Coronavirus

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working with the federal government​​​ to ensure nursing hom​​es, assisted living communities, and intermediate care facilities for indiv​​iduals with intellectual disabilities receive necessary supplies and guidance to prevent the spread ​of this virus.​

Visit this website regularly for the latest information that AHCA/NCAL has to share with long term care providers about COVID-19. 


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How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

 Providers

Please note tha​t skilled nursing providers should consult the guidance put forth by CMS and the CDC, and assisted living communities should consult CDC guidance. Providers should also check their local and state health departments for updates and potentially stricter guidance, but these are general, national prevention and containment tips:

 
Infection Control: Maintain i​nfection control policies and procedures, updated where needed and increase transmission-based precautions.
 
Staff: #GetVaccinated! Regularly wash your hands and use PPE where appropriate. Stay home if you're sick.​ ​
 
Limit Interactions: Implement social distancing within the facility where possible to help prevent the spread of infection.
 
PPE: Regularly review federal and state guidance on appropriate use of masks, gowns, gloves, etc. and maintain your inventory​.
 
Communicate: Report suspected or confirmed cases to authorities. Keep residents, families and staff informed about your developing situation. Prepare for media inquiries.
 
Engagement: Follow government guidelines for safe in-person visitations, keep residents connected with loved ones remotely, and offer meaningful activities adapted for this situation​.


If a staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19: Have them go home immediately. 

If a resident shows symptoms of ​COVID-19​: Implement droplet precaution, and contact the local health department. ​


 Families

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. Adaptations (e.g., limited indoor and outdoor visits) and exceptions on a case-by-case basis (e.g., end-of-life or compassionate care visits) may be made. ​We understand this is difficult, but the safety and wellbeing of your loved one is our top priority.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with them, and how you can help: 

  • Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.  
  • Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.
    • Many long term care facilities are only permitted to share information about a resident to a designated health representative. Work together as a family unit to share information to keep everyone informed.       
  • If you must come to the facility, coordinate with the staff ahead of time. Learn more about how you can prepare for a visit to a long term care facility
    • They may ask you some questions, take your temperature, have you take a COVID test, and/or make sure you’re wearing proper protective equipment (like a mask) when you arrive. This is to make sure you do not pose as a potential risk to residents and staff.  
    • If you are asked to not enter the building, please understand this is for the safety of your loved one and everyone else in the building. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are following direction from the government to prevent the spread of this virus.  
    • ​If you are permitted in, please wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately upon entering and throughout your visit. Wear a mask and any other protective equipment as directed by the facility. Avoid touching your loved ones or other individuals in the building. Again, we know this is difficult, but the virus is very contagious and social distancing is important at this time. ​
  • Do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. High community spread is linked to outbreaks in nursing homes. Follow the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others. Get the COVID-19 vaccine, when you are eligible. 
  • ​Warn your loved ones about potential scammers during this crisis and encourage them to be cautious.​

 Residents

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. We understand this is a difficult and stressful time. Those who work in long term care facilities are focused on your safety and wellbeing.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with your loved ones, and how you can help: 

  • Ask the facility about other ways you can communicate with your loved ones, whether by phone, video or social media.  
  • If you haven't already, get the COVID-19 vaccine. Your facility is working with a pharmacy or state/local officials to offer vaccinations​ and can provide more specific information about how and when this will work. 
  • Follow everyday preventive actions such as: 
    • ​Washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers 
    • Covering your cough and sneezes ​
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth 
    • Keeping 6-feet distance from other residents and staff (when possible) 
  • ​Ask other individuals (including staff) to avoid touching you with handshakes, hugs or kisses. Ask them to wash their hands. Do not be shy! It’s okay to remind people.
  • Watch out for potential scammers​ during this crisis. 
  • If you begin to experience difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell​, tell a staff member immediately.​

 

 

AARP Nursing Home Visitation State Trackerhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/AARP-Nursing-Home-Visitation-State-Tracker.aspxAARP Nursing Home Visitation State Tracker5/5/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Last week, AARP updated its <a href="https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/health/info-2020/nursing-home-visits-by-state.html" target="_blank">state tracker on visitation</a>. Centers across the country are accepting visitors, but protocols vary. The AARP tracker shows state by state current nursing home visitation policies.   </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/Documents/COVID19/CMS%20and%20CDC%20Update%20Guidance%20on%20Testing,%20Visitation,%20and%20Activities%20in%20Response%20to%20COVID-19%20Vaccination.pdf" target="_blank">summary</a> of the updated April 27 guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on testing, visitation, and activities in response to the COVID-19 vaccination. For any questions around this new guidance, please contact <a href="mailto:covid19@ahca.org">covid19@ahca.org​</a>.<br></div>Last week, AARP updated its state tracker on visitation.
CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Callshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/CMS-COVID-19-Stakeholder-Calls.aspxCMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls5/5/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) holds frequent COVID-19-related calls for nursing home stakeholders. Important and updated information on topics ranging from visitation to the vaccine can be discussed on these calls, and questions participants have can be answered. You can <a href="https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts" target="_blank">access these calls</a> on their website.   </div><div> </div><div>This page also holds all Partner Relations Group (PRG) podcasts, transcripts, and audio recordings. CMS makes Open Door Forums and other presentations available as audio podcasts. The podcasts are available free of charge.  </div><div> </div><div>For any questions, please contact PRG at <a href="mailto:PARTNERSHIP@cms.hhs.gov" target="_blank">PARTNERSHIP@cms.hhs.gov</a>. ​<br></div><p>​</p>The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) holds frequent COVID-19-related calls for nursing home stakeholders.
Transforming Long Term Care: Maintaining Minimum Supply of Personal Protective Equipmenthttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Transforming-Long-Term-Care-Maintaining-Minimum-Supply-Of-Personal-Protective-Equipment.aspxTransforming Long Term Care: Maintaining Minimum Supply of Personal Protective Equipment5/4/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and gloves, are an essential component in protecting long term care residents and staff from COVID-19. The continued use of PPE will be a standard practice in long term care facilities, even after the pandemic is far behind us.</div><div><br></div><div>PPE improves infection control outcomes and has the potential to reduce mortality rates associated with infectious disease outbreaks. This is especially important in protecting vulnerable long term care residents, whose average age is 85 and who have multiple underlying health conditions, making them especially susceptible.</div><div><br></div><div><a href="https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/nursing-home-safety-during-covid-ppe-shortages" target="_blank">Widespread shortages of PPE</a> due to global supply chain issues in the beginning of the pandemic led to <a href="https://khn.org/news/article/anthony-fauci-interview-health-care-workers-covid-pandemic-death-toll/" target="_blank">devastating consequences</a> in long term care and other health care settings. Providers were left scrambling trying to find PPE, competing against each other and businesses, and pleading for priority to public health officials. We cannot let this happen again.</div><div><br></div><div>The Care for Our Seniors Act – a transformational policy proposal introduced by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge – calls for every nursing home to maintain a minimum 30-day supply for PPE for average conventional use. This includes:<br><br></div><div><ul><li>​​All PPE items (gloves, gowns, goggles/face shields, facemasks, N-95 masks)</li><li>Alcohol-based hand rubs and disinfecting supplies</li><li>Backup/reserve supply not in current circulation (but rotated out per expiration dates, etc.)<br></li></ul></div><div>In order to meet this requirement, PPE must be available, accessible and affordable. Nursing homes need public-private partnerships to ensure a steady supply of PPE, and lawmakers must prioritize long term care residents and staff for allocation.</div><div><br></div><div>The cost of PPE is considerable – nursing homes spent roughly <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Financial-Infographic.pdf" target="_blank">$20 billion on PPE</a> and staffing in 2020 alone. These exorbitant costs are expected to continue with the pandemic persisting and the <a href="https://www.premierinc.com/newsroom/blog/premier-data-the-state-of-ppe-supply-one-year-in-to-covid-19" target="_blank">ongoing demand for PPE</a> among every business and health care setting. With PPE becoming a permanent expenditure, lawmakers must commit to supporting long term care providers with financial assistance so they can afford this essential equipment. The Care for Our Seniors Act proposes funding by federal and state governments in the following phases: <br><br></div><div><ul><li>​Initial supply through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Provider Relief Fund</li><li>Ongoing supply maintenance funded in a combination of Health Resources & Services Administration or Centers for Disease Control and <span style="font-size:11pt;">Prevention (CDC) grants and Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage</span></li></ul></div><div>Our frontline caregivers deserve to have the masks, gowns, and gloves they need to protect themselves while caring for our nation’s seniors. Ensuring every nursing home has an adequate supply of PPE will help keep long term residents and staff safe and better prepare them for future health crises. Federal and state governments must put our most vulnerable citizens and health care heroes first.</div><div><br></div><div>Read more about AHCA and LeadingAge’s PPE proposal <a href="/Advocacy/Documents/Minimum-PPE.pdf" target="_blank">HERE</a>, and learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act at <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>PPE, including masks, gowns and gloves, are an essential component in protecting long term care residents and staff from COVID-19.
IRS Issues Third Round of EIPshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/IRS-Issues-Third-Round-of-EIPs.aspxIRS Issues Third Round of EIPs5/4/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the third round of Economic Income Payments (EIP). Most Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients should have received their EIPs by now. If a person is missing their first or second EIP, they need to file a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit as soon as possible. For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration's (SSA) <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/?utm_content=pressrelease&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery" target="_blank">press page​</a>. </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL also put together a <a href="https://educate.ahcancal.org/products/ahcancal-informational-webinar-on-economic-impact-payments-for-social-security-and-ssi-beneficiaries-with-representative-payees" target="_blank">webinar recording</a> on EIPs from the IRS and important facts for skilled nursing facilities, ICFs/IID, and assisted living centers to know the use of them. A variety of resources from the SSA and the National Center on Elder Law and Rights are available at the end of the webinar for additional information. If you have any questions regarding EIPs, please email <a href="mailto:COVID19@ahca.org" target="_blank">COVID19@ahca.org​</a>.<br></div>Last month, the RS issued the third round of Economic Income Payments.

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