As efforts continue to increase staff vaccination rates in long term care, AHCA/NCAL has created new materials to help support long term care providers. Three new handouts cover common questions raised by staff members when considering whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
CMS officials have announced that all nursing home staff must be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid program. Additional details are expected to be announced.
Mass Senior Care is offering a robust calendar of upcoming educational program to provide long term care staff with the most up-to-date information on clinical, regulatory, financial and legal issues. The programs below are now open for registration, please firstname.lastname@example.org if you need additional information.
CMS officials have announced that all nursing home staff must be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid program, and testing and vaccination mandate reminders.
CHIA updated the Surveillance Testing Reporting Requirements pursuant to the Department of Public Health’s guidance issued on August 4, 2021, Updates to Long-Term Care Surveillance Testing, the DPH has rescinded the Updates for Patients Receiving COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibodies Therapeutic Infusions, Bamlanivimab/Etesevimab and REGEN-COV (Casirimab/Imdevimab), memorandum dated April 13, 2021, effective August 16, 2021, and Mass Senior Care Webinar: Ask the Experts: Legal Update on the Massachusetts Nursing Home Staff Vaccination Mandate
The DPH has updated COVID-19 guidance for healthcare providers in response to the increasing number of cases and community transmission in Massachusetts, and a reminder the next DPH monthly call with providers is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.
The DPH released updated guidance on Updated COVID-19 Personnel Vaccination Requirement and also released an update to the Comprehensive PPE Guidance, and in an effort to support members with surveillance staff testing, Mass Senior Care has worked with Pro EMS Solutions and The Broad Institute to establish a program for long term care providers to access kits, processing and results.
Mass Senior Care Association is pleased to host our first in-person event – the 2021 Leadership Convention at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster on Cape Cod. Please join us at this premier conference destination that offers a unique forum to exchange ideas, share experiences, earn CEUs and network with long term care professionals. The leadership program will be presented by Steven Littlehale, Chief Innovation Officer and Autumn Kerr, Clinical Consultant Quality Initiatives, Zimmet Healthcare Services Group. Steven Littlehale is an internationally known author and speaker on a broad range of health care and post-acute care topics, Steven’s ability to synthesize complex information to inspire strategic and tactical excellence has been the hallmark of his career and has established his renowned reputation as a highly effective and motivating lecturer. Facility Registration is available for facility members only, please click here for the registration form. Sponsorship Opportunities are available for Associate Members only, please click here for sponsorships.
The Public Health Council yesterday approved proposed emergency amendments to 105 CMR 150.000, Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities, to adopt Emergency Order No. 2021-4 and the Department of Public Health guidance issued on August 4, 2021, pursuant to the Order requiring nursing home personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and a reminder about the MassHire Virtual Job Fair: August 16-20.
In an effort to improve staffing, quality and oversight of facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, six U.S. senators on the Senate Finance and Aging committee earlier this week filed ‘The Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act of 2021.’ The legislation would require nursing homes to meet minimum staffing standards and would provide additional federal Medicaid funds to states to support workforce and care improvements.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week issued a report examining skilled nursing facility (SNF) performance on staffing measures, CMS reporting of staffing information on Care Compare, and Medicare payments for critical incidents. Based on its analysis, GAO recommended that Congress should consider directing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to implement appropriate payment reductions for SNFs that generate Medicare spending on potentially preventable critical incidents, primarily hospital readmissions occurring within 30 days of the SNF admission
With Governor Baker’s announcement last week mandating that all long term care staff be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 10th and the new delta variant quickly spreading in the United States, it is more important than ever to increase staff vaccination rates in long term care. To view this AHCA webinar recording on how to boost your staff vaccination rates, please click here. AHCA member login required.
As our country is once again experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases, it is imperative that we rally together to protect our most vulnerable populations. Please join AHCA/NCAL, LeadingAge, Direct Supply, Argentum, ASHA, and other leading industry leaders and professionals to learn more about the state of the virus from world-renowned medical expert and immunologist Dr. Deborah Birx. During this webinar, learn about the current state of this deadly virus and the actions that must be taken to fight against highly contagious COVID-19 variants.
Concern over the COVID-19 delta variant and recent outbreaks in long term care facilities has Rhode joining a growing list of states including Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and Washington mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment for all long term care workers. Other states including Maryland and Illinois have announced vaccine mandates for state employees working in state-operated congregate living facilities and have encouraged private employers to do the same. In addition to states, major cities including Denver, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have announced vaccine mandates for all nursing facility workers.
Concern over the COVID-19 delta variant and recent outbreaks in long term care facilities has Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and Washington join a growing list of states mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment for all long term care workers.
The NHSN announced new changes coming this fall to the Health Care Personnel COVID-19 Vaccination Cumulative Summary, the IRS updated its Frequently Asked Questions on the paid sick and family leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, AHCA webinar on boosting staff vaccination rates, and Massachusetts Virtual Job Fair through the MassHire system from August 16-20, 10AM-2PM each day.
The next healthcare cybersecurity call hosted by Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) and the MassCyberCenter, in collaboration with Massachusetts Senior Care Association, is scheduled for Thursday, August 12 at 10:00am, will focus primarily on current threats and ransomware at large. You can register for the call now by visiting our Zoom registration page.
The Department of Homeland Security has posted for public inspection a Federal Register notice that provides information about how to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas previously announced this 18-month designation of Haiti for TPS on May 22.
Last week a new bipartisan legislation was introduced before Congress to give Medicare patient more choice with home care. Entitled “The Choose Home Care Act of 2021”, the bill is designed to increase access to care at home by providing eligible Medicare Fee For Service beneficiaries with an additional care option following hospitalization. The proposal would expand home health services to qualifying Medicare Fee For Service patients following discharge from an acute hospital.
Governor Baker earlier this week signed into law House Bill 4017, which establishes a special commission to examine the Department of Public Health’s nursing home licensure process and requirements. This Special Commission licensure law was originally included last month as part of the State Fiscal Year 2022 budget as Outside Section 129. However, the Governor returned to the Legislature this section with proposed amendments that would have addressed certain suitability issues, in addition to establishing a Commission. The Legislature subsequently rejected the Governor’s proposed changes and re-adopted the original language establishing the Commission. The Governor has now signed this into law.
Memorandum To: Mass Senior Care Members From: Tara M. Gregorio, President Re: COVID-19 Update: DPH Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Long Term Care Facilities Date: August 4, 2021 In consideration of recent increasing indicators of community transmission and in recognition of increasing community transmission including emergence of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV2 in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is updating its COVID-19 guidance for long-term care (LTC) facilities. The significant updates are summarized below: LTCF Surveillance Testing
The Commissioner of the Department of Public Health today issued a Public Health Order requiring nursing home personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The accompanying August 4, 2021 DPH Guidance states all nursing homes must ensure that all personnel are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 10, 2021, unless such administration is medically contraindicated or the individual objects to vaccination on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief.
FDA Authorizes Expanded Use of REGEN-COV mAb (Regeneron); DPH Extends Enhanced Guidance for Barnstable County Long Term Care Facilities; DHS Announces Registration Process for Temporary Protected Status for Haiti; MassHealth Extends Deadline for PPA Adjustments and CMS SNF Open Door Forum Call This Thursday
DPH Issues Updated Vaccine Guidance; DPH Issues Advisory on Face Coverings and Cloth Masks; CMS Issues FFY 2022 Medicare SNF PPS Final Rule; MassHealth Issues Reminder on Medical Documentation for Completing MMQ
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.