COVID-19 Updates

Expert Lists Three Steps To Observe, Measure Hand Hygiene Compliance, COVID, Webinar Invitation and industry updates


Expert Lists Three Steps To Observe, Measure Hand Hygiene Compliance

In a piece for Provider Magazine (8/1, 151K), curriculum development specialist for the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services Alexis Roam, RN-BC, wrote, “During a recent call with nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Northeast Division director for survey and reinforcement named three areas of infection control and prevention that surveyors have observed need improvement,” and “hand hygiene (HH) was at the top of the list.” Roam says, “Using HH as the example, the infection preventionist (IP) can take…three steps to observe and measure compliance,” including performing “at least 30 unannounced observations of HCWs [health care workers] who interact with residents and perform care,” and noting “opportunities to perform HH” during each observation. According to Roam, the third step is to “calculate the compliance rate each month.”

New Jersey Mulling Series Of Nursing Home Reforms

Skilled Nursing News (8/4, Flynn) reports, “States that saw waves of nursing home deaths during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic have already begun to flex new regulatory muscle, with New Jersey mulling a series of reforms.” The proposed reform measures “include minimum staffing ratios for nursing home aides, though that proposal died as far back as January and was later reintroduced, noted.” Health Care Association of new Jersey president and CEO Jonathan Dolan “told the bills show ‘a lack of insight into our industry,” adding that “nursing homes have largely avoided the virus’ ongoing spread in the general population due to better testing, more access to personal protective equipment, and staffing support.”

Long-Term Care Heroes Are Caregivers, And Family, Administrator Says

In a piece for McKnight’s Long Term Care News (8/5), administrator Christy Jordan includes the letter she wrote to her “leadership and other sin the long-term care profession” to express her gratitude. According to Jordan, “At the end of the day, our residents need us now more than ever. Even with the fear of taking it to our own families, long term care heroes show up to love and care for those that can no longer do it themselves.” Jordan says, “We are not only the caregivers, but we are family.” Jordan thanks the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, among others.

State Organizations Continue Coronavirus Response

AHCA/NCAL members throughout the country continue to address COVID-19 issues. For instance, The Arizona Republic (8/5, Chesin, 869K) reports, “A total of 71 Arizona nursing homes collected up to $88 million in federal Paycheck Protection Plan loans.” Arizona Health Care Association CEO David Voepel “said running a skilled nursing facility is expensive,” and also “said the rising costs of PPE is taking a toll.” Along with “rising PPE costs, Voepel said nursing homes are struggling to pay overtime and hire additional staff at a time when many people fear getting the virus or already have it.”

The Concord (NH) Monitor (8/5, Sylvia, 50K) reports that in New Hampshire, “Weekly stipends for health care workers in long-term care facilities expired July 31, raising concerns the move could trigger widespread staffing shortages.” The governor “will not extend the program because there has not been enough federal support for the state’s budget, according to a statement from his office.” New Hampshire Health Care Association president Brendan Williams “said the pandemic has intensified shortages, as many frontline workers resigned due to fears of contracting COVID-19 or spreading the virus to their families.” He “worries if LNAs quit because there are no more stipends, there will be no one to replace them.”

The Baltimore Sun (8/5, Cohn, Wood, 1.33M) reports, “The Trump administration called out Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in a harshly worded letter Wednesday for a lack of coronavirus pandemic-related inspections of nursing homes, deeming the state’s effort a ‘failure.’” The letter signed by Seema Verma, head of CMS, “said the state not only missed federally mandated deadlines, but with just over half of the facilities inspected, had the worst record in the country by far.” Health Facilities Association of Maryland president and CEO Joseph DeMattos “called in-person inspections ‘very important but not the only oversight or safety measure in place.’” He “said he had no information on why inspections in Maryland may be behind other states, though he agreed with state health officials that the federal inspections data might lag behind the actual inspections.”

WTVY-TV Dothan, AL (8/5, Bowerman) reports, “34 more nursing homes in Alabama are set to receive point-of-care or rapid COVID-19 testing machines.” Alabama Nursing Home Association communications director John Matson said, “We can only treat what we know, and if we’re waiting five, six, seven days sometimes for a laboratory test to come back that hurts our ability to be able to properly treat the resident or properly treat the employee. … So having these on site, if we can get a test back in 15 to 20 minutes, that puts us so much further ahead of the game than having to wait on a laboratory test turn around.”


Ohio SNF Receives Hundreds Of Donated Face Shields

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (8/6, Brown) reports,” An Ohio skilled nursing facility received hundreds of much-needed pieces of personal protective equipment thanks to a donation from the Ford Motor Co.” This “donation was part of a company-wide effort to manufacture and distribute supplies to health care providers.” The company, “which has also been producing respirators, reusable gowns and other supplies to help frontline health care workers, has made similar donations to other facilities and health care providers across the country.”


Audits Loom For Health Care Providers Who Received More Than $750,000 In Federal Awards From Federal Provider Relief Funds

Skilled Nursing News (8/5, Flynn) reports, “Health care providers that received more than $750,000 in federal awards from the federal coronavirus Provider Relief Funds (PRF) will face a single audit or program-specific audit, and they need to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the federal government’s terms and conditions – especially since they can’t be classified as a loan or a grant,” according to a recent “webinar held by the professional services firm CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA).” The firm “detailed the various audit and reporting options, the requirements for single audits and program audits, as well as considerations for the PRF audits.” One of the firm’s principals said, “If you look at some of the terms and conditions in there, they state that non-compliance is really grounds for potential recoupment. … So that’s really a big piece of what the testing of the single audit’s going to look like.”


New Hampshire Woman, 102 Years Old, Survives Spanish Flu, Two Types Of Cancer, And Coronavirus

The Western Journal (8/5, Favocci, 637K) reports on a 102-year-old New Hampshire woman who “has survived the deadly Spanish flu, a bout with breast cancer and then colon cancer, and recently recovered from the coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.” She told the Post, “I really think that having the 1918 flu strengthened everything about me.” Some of her “secrets to longevity include not worrying excessively and enjoying red wine.”


Homebound Adults Living In Assisted Living Communities, Metro Areas May Be Most Likely To Use Home-Based Medical Care, Study Suggests

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (8/5, Lasek) reports, “Older homebound adults who reside in assisted living communities and in metropolitan areas are the most likely to use home-based medical care, presenting an opportunity to expand care services to a vulnerable population in need, say investigators.” The researchers also found that “aside from their living situations, care recipients who were homebound also were more likely to have a dementia diagnosis, have been hospitalized within the past 12 months, to die within 12 months of the study interview, and to receive Medicare home health care.” The lead author said, “The significant unmet needs of this high-need, high-cost population and the known health and cost benefits of home-based medical care should spur stakeholders to expand the availability of this care.”

LTC Facilities Who Receive CVS Health Pharmacy Services Should Have Sufficient Access To COVID-19 Vaccine, Company Says

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (8/6, Brown) reports, “Long-term care facilities that receive pharmacy services from CVS Health should have sufficient access to a COVID-19 vaccine, once one is ready, executives stated Wednesday morning.” CVS health president and CEO Larry Merlo said during an earnings call, “We are well positioned to administer COVID-19 vaccines, once they become available, through our community presence, as well as onsite with our return ready and long-term care solutions.” Company “executives also highlighted the company’s recently launched diagnostic testing program for seniors in long-term care facilities,” which “uses point-of-care rapid testing.”

Lawmakers Accuse New York State Health Officials Of Releasing Incomplete Nursing Home COVID-19 Data

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (8/6, Brown) reports, “New York state health officials are being accused of releasing incomplete data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths to support controversial state policies implemented during the public health crisis.” In a Monday hearing, “lawmakers questioned the validity of the data used in a report released by the NY Department of Health in early July.” This “report found that nursing home employees unknowingly spreading the disease was the main force that led to COVID-19 fatalities among residents – and not its controversial policy that forced nursing homes to take in COVID-positive residents,” and “state health officials questioned why the report included data only from deaths that occurred in nursing homes and omitted resident deaths that occurred shortly after transfers to hospitals.”