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.

CMS Issues Blanket Regulatory Waivers to Support COVID-19 Response

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 30 issued several regulatory waivers to equip long-term care providers, hospitals and others with flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The waivers address some critical needs where our members have been asking for help, and this news from CMS was a great way for all of us to start the week!  

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MN COVIDSitters Resource

Students from the University of Minnesota have banned together to offer support to healthcare workers during COVID-19. They are serving both the metro area and central Minnesota, with a toolkit provided to teach students in other areas of the state to start a similar program. Support can be accessed via their website: www.mncovidsitters.org

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Care Center Occupancy Data Shows Decline in 2019

After showing some improvement in 2017, occupancy results for care centers that participated in the Long-Term Care Imperative annual occupancy survey have declined slightly throughout 2018 and 2019. Occupancy for 2019 was the lowest we’ve ever found, 87.1%, and it declined each quarter throughout the year. 

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Temporary Change in Ombudsmen Services

The state Ombudsmen for Long-Term Care resolve complaints, protect rights, and promote access to services for residents before, during and after emergencies like COVID-19. While the Ombudsman has temporarily discontinued in-person visits in long-term care settings under its scope of authority due to COVID-19, residents still have the right to access the Ombudsman program. Below is an excerpt from a letter for Cheryl Hennen, the state Ombudsman, and phone numbers and a brochure to share with residents and families:  

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A Fond Farewell and Debt of Gratitude to a Cornerstone of LeadingAge Minnesota

It is with both tears and cheers that we share the news that Adam Suomala will be transitioning over the course of the next two months to an exciting new opportunity in our field as he becomes the Executive Director of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MNCLOA). 

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LeadingAge MN COVID-19 HUDDLE Moves to Friday

Recognizing the number of update calls you participate in mid-week, we have moved our COVID-19 HUDDLE to Fridays.

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CMS Will Limit and Prioritize Survey Activity for Next Three Weeks

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has directed state agencies to suspend standard surveys for long term care facilities (nursing homes), hospitals, home health agencies, ICFs, and hospices during a 3-week prioritization period from March 20–April 10.  

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State Works to Inventory and Increase Availability of PPE

In an effort to ensure that Minnesota health care facilities have the resources needed to treat patients, Governor Walz this week issued Executive Order 20-16 which requires any Minnesota business, nonprofit or non-hospital health care facility – excluding nursing homes – to submit an inventory of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and donate what they are not using for critical health care or essential services. This process should result in more PPE becoming available. 

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Emergency Funding: MDH Grant Deadline is Today; New Details for Nursing Homes

The deadline to apply for the first round of emergency assistance funding from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), a total of $50 million for health care provider, is midnight TODAY.  

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CMS Waives Three Day Stay Requirement during National Emergency

As part of the national emergency declaration in response to COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that they are waiving the three-day hospital stay requirement before a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Medicare A stay. 

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MDH Issues Visitor Restrictions for Residential Settings with At-Risk Residents

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued updated guidance advising residential settings with at-risk residents, including housing with services establishments and their arranged home care providers, residential hospices, and licensed-only nursing homes, to impose strict limitations on visitation and to take other operational steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. 

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Support Resources for Staff

Now more than ever, staff may be experiencing housing, food, and childcare insecurities. If you have staff who need additional support from community organizations such as Emergency Housing Assistance, Minnesota Food Helpline, or energy assistance programs, please see the Community Support Resource Guide for referral sources.

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MDH Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Testing Criteria

Due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials, the State of Minnesota is forced to make adjustments to its testing criteria to focus on the highest priority specimens, including hospitalized patients. Health care workers and those in congregate living settings such as long-term care will also be given high priority.  

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Legislature Passes Emergency Funding Bill

The Minnesota Legislature passed HF3890 containing $200 million in resources for the health care sector to battle COVID-19. The package is comprised of two funds: 

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COVID-19: Limiting Access to Visitors

On the heels of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releasing new guidance on visitation in nursing homes, LeadingAge Minnesota urged members to restrict all non-essential visits in nursing homes and adopt the limitation suggestions for other settings such as assisted living and adult day.  

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MDH Releases Coronavirus Guidance for Adult Day Providers

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has released interim guidance for Adult Day Services and Senior Day Center settings to plan, prepare and respond to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).  

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Legislators Advance Bills in Preparation for COVID-19

There are multiple bills are moving through the Legislature in order to prepare the state for a public health response to COVID-19. The House and Senate fast-tracked nearly $21 million for a contingency fund and are now considering legislation on a health care response loan program and a peacetime public health emergency.  

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BENHA Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Rules for Licensed Assisted Living Directors

The Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators (BENHA) has published the proposed rule for Licensed Assisted Living Directors and is accepting public comments through May 4. 

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COVID-19: Response and Readiness Resources

LeadingAge Minnesota has been working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and others to help inform our work on response and readiness resources on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for aging services providers. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is estimating that US risks for the virus are low, those we serve in senior living appear to be disproportionately at risk for the most serious respiratory infections associated with COVID-19. We encourage members to take advantage of these new opportunities and resources:  

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Priority EW Bill Passes Out of the House LTC Committee

A bill to enhance Elderly Waiver rates to better reflect the actual cost of care passed its first hurdle on Monday in the Minnesota House Long-Term Care Committee.   

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