With Week 3 of the 16-week Project ECHO initiative nearing completion, 300 nursing facilities from across the Commonwealth have been participating in this nationwide training program to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in nursing homes and to prepare and equip staff so that they can better protect residents and themselves.
Comparing Massachusetts to states such as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, two members of the COVID-19 Policy Alliance penned an Op Ed that ran on Cognoscenti, (WBUR's opinion and ideas site) maintaining that, while state leaders have done a lot to help nursing homes through this pandemic, support and resources has not been nearly enough.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) yesterday voted to include long term care residents and staff at the highest level of priority for the first distributions of a COVID-19 vaccine, along with health care workers. States are not required to follow the panel’s recommendations, but they typically do.
Announcements that nursing homes will be receiving notification from the DPH Vaccine Management Program related to enrolling in the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP) Agreement and CDC has made several updates on guidance for facemasks for health care personnel.
Information on the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vote to include long term care residents at the highest level of priority for the first distributions of a COVID-19 vaccine, along with health care workers and HHS release of the dollar amounts for skilled nursing facilities that received Quality Incentive Payments in September.
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center, in collaboration with DPH, is making BinaxNOW test kits available for use at nursing homes and rest homes for the purpose of testing visitors and symptomatic residents and staff, at no cost to the facilities, AHCA/NCAL has provided OSHA resources for nursing homes and members are reminded about the DPH Weekly Call.
The memo covers the EOHHS urge to continued vigilance with regards to PPE and hand hygiene as well as the CHIA notice of a holiday extension for submission of staff surveillance testing and nurse staffing data.
Touting the heroic dedication of nursing home workers, Congressman Richard Neal addressed Mass Senior Care members during the Association’s virtual Annual Meeting last week, noting that he plans to “work with his colleagues on Capitol Hill and the Biden administration to provide more financial support for the long term care sector so that facilities can secure the necessary PPE, staffing levels, and give their frontline staff higher wages.”
This memo provides information on the State updated holiday letter to long-term care families; reminds members about the first CHIA HPPD reporting submission is due by noon, Friday November 27th, discusses EOHHS supporting materials (FAQ, Template), and also provides a DPH weekly call reminder.
Announcements about the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center, in collaboration with DPH, is making BinaxNOW test kits available for use at nursing homes and rest homes for the purpose of testing visitors and symptomatic residents and staff, at no cost to the facilities, and DPH updated guidance on surveillance testing in long-term care facilities.
Information on county positivity rates >5% in three counties, CMS alert regarding holiday visitation, DPH Holiday Letter to LTC and congregate care families, and the opportunity for nursing facilities that did not register for the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program with CVS & Walgreens for COVID-19 vaccination via NHSN
A memo on the Department of Public Health update to previously-issued guidance from November 13th regarding admissions, safety protocols and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) release of a one-pager on frequently cited standards related to COVID-19 inspections.
Memo discusses DPH revised guidance on Public Health Order, DPH updated guidance on Caring for LTC Residents during COVID-19 emergency, MassHealth updated nursing facility bulletin for new targeted Isolation Space Program, nursing home budget amendment included in DPH report and CMS updates.
Now that a second surge of COVID-19 has begun, it is critically important for all long-term care workers to protect themselves from becoming sick with the flu by getting the flu vaccine. As we well know, staff in long-term care facilities are at an increased risk of acquiring the flu and annual flu vaccination of both residents and staff are essential to preventing outbreaks.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed an application template for requests for the use of Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment funds to provide nursing homes with in-person visitation aids. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has developed a stream-lined nursing home application template for the approval of these funds.
Mass Senior Care has provided public testimony on the following two proposed regulations: Emergency Adoption of MassHealth Nursing Home Rate Regulations/101 CMR 206.00: Standard Payments to Nursing Facilities and Proposed Department of Public Health Amendments to 105 CMR 150.000: Standards for Long Term Care Facilities.
MassHealth has scheduled a HPPD reporting webinar on November 13th between 11am and 12pm to discuss the new reporting requirements and answer any questions providers may have. Read more for webinar details.
Updates on MassHealth Nursing Facility Bulletin 155 in regard to the requirement for nursing facilities to report on its staffing levels, including information demonstrating the facility’s average staffing hours per patient day, on a bi-weekly basis, OSHA Respiratory Protection Guidance and DPH release of a Public Health Order and guidance for Implementation of Order of the Commissioner of Public Health Regarding Control of COVID-19 in LTC facilities.
Memorandum To: Mass Senior Care Members From: Tara M. Gregorio, President Re: COVID-19 Updates: DPH Updates to Visitation Conditions, Communal Dining, and Congregate Activities in Long-Term Care Facilities Date: November 4, 2020 DPH Updates to Visitation Conditions, Communal Dining, and Congregate Activities in Long-Term Care Facilities Today, the Department of Public Health released updated guidance increasing the duration of indoor visits, visitor testing, allowing indoor group activities, so long as safety measures are followed as outlined in the memo, and
Please join us for Mass Senior Care Association’s 2020 virtual Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 19, 2020. Going virtual is a big change, but have put together a dynamic program of speakers, including the morning session featuring Congressman Richard Neal (MA-1st Congressional District) and Mark Parkinson, President & CEO of the American Health Care Association, both of whom will provide us with very timely updates on the current political and legislative climate in our nation’s Capital as well as an update on the provider community’s response to COVID-19.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed licensure regulations for Monday, November 9, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. Due to the COVID State of emergency the hearing will be conducted on a moderated conference call. The proposed regulatory changes are part of EOHHS’ Accountability and Supports 2.0 rate reform and policy package which is investing up to $145 million for quality nursing home care. Specifically, the proposed LTCF licensure regulations would (1) establish minimum nursing HPPD requirements, (2) eliminate the 3rd and 4th bed in multi-bed rooms, and (3) revise minimum square footage requirements to allow for physical distancing in 2-bed rooms.
DPH released updated guidance increasing the duration of indoor visits, visitor testing, allowing indoor group activities, so long as safety measures are followed as outlined in the memo, and updates to compassionate care visitation including examples of what might be considered compassionate care. In addition, the DPH has made it clear that long term care facilities may not implement policies for out-of-state visitors traveling to Massachusetts to visit long-term care facility residents that are more restrictive than guidelines described in Governor Baker’s Travel Order.
We invite you to join an upcoming webinar, “Protect Your Power Source: Ensuring Diesel Fuel Reliability” on November 17, 2020, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Michelle Hilger, Diesel Fuel Services Manager at Powers Guaranteed Services, will discuss the importance of ongoing fuel maintenance for long-term stored fuel, the proposed changes coming for 2022 NFPA 110 regarding diesel fuel and best practices for fuel maintenance in New England. Facilities and maintenance staff are encouraged to attend this timely webinar as we prepare for the coming winter session.
Marcum, Mass Senior Care’s 2020 Educational Partner, is presenting a complimentary two-part webinar series on November 10th and November 17th. If your organization has received Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments, you have likely visited the PRF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the HHS.gov website. If you have not visited that page for the last few days, now is the time to visit again.
Mass Senior Care is pleased to welcome new members to our Association. Our Associate Members have demonstrated their commitment to the senior care provider community by joining Mass Senior Care and participating as exhibitors and sponsors for events and educational conferences. Mass Senior Care members are encouraged to contact Associate Members when they are in need of long term care products and services. You can find all of our Associate Members listed on our website, www.maseniorcare.org/preferred-vendors.
Provides information on the DPH scheduled public hearing on the proposed licensure regulations on Monday, November 9, 2020, renewal of expired and expiring licenses as well as HHS updates to Provider Relief Fund FAQs.
As a reminder, the deadline to submit your Intent to Apply (ITA) for a 2021 National Quality Award is Thursday, November 12 by 8 pm ET. Submit your ITA payment by logging in to the Quality Award Portal. We encourage members to log in to the Portal before the deadline to avoid any delays in setting up your user account. Late payments will not be accepted.
MassHealth Nursing Facility Bulletin 150 delineates the requirements for participation for the new targeted Isolation Space Program, which replaces the original program which ended on September 30th. In order for MassHealth to approve a provider as a qualified nursing facility eligible to operate an isolation space under the new program, a nursing facility administrator or other appropriate representative must attest to the criteria specified in the Bulletin which is included as Appendix A, and must submit the executed form via
MassHealth Bulletin 154: Updated Room Density Reporting and Planning for Nursing Facilities clarified the process that facilities should follow when they are attesting to ‘exceptional circumstances’ when they file the CHIA online reporting form and attestation
Given the increased threats of cybersecurity incidents targeting U.S. hospitals and healthcare information systems, a joint cybersecurity advisory (Alert AA20-302A) has been issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This advisory describes the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by cybercriminals against targets in the Healthcare and Public Health Sector (HPH) to infect systems with Ryuk ransomware for financial gain.
Updates on HHS announcement of the first round of the $2 billion COVID-19 Infection Control incentive-based payments to nursing homes, DPH memo authorizing its testing vendor, the American Red Cross (ARC), to resume Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) testing on or about December 1, 2020, and the CDC releasement of new information on testing in nursing homes through the frequently asked questions website.
Announcements regarding the CMS development of an application template for requests for the use of Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment funds to provide nursing homes with in-person visitation aids and donated hand sanitizers are available for pick-up on Thursday.