Summary of April 2 Guidance from CMS and CDC

Courtesy of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care On April 2, CMS and CDC issued a new set of recommendations after learning from on-site surveys that more needs to be done to prevent further spread of COVID-19.  Major highlights of this guidance are presented below. Advocates are urged to read the full guidance. Nursing homes should ensure they are complying with all CMS and CDC guidance about infection control, with a particular focus on hand hygiene.State and local leaders should work together to help address nursing home needs for PPE and tests.Facilities should screen every single person entering the facility (with the exception of EMS personnel responding to an emergency).Access points should be limited and have screening stations.PPE should be used to a greater extent.All staff must wear facemasks.Staff must wear full PPE:To care for a resident with COVID-19.To care for all residents when there is COVID-19 transmission in the facility.Residents should wear facemasks:If and when they leave the room regularly for care (e.g.

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COVID-19 Long-Term Care Facility Guidance

April 2, 2020 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are issuing new recommendations to State and local governments and long-term care facilities (also known as nursing homes) to help mitigate the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Long-term care facilities are a critical component of America’s healthcare system.

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Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities. – Roger Severino, OCR Director. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for enforcing certain regulations issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, to protect the privacy and security of protected health information, namely the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules (the HIPAA Rules). 

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CMS Approves New Section 1135 Waivers & HCBS Waiver Modifications

Courtesy of Justice in Aging In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved several home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver modifications under Appendix K authority, including programs for older adults in Alaska, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Washington, and West Virginia. Justice in Aging is reviewing and summarizing the approvals pertaining to aging-focused HCBS waivers to help advocates identify both useful and problematic or unwanted modifications.

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COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: What Residents and Families Need to Know

Courtesy of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Consumer Voice is pleased to release a new publication, COVID-19 and Nursing Homes:  What Residents and Families Need to Know.  This consumer fact sheet is designed to inform both residents and their families about steps the federal government has taken to reduce the spread of the virus, what nursing homes should be doing to prevent and control COVID-19, actions residents/families can take to promote safe care, visitation, and more.

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Prioritization of Survey Activities – New CMS Guidance

Courtesy of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care The most recent CMS guidance (QSO-20-20-ALL) issued March 23, 2020 further restricts the surveys that can be conducted by State Survey Agencies (SSAs). CMS is suspending certain surveys and only conducting revisits when Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) is cited.SurveysBeginning March 20th for a three-week period (referred to as the “prioritization period”), CMS is prioritizing and only conducting the following surveys:

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Kirkland, Washington Update and Survey Prioritization Fact Sheet

Courtesy of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for the Medicare and Medicaid Programs. As part of that responsibility, CMS develops and enforces the essential health and safety standards that health care providers must meet in order to participate in the programs. In other words, providers must comply with federal standards as a requirement to receive federal reimbursement through those Programs.

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Social Security Administration Response to COVID-19

Courtesy of Justice in Aging In response to COVID-19 concerns, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has made significant changes to its operations and policies. As of Tuesday, March 17, local SSA offices are closed to the public indefinitely. SSA is also extending their deadlines for filing wherever possible. The agency is also regularly posting information about how the pandemic is affecting its services.

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