News

Category: Featured News

Welcome to the Featured News category. The following news items include major developments in the aging services world, as well as important notifications and timely reminders.

MDH Releases Guidance on Quarantine for Residents Leaving LTC for Non-Medically Necessary Outings

Today the Minnesota Department of Health published guidance entitled “Long-term Care Guidance Under Executive Order 20-99” specific to residents who leave a long-term care building for reasons other than essential medical appointments. The document references the Governor’s executive order 20-99 and makes the following points:

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COVID-19 Vaccinations: What Do We Know So Far

Receiving a vaccination is one of the most effective ways for people to protect themselves and those around them including residents. Development of a COVID-19 vaccination has been on a fast-track since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Many teams working toward vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus previously worked on vaccines for similar viruses such as the original SARS virus, influenza, and other coronavirus pathogens contributing to the speed at which vaccines for COVID-19 are developing. On November 18, 2020 Pfizer applied for the first COVID-19 vaccination emergency use authorization (EUA) and will shortly be followed by other manufacturers such as Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, and others. Currently, vaccines are projected to be available the end of December 2020 or the beginning of January 2021.

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Good News: Developments on Background Studies, Care Center Recertification Surveys

We received good news today on two fronts:

Background Studies: The Minnesota Department of Human Services will be returning to emergency COVID-19 background studies that were previously in place. The Department is finalizing its implementation plan and anticipates this will be effective Thursday morning (Nov. 19).

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Emergency Use Authorization Published for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for COVID-19

Monoclonal antibody therapy is a COVID-19 treatment that appears to prevent the progression of COVID-19 disease, decrease the length of illness, and may prevent hospitalizations. An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) was published today allowing the emergency use of monoclonal antibody therapy (Bamlanivimab) for adults and children with a positive COVID-19 test. Recipients must be 12 years of age or older or at least 40kg in weight. There are specific criteria for use of this therapy including:

  • The recipient should have a confirmed COVID-19 infection;
  • The recipient should be early in the disease progression; and
  • The recipient should be symptomatic but not severely ill.    

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DHS Posts Cost Report Information; Working on Rate Notices

DHS has posted the materials for the annual care center statistical and cost report for the year ending September 30, 2020 and the corresponding instruction manual on the DHS Nursing Facility Provider PortalDHS also indicates that there will be a Supplemental Schedule to the 2020 cost report that is not yet final but is being developed to address various issues including use of federal relief funds. DHS expects the 2020 Supplemental Schedule to be available in mid-December, and they ask that providers refrain from submitting any 2020 Cost Reports before December 15. As always, cost reports are due by February 1.

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Latest Five-Star Analysis Reports Sent to Care Centers This Week

LeadingAge sent all care center members their Five-Star Analysis reports this week. The pandemic has taken a toll on the collection and reporting of quality data, so while the staffing data is relatively new, the data on inspections and quality measures is from many months ago. We will continue to provide these reports regularly and expect CMS to be updating the data more regularly soon.

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CMS Releases PPS Rate Update for Certified Home Health Agencies

Last week, CMS released the final CY2021 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update rule. The final rule includes updates of interest to Medicare Certified Home Health Agencies. The rule:

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Election News: Balance of Power Likely to Remain the Same in MN Legislature

As of the writing of this article, votes are still being counted in several close races in St. Cloud, Rochester, Austin and a few key suburbs, however, it is looking like there will not be a major shift in party control in the Minnesota Legislature. Minnesota entered the 2020 election with the only divided Legislature in the country. DFLers were seeking to gain control over the Minnesota Senate, allowing for single party control of the state Government, something that hasn’t happened since 2013. It needed only to knock off two Republican incumbents and hold its own seats to retake the Senate.

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Clarification on Return to Work by Healthcare Personnel Exposed to COVID-19

We received a question recently asking if a healthcare worker who experiences a high risk exposure to COVID-19, but who is asymptomatic and has not tested positive for the virus, may return to work prior to the end of his or her 14-day quarantine – if staffing needs are acute. The answer is yes, but only if certain conditions are met.

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MDH Posts Additional Environmental Guidance on Indoor Visitation

In new Guidance for Selecting In-building Visitation Area in Long-Term Facilities (11/04/20) released today, MDH provides more details about divider specifications in rooms or visitation areas, as well as specifics on room ventilation and airflow diagrams.

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First Round of Infection Control Payments Headed to Nursing Homes Next Week

Federal authorities announced today that they will be distributing about $333 million in first-round infection control performance payments to more than 10,000 care centers based on their results battling the spread of COVID-19.

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Vaccine Update: Deadline Extended for COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership

Senior living and other long-term care providers now have until Nov. 6 to sign up for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

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Does an Employee’s Refusal to Test Qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

LeadingAge MN has received several questions from members regarding an employee’s refusal to participate in COVID-19 outbreak testing.

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DHS Resumes Fingerprint-Based Background Studies Today

The MN Department of Human Services (DHS) returned to fingerprint-based background studies as of 6:00 a.m. this morning (Oct. 21), and employers are no longer able to submit emergency background studies.

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Minnesota Department of Health Releases Proposed Assisted Living Licensure Rules

The Minnesota Department of Health is proposing new rules governing assisted living facilities (Chapter 4659).

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New Visitation Guidance for Nursing Homes and HWS/AL Takes Effect October 17

Both nursing homes and housing with services/assisted living settings will be hard at work this week preparing for implementation of new visitation guidance that takes for effect for both of these provider groups this Saturday, Oct. 17.

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MDH Seeks Qualified Candidates for Assisted Living Quality of Care Task Force

In a Bulletin issued October 1st, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) invites qualified candidates to apply to serve on the newly formed Resident Quality of Care and Outcomes Task Force.

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LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation Releases RFP for Rural Grant

Today, the LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation (LAMF) is releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a rural grant project called Connected Communities for Healthy Aging.

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DHS Temporarily Delays Transition Back to Fingerprint-Based Background Studies

The MN Department of Human Services (DHS) has temporarily delayed the transition back to fingerprint-based background studies.

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CDC Will Update NHSN to Accept Laboratory Test Results

Since early May care centers have been using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to report COVID-19 cases and related data to the CDC.

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