The DPH Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Bulletin released 7/23/2021 has important updates related to Ordering COVID-19 Vaccine in Smaller Increments. The updated guidance includes: As of 7/26/21, providers will be able to order COVID-19 vaccines in smaller increments. Providers should continue to place their orders in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System(MIIS). Only order doses that you will use within 30 days.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) announced updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals yesterday. This policy is aimed at preventing transmission levels of the highly communicable and now predominant Delta variant.
The second iteration of the Healthcare Cybersecurity Monthly Calls series hosted on July 8th by the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) and the MassCyberCenter, in collaboration with Massachusetts Senior Care Association, saw our attendance more than double from the first call in June. 58 representatives from across the Massachusetts provider landscape came to hear from our discussion leaders Ron Ford – Cybersecurity Advisor for CISA New England and Sergeant Brian Gavioli of the Massachusetts State Police and Commonwealth Fusion Center, both of whom provided updates on recent cyber threats and trends. Stephanie Helm, Director of the MassCyberCenter, led a discussion around our attendees’ monthly topic of choice – Cyber Incident Response Planning.
AHCA/NCAL will host a webinar on August 11 at 3 PM Eastern focused on the recent report, Invest in Trust: A Guide for Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust Among Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). The report’s lead researcher will share key findings from the report that was commissioned by the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network.
Mass Senior Care is pleased to announce that, in recognition of long term care providers extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, New Kids on the Block and the Dell Technologies Heroes Program have made available 200 complimentary tickets to nursing facility staff to attend the New Kids on the Block concert on Friday, August 6th at Fenway Park.
For a study of how nursing home palliative care was impacted by COVID-19, a recent Brandeis graduate is seeking Directors of Nursing to participate in a 30-minute Zoom interview, and will thank participants for their time with a $25 Amazon gift card. Your first-hand accounts of what is happening during the crisis can contribute to support for nursing home palliative care moving forward.
As the number of Covid-19 cases rise in communities across the Commonwealth, Mass Senior Care would like to remind nursing facilities to review and assess their infection prevention systems including redoubling efforts to increase vaccination rates; consider testing visitors and all unvaccinated staff prior to each shift using BinaxNow kits; and to develop staffing contingency plans in the event of an outbreak.
The Stoughton Journal interviewed Steven Tyer, Administrator at Copley at Stoughton, and Mass Senior Care Board Member about how the nursing facility is emerging and moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had heroes,” Tyer said. “You know who you could count on. Some of the aides worked 60-hour weeks during the darkest days of the pandemic.”
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) announced updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals yesterday, AHCA/NCAL will host a webinar on August 11 at 3 PM Eastern focused on the recent report, Invest in Trust: A Guide for Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust Among Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Mass Senior Care wanted to make you are aware of a virtual job fair that the MassHire system is hosting on August 16-20, 10AM-2PM each day, and director of nursing Input needed for a palliative care study.
The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has issued to Massachusetts employers a COVID-19 Recovery Assessment Rate letter. This letter implements the legislative fix last May 28th that addressed the issue of higher than anticipated solvency assessments in the first quarter of calendar year 2021. Solvency assessments unexpectedly increased from .58 percent in 2020 to 9.23 percent in 2021.
On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing heard public testimony on Mass Senior Care supported Nursing Home Stabilization and Nursing Home Quality Job Initiative bills Lawn. These bills would modernize the state’s nursing facility funding formula to better reflect the current cost of quality resident care, allow facilities to hire more staff and would establish a “quality job” for nursing facility staff by providing a living wage and career growth opportunity.
MassHealth has updated the application packet for health benefits for seniors and people needing long-term-care services (SACA-2), effective July 2021. The following changes were made in the July 2021 version of the SACA-2:
The DPH has released guidance for a dialysis facility to provide home dialysis services to nursing home residents. The dialysis facility must do so under a written agreement with the nursing home. The dialysis facility must maintain direct responsibility for the dialysis related care and services provided to the nursing home residents.
With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in MA and across the country, Mass Senior Care wants to remind members to stay vigilant in your precautions to keep your residents and staff safe and protected. Facilities should follow the most up-to-date CDC, CMS and DPH guidelines and ensure continued use of infection control protocols, including proper use of personal protective equipment (including source control masks), social distancing, screening staff and visitors and testing.
Secretary of Health and Human Services renewed the ongoing federal Public Health Emergency effective July 20, 2021, DPH released updated guidance on the implementation of the Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding Control of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities, additional measures to prevent Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission in long-term care facilities in Barnstable County, and temporary licenses granted to nurses during the COVID-19 public health emergency will expire on September 15, 2021.
Governor Charlie Baker is currently reviewing the FY 2022 budget recommendation. Please urge Governor Baker to sign into law two important nursing facility provisions in Medicaid Line Item 4000-0601 which would set Medicaid nursing facility rates using more current 2019 costs and provide an rate add-on for nursing facilities caring for over 75% of Medicaid residents. Take Action Now!
AHCA will be having Part 2 of their Food and Nutrition Survey webinar on August 12th. This presentation identifies top citations in food and nutrition services including recent F880 Infection Control tags. As states open up annual surveys, this presentation gives you the tools to be ready. Registration is only available to AHCA/NCAL members.
Register for Mass Senior Care's upcoming DNS Strategies for Success: Building Nursing Leadership series and the Living Life to the End with Dignity, Respect and Understanding series for long term care staff. Don't miss these programs!
DPH released clinical guidance regarding management of COVID-19 recovered individuals in long-term care facilities, non-acute hospitals and other congregate facilities who test positive again more than 3 months after their original symptom onset or original positive test, CMS released minor updates to is Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment FAQs, and a reminder about the DPH Monthly Call.
The Legislature yesterday adopted its FY 2022 budget recommendation and Mass Senior Care is pleased to report that the Legislature has recommended appropriating additional funding to set Medicaid nursing facility rates using calendar year 2019 costs and to provide an additional rate add on for facilities with a disproportionate share of Medicaid residents totaling over 75%.
On May 28, 2021, the Commonwealth enacted a COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave law, and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing has scheduled a virtual hearing on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 11:00am.
Patient Safety Beat is a monthly email newsletter from the Betsy Lehman Center, a state agency working to improve health care safety across Massachusetts. Recent stories highlight timely issues such as vaccination efforts in long-term care, visitation policies during and after the pandemic, and peer support for patients and families.
This week, Mass Senior Care members, Legacy Lifecare and Sherrill House, announced their organizations will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Legacy Lifecare operates a network of not-for-profit organizations including Chelsea Jewish Lifecare of Chelsea and Peabody, JGS Lifecare of Longmeadow, Deutsches Altenheim of West Roxbury, and Elizabeth Seton Residence and Marillac Residence of Wellesley. And, Sherrill House is a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation center in Boston.
On June 30, 2021, a memorandum issued by EOEA Secretary Dr. Elizabeth Chen, provided an update on the free, online training course for providers to prevent and eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
MassHealth has created two grids as a resource for nursing facility providers in regard to MassHealth eligibility, and the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Portal is now open for providers to report fund use for April 10, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs yesterday held a public hearing on 18 bills related to long term care facilities, many of which proposed higher minimum staffing requirements, care team planning requirements, new technology standard to foster communication between residents and their loved ones, new square footage requirements, and changes in suitability requirements for ownership changes, and a workforce survey.
Brighten A Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which lifts the spirits of nursing facility and assisted living residents by sending them love, hope, and joy through cards, letters, gifts, conversations, video messages, devices, care packages, and more. During her freshman year of high school, Hita Gupta started Brighten A Day which has now grown into a national organization with thousands of volunteers of all ages from locations across the country. To date, Brighten A Day has brought smiles to
Fully vaccinated Massachusetts residents can register to win cash prizes or college scholarships in the state’s VaxMillions Giveaway starting on Thursday, July 1st. Fully vaccinated Massachusetts residents who are 18 and older can enter the giveaway to win one of five $1 million cash prizes, and residents ages 12-17 can enter to win one of five $300,000 college scholarships in the form of a 529 college savings plan, per the giveaway rules. To promote the Mass VaxMillions Giveaway in your facility, download a promotional flyer which you can print and post in your facility.
The Department of Public Health has indicated that an increasing number of nursing facilities are failing to both report weekly to CHIA on surveillance testing and failing to test 90% of unvaccinated staff, Mass Senior Care would like to remind nursing facilities that the use of face masks for source control is still required by the DPH, and register for July 13th OSHA Webinar.
Mass Senior Care would like to remind nursing facilities that the use of face masks for source control is still required by the DPH regulation. The updates to the DPH Guidance for Caring for Residents during the COVID-19 Response includes the following:
The new AHRQ Toolkit to Improve Antibiotic Use in Long-Term Care offers a step-by-step approach to help facilities start or revitalize an antibiotic stewardship program. Using the Four Moments of Antibiotic Decision Making, facilities can identify critical time periods to help prescribers make decisions about antibiotic therapy.
In honor of National Nursing Assistant Week on June 17-24, Rose Marie Pardo, resident at Hancock Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Quincy, calls for legislation and funding to pay CNAs a living wage. Her op-ed, CNAs are heroes: It’s time to pay them a living wage, was published in The Patriot Ledger last week.
Yesterday, Tom Lavallee, Mass Senior Care’s Board Chair and COO of Alliance Health Management, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Polar Park in Worcester. The LTC Appreciation Night at the Worcester Red Sox game was hosted by ProCare LTC Pharmacy, a Mass Senior Care Associate Member. The great event was attended by over 100 long term care leaders and professionals across the State.
Meet Seana Hall who is one of the 45,000 dedicated caregivers providing care and vital companionship to the Commonwealth’s nursing home residents. Seana has recently been promoted from Activities Director to Director of Admissions at Briarwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Needham. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Seana implemented creative activities to ensure residents living at Briarwood had a sense of normalcy and stayed connected with their family members and loved ones, including dance parties, bingo in the hallway, and a
For the first time in 50 years the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to address exposure to COVID-19 to workers in health care settings. Although temporary, the standard will be enforced effective July 6, 2021, and fully enforced on July 21, 2021.
The Baker Administration today announced that effective July 1st the weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report will be discontinued, and MassHealth issued a reminder that it is in the process of making numerous patient paid amount (PPA) adjustments for the period April 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020 for MassHealth members and requested that facilities do not make any changes to a MassHealth member’s PPA until you receive a Notice of Financial Liability (NFL) notice.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to address exposure to COVID-19 to workers in health care settings, CMS issued an updated memo (QSO-20-41-ALL) this week that provides new guidance around when an inpatient provider may be exempted from its next required full-scale exercise, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) will make multiple updates and modifications to reporting modules, and Mass Senior Care shares CNA training opportunities.
Yesterday the DPH issued updated Comprehensive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance. It is expected that these changes are implemented no later than July 1, 2021. Mass Senior Care recommends members review the guidance closely.
Today, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced the 2021 Silver - Achievement in Quality award recipients. This year, 50 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), 13 assisted living communities (ALs), and one SNF/AL in 28 states achieved the Silver Award. Two Mass Senior Care member facilities have been recognized this year, including Charlene Manor Extended Care Facility in Greenfield and Sunrise of Wayland in Wayland.
The Conference Committee is currently reconciling the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget recommendations of the House and Senate. Mass Senior Care has contacted the Conferees to urge them to include in the final Conference report (1) an update to the MassHealth nursing facility funding formula using 2019 costs and (2) a rate add-on for facilities that care for a disproportionate share of MassHealth nursing facility residents. These two sections would continue to build upon the Legislature’s efforts to modernize and stabilize the nursing facility sector by better recognizing current care costs, in order to make necessary investments in our workforce and improve resident experience and quality outcomes.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is investing in workforce grants in critical sectors, including health care, to prepare individuals to secure employment, support their families, and contribute to the state’s post-pandemic economic recovery. If you have questions about these programs or want assistance developing a training pipeline strategy to meet your CNA hiring needs, please contact Jennifer Chen, Director of Membership.