To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Technology Requirement for Virtual Visits; Legislature Passes COVID-19 Reporting Bill
Date: May 28, 2020
To be eligible for the final 3 MassHealth Supplemental Payments in the ‘Up to 50%’ COVID-19 surge program which is providing up to $130 million in additional funding for a 2-month period, facilities meet certain conditions including providing all residents access to regular video conferencing by May 31, 2020, for the purpose of enabling live video communications with family members. Please note that the Round 3 clinical audits are now underway.
The purchase of tablet computers or similar technology is considered a permissible use of these supplemental payments and we encourage all facilities to review their current technology capacity to ensure that all residents have access to video conferencing on a regularly scheduled basis. Please keep in mind that infection control protocols must be adhered to when staff are assisting residents with these virtual visits.
Massachusetts Legislature Passes COVID-19 Reporting Bill, Sent to Governor Baker For Review and Action
After weeks of negotiation, the Massachusetts Legislature has passed House Bill 4672, An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collection and Disparities in Treatment. The bill is now laid before Governor Baker for his review and action. This bill would direct the MA Department of Public Health to compile data each day on the COVID-19 outbreak from local boards of health and any entities over which it has regulatory authority including nursing facilities and long term care facilities licensed under DPH. It requires this data to include the number of tests administered, positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, along with demographic information; directs DPH to publish daily reports outlining this data on its website, with breakdowns for counties, municipalities, long term care facilities and correctional facilities; requires DPH to report every two weeks to the Legislature on the implementation of these data collection efforts; establishes a task force to advise the Legislature on addressing demographic health disparities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Designated an emergency law, this bill would allow for it to take immediate effect upon passage.