies with a reminder that the temporary 2-month (May and June) COVID-19 TNS rate increase expired on June 30th. The maximum rates TNS agencies can charge nursing facilities effective July 1st are set forth in regulation 101 CMR 345.03(2). EOHHS further noted that ‘pursuant to 101 CMR 345.04, a TNS Agency may not bill, receive payments, or propose to do business with a nursing facility at a rate greater that the rates established under 101 CMR 345.03(2). If a TNS Agency violates these requirements, EOHHS may notify the Department of Public Health (DPH) to suspend or revoke the TNS Agency’s registration to operate as a temporary nursing services agency or may refer the TNS Agency to the Attorney General’s office, which may bring action to restrain or prevent the TNS Agency from operating.’ We urge members to contact the MSCA office if a TNS agency seeks to charge your facility a rate above the allowable Maximum Price set forth in the regulation.
On July 3, 2020, the DPH released an updated memo on Testing of Persons with Suspect COVID-19. This guidance includes testing requirements of admissions to healthcare facilities. Specifically, “All individuals should be tested upon admission to a healthcare facility, including but not limited to, a hospital operated or licensed by the Department of Public Health or Mental Health, long-term acute care hospital, or skilled nursing facility.”
There have been many questions for members regarding information shared on last week’s DPH call related to gown use. On July 6, 2020, the DPH released updated guidance on PPE use which includes gown prioritization language from CDC which states: “Gowns should be prioritized for the following activities:
- During care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, which typically includes aerosol generating procedures
- During the following high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of healthcare providers, such as: Dressing, bathing/showering, transferring, providing hygiene, changing linens, changing briefs or assisting with toileting, device care or use, wound care.”
DPH has indicated that the EOHHS template for PPE use developed in April for the Competency Checklist audits is no longer valid as the CDC has made several updates since then. Members should review and use the DPH guidance going forward. Please contact Helen Magliozzi with any questions.