Featured News

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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State News

Governor Signs $330 Million Bill to Respond to COVID-19

Governor Tim has signed into law an additional $330 million package of initiatives to combat the health and economic challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. The bill includes, amongst other provisions: 

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MDH Guidance on Administering Nebulized Medications

Nebulized medications are currently not defined or classified as an aerosol generating procedure, according to guidance recently released by MDH. However, since there is a possibility of transmission with nebulizer use, MDH is recommending the following steps to minimize risk to health care providers when administering nebulized medications: 

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MDH Cancels March 26 Assisted Living Licensure Advisory Committee Meeting

Due to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has cancelled the Assisted Living Licensure Rules Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for March 26.  

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Federal News

Department of Labor Defines “Health Care Provider” Exempted Under Families First Act

While the Families First Corona Response Act (FFCRA) requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave and paid expanded FMLA leave to employees unable to work or telework for several specific COVID-19 reasons, it allows employers to exclude “health care providers” from receiving the paid leave and paid expanded FMLA leave. 

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CARES Act Expands Federal Small Business Loans, Can Support Aging Services

About $350 billion of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package signed into law last week are directed to provide loans to small businesses, with the opportunity for loan recipients to receive forgiveness and not have to repay the amount borrowed. On April 3, smaller 501c(3) organizations will be able to access these funds. This article provides a summary of the provisions and guidance for borrowers and lenders. 

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$2 Trillion Economic Stimulus Package Supports Aging Services Providers

final package includes many of the priorities we have been advocating for, including an emergency fund to support health care providers that include aging services and temporarily suspending sequestration reductions to all free-for-service Medicare claims. 

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Notable News

1,000 Nursing Assistant Students Trained by OnTrack

More than 1,000 Nursing Assistants have been trained using the OnTrack Nursing Assistant Training curriculum. With a pass-rate trending higher than the state average, OnTrack continues to see success in the second year of operation. 

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National Health Plan Association Indicates Plans Will Follow CMS SNF Policies During Emergency

The American Association of Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which include many plans that offer Medicare Advantage plans to Minnesota consumers, recently announced that they are going to be matching the recent “blanket” CMS waivers on the three day stay and benefit period requirements. 

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COVID-19: Resource Round-Up

We know guidance, recommendations and resources on COVID-19 are coming at you from a multitude of directions and that you are being flooded with minute-by-minute news updates on this virus. What follows is a quick recap of information you may find helpful this week as you combat COVID-19: 

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Member News

Resource Round-Up: COVID-19

Each week we will feature a recap of the tools and resources we have provided over the past seven days to help you prepare and respond to COVID-19: 

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Supporting the Basic Needs of Staff in a Time of Crisis

With the challenges facing our economy and public assistance programs during COVID-19, it is important to ensure that staff are receiving the support they need to stay safe in terms of housing, food, financial and childcare security. Here are some resources to make sure staff can access as needed: 

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#ThankACaregiver: Face Aging MN Launches Caregiver Appreciation Campaign

Professional caregivers provide critical support to those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 – our seniors. They deserve our gratitude. Face Aging MN has launched a new #ThankACaregiver campaign to encourage Minnesotans to share a message of appreciation with a senior caregiver via a web portal.  

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