COVID-19 Updates



CDC Issues Two Pieces Of Updated Guidance Regarding Return To Work, Patients With COVID-19

Provider Magazine (5/5, Connole, 151K) reports, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released two updated pieces of guidance concerning the criteria for returning to work for health care personnel (HCP) with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and the discontinuation of transmission-based precautions and disposition of patients with COVID-19, according to the latest information from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).” The first, “Updated Criteria for Return to Work for HCP with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19,” indicates that “decisions about return to work for HCP with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should be made in the context of local circumstances.” The second, “Updated Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Health Care Settings,” includes “added criteria for discontinuing Transmission-Based Precautions for patients who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, but have not had any symptoms of COVID-19.”




AHCA/NCAL Sends Formal Letter To Federal Officials Requesting COVID-19 Assistance

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (5/5) reports, “The nation’s largest nursing home and assisted living association is turning up the pressure on the federal government by sending formal letters to federal authorities this morning, asking for priority COVID-19 testing for all residents and staff – regardless of symptoms – and a host of other enhancements.” In addition, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living is also “placing another urgent call for an ‘emergency response fund’ of $10 billion.” In a letter emailed Tuesday morning to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Peter Graynor, AHCA/NCAL president and CEO Mark Parkinson wrote, “Long-term care should be made a higher priority and have access to more supplies as we wait for some of the manufacturing and supply chain issues to be resolved. … Given the gravity of the situation we are facing with this deadly virus and its impact on our vulnerable community, which cannot be overstated, long-term care facilities require additional support and funding from state and federal governments to reduce the spread of this deadly virus.”

The Hill (5/5, Budryk, 2.98M) reports that Parkinson wrote, “It is not too late to make an enormous difference in the outcome of the COVID-19 battle in America’s long term care facilities. The best public health policy is to focus where the battle is taking place, which is now most prevalent in nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country.” He added, “Without adequate funding, testing and supplies, long term care facilities will not be able to overcome this unprecedented health crisis and protect our residents and caregivers. We sincerely appreciate the recent steps taken by your agencies and the White House to make long term care facilities a top priority. These providers will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to ensure all possible actions are taken to keep residents and caregivers safe.”


CMS Issues Blanket Waivers, Including Temporary Delay Of Pre-Admission Resident Screening

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (5/5, Brown) reports, “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released waivers that allow nursing homes to temporarily delay pre-admission screenings for residents.” The various blanket waivers were recently detailed by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. The waivers “have a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020.”


Dr. Gifford Interviewed On C-Span’s Washington Journal

The C-SPAN Video Library (5/5, 56K) contains a broadcast of Washington Journal’s interview with Dr. David Gifford, the chief medical officer of the American Health Care Association. Dr. Gifford discusses the coronavirus impact on long-term care facilities, and the continued need for PPE. Dr. Gifford also discussed infection control procedures, and answered various questions from people who called into the program.


Broadway Concert Performed Virtually For Residents, Staff, Families During Pandemic

Provider Magazine (5/1, Mendoza, 151K) reports on one long-term care providers attempt to “put together a special event designed for residents and staff alike” during the pandemic, resulting in a virtual, 1-hour concert “performed by a cast of Broadway stars.” According to the organization’s president and CEO, “We’re all feeling the effects of social isolation. We need music in our lives, especially now. We’re hoping that this virtual show is a creative and fun way to remind our staff and our families how much we care for them.” Residents were able to watch the performance from inside of their rooms, and the concert was also “made available on social media so that families and staff could also watch.”


Expert Predicts Changes For Long-Term Care Ten Years From Now

In an article for Provider Magazine (5/1, Bivacca, 151K), Don Bivacca, managing director at Health care Management Partners, writes, “The year 2029 will mark the last of the baby boomers turning 65, and by 2035, for the first time in U.S. history, the elderly population will outnumber children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.” According to Bivacca, “Competition for this population will be fierce as there will be an increased focus on marketing the hospitality and amenities of facilities versus the type of care they now provide.” Bivacca makes predictions “that may begin to move toward fulfillment in 2020 and beyond in preparation for the future of the senior living industry,” including that “opportunities will exist for lower-cost, higher-quality communities,” potential issues may arise related to labor, and “existing facilities will need to adapt to an older population.”




Federal Bill Proposes $500 Million For Nursing Home Inspections, Implement New Reporting, Safety Regulations Amid Pandemic

Skilled Nursing News (5/5, Spanko) reports that “a bill introduced in Congress Tuesday would send an additional $500 million to bolster nursing home inspections, while implementing a host of new safety and reporting regulations, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” This “Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act serves as a direct response to the steadily rising death toll at the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing facilities.” Included “among the bill’s many provisions, the legislation would require operators to employ a full-time infection preventionist; mandate special COVID-19 training and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers; and require weekly testing for residents and daily testing for staff as soon as enough supplies become available.”


House Democratic Caucus Task Force On Aging And Families Announces COVID-19 Blueprint

McKnight’s Senior Living (5/5, Bonvissuto) reports, “After calling for long-term care and affordable seniors housing to be priorities for future pandemic relief legislation, the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families has announced a blueprint that will guide its efforts through the COVID-19 pandemic.” It “includes prioritizing testing in long-term care facilities, increasing the frequency of surprise inspections, making treatments and vaccinations affordable and accessible, promoting telehealth, providing transparency in the delivery of testing supplies and personal protective equipment, and tracking and publicizing coronavirus data.” Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said, “We have all made clear our top priority is to ensure [CARES 2.0] is providing sufficient and robust support to states, towns, counties, municipalities and localities to provide the public health infrastructure to meet the day-to-day quality of life needs of the people they serve.”


Lower Levels Of Indoor Absolute Humidity Tied To Increased Risk For Acute Respiratory Illness Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults In Hong Kong During Cold Season, Study Suggests

Healio (5/5, Dreisbach, 28K) reports researchers found that “lower levels of indoor absolute humidity correlated with an increased risk for acute respiratory illness, or ARI, among community-dwelling older adults in Hong Kong during the cold season.” The findings were published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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