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.​

 

 

Refresher Training on Reporting Up to Date Vaccination Status in NHSN for Long-Term Care Facilitieshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Refresher-Training-on-Reporting-Up-to-Date-Vaccination-Status-in-NHSN-for-Long-Term-Care-Facilities.aspxRefresher Training on Reporting Up to Date Vaccination Status in NHSN for Long-Term Care Facilities11/22/2022 5:00:00 AM<div>​The CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Vaccination Unit is providing a refresher webinar on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, from 1:30 - 2:30 PM Eastern Time to review the up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination definition for long term care facilities reporting data through the COVID-19 Vaccination Modules. The current up-to-date definition incorporates the updated (bivalent) boosters and applies to reporting weeks beginning on September 26, 2022. As a reminder, most individuals who have not yet received an updated (bivalent) booster are no longer considered up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and should not be counted in Question #5. <br></div><div><br></div><div>You are invited to a Zoom webinar:  <br></div><div><strong>When: </strong>Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  <br></div><div><strong>Topic:</strong> Refresher Training on Reporting Up to Date Vaccination Status in NHSN for Long-Term Care Facilities  <br></div><div><br></div><div>Register in advance for this webinar <a href="https://cdc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_FZmCJONqR3yMJna6A4RC3Q" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here</a>.  <br></div><div><br></div><div> <span style="font-size:11pt;">After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  </span></div><div><br></div>The CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Vaccination Unit is providing a refresher webinar on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, from 1:30 - 2:30 PM Eastern Time.
Nursing Home Industry Reacts to White House COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Campaignhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Home-Industry-Reacts-to-White-House-COVID-19-Bivalent-Booster-Campaign.aspxNursing Home Industry Reacts to White House COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Campaign11/22/2022 5:00:00 AM<p><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C. </strong>– The two largest associations representing America's nursing homes and other long-term care and senior living facilities—the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services—issued a joint statement today in reaction to the White House announcement of a six-week campaign through the end of the year urging Americans and especially seniors to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine. </p><p>The statement is attributable to AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson and LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan:</p><p>“Nursing homes have done a remarkable job at vaccinating residents, but we have work to do with the most recent booster. According to the CDC, 43 percent of residents are up to date on their COVID vaccinations, which is nearly four times higher than the dismal 11 percent rate among the general population. </p><p>“We all share the same goal: ensuring the health and wellbeing of older adults. We believe we can continue to increase that booster rate and to do so requires a shared commitment from the government and other health care providers. For example, 90 percent of residents are admitted to nursing homes from hospitals, and very few of those residents are current on their vaccines upon admission. Through collaboration with hospitals, vaccine numbers can be improved. That is why we have proposed an all-hands-on-deck approach, which can be found on LeadingAge's and <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/COVID-Booster-Campaign-LTC-Nov2022.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">AHCA's</a> websites. </p><p>​“We look forward to working with the Administration, and we will continue our tireless efforts to protect the health of our residents."<br></p><p style="text-align:center;">### </p><p> <br><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong><br>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" data-feathr-click-track="true">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br><strong> </strong><br><b>ABOUT LEADINGAGE<br></b><span style="font-size:11pt;">We repre</span><span style="font-size:11pt;">sent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit </span><a href="http://www.leadingage.org/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank" style="font-size:11pt;">leadingage.org</a><span style="font-size:11pt;">. </span><span style="font-size:11pt;">​</span></p>
Biden Administration Announces Campaign to Improve COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Uptakehttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Biden-Administration-Announces-Campaign-to-Improve-COVID-19-Bivalent-Booster-Uptake.aspxBiden Administration Announces Campaign to Improve COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Uptake11/22/2022 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Today, the Biden Administration <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/11/22/fact-sheet-biden-administration-announces-six-week-campaign-to-get-more-americans-their-updated-covid-19-vaccine-before-end-of-the-year/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">announced </a>a 6-week campaign to improve COVID-19 booster uptake rates. The campaign will focus on reaching seniors and other communities hardest hit by COVID-19, including a focus on nursing homes.  <br></div><div><br></div><div>As part of this campaign, CMS will focus on the requirement for nursing homes to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine, including subsequent boosters, outlined in <a href="https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-21-19-nh.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">QSO-21-19-NH</a>. State survey agencies will be verifying that this requirement is being complied with, particularly in facilities with low publicly reported vaccination rates, including booster rates. Facilities out of compliance will be faced with enforcement actions.  </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL recommends that facilities verify their vaccination rates, including booster rates, which can be found on the <a href="https://data.cms.gov/provider-data/dataset/pvax-cv19" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">CMS COVID-19 data website</a>. If the posted rates are low, facilities should prepare for outreach from the state survey agencies to ensure compliance with <a href="https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-21-19-nh.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">QSO-21-19-NH</a>. If the posted rates are not accurate, facilities should verify the accuracy of their NHSN reporting and address where needed.  </div><div><br></div><div>While the overall up-to-date (including bivalent booster) rate in nursing homes is 43% (substantially higher than the general population), there is wide variation in booster rates, with over a quarter of nursing homes having up-to-date rates over 72.4% and a quarter of nursing homes with rates less than 7.3%.   </div><div><br></div><div>COVID-19 boosters are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7139a2.htm?" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">proven to be effective</a> in protecting individuals from serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 even when they have a breakthrough infection. Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is particularly important for nursing home residents due to their underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.  </div><div><br></div><div>CMS also issued <a href="https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-23-03-all.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">QSO-23-03-ALL</a> encouraging facilities to focus on the timely use of COVID-19 therapeutics. These treatments can prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and save the lives of high-risk individuals who would otherwise be at risk of severe complications even when vaccinated.  </div><div><br></div><div>You can read AHCA/NCAL and LeadingAge's joint press statement on the announcement <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Home-Industry-Reacts-to-White-House-COVID-19-Bivalent-Booster-Campaign.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here </a>and <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/COVID-Booster-Campaign-LTC-Nov2022.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">our all-hands-on-deck plan</a> we shared with the Administration to encourage a collaborative approach to increase vaccination rates.  </div><div><br></div><div>Questions? Contact us at <a href="mailto:covid19@ahca.org" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">covid19@ahca.org</a>.<span style="font-size:11pt;">​​​</span></div>Today, the Biden Administration announced a 6-week campaign to improve COVID-19 booster uptake rates.
Reducing Respiratory Viral Infections this Winterhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Reducing-Respiratory-Viral-Infections-this-Winter.aspxReducing Respiratory Viral Infections this Winter11/8/2022 5:00:00 AM<p>​Respiratory viruses are more common during the winter months. Our elderly residents, particularly those with multiple medical conditions, are at risk for developing serious illnesses or exacerbations of their other illnesses, being hospitalized, or even dying. Increases in Influenza, RSV, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses are occurring in the general population, with some hospitals in communities nearing or at capacity. There are several key steps to help reduce the impact on residents from viral infections this winter.<br></p><ol><li><span style="font-size:11pt;">​<strong>Get your flu shot and COVID-19 bivalent booster.</strong><br></span>If residents get a breakthrough infection, these vaccines will significantly reduce their risk of getting severely ill, hospitalized, or dying. Learn more at <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">https://getvaccinated.us/</a>.<br><br></li><li><strong>Start antiviral treatment as soon as symptoms develop.<br></strong>E<span style="font-size:11pt;">ffective antiviral treatments are available for both <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/summary-clinicians.htm" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Influenza</a> and <a href="https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/tables/therapeutic-management-of-nonhospitalized-adults/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">COVID-19</a>. Start residents on antivirals early in their course of infection; even if they are vaccinated or symptoms seem mild, because they greatly reduce the risk of getting seriously ill, hospitalized, or dying. Talk to your Medical Director or Consultant Pharmacist about how to get residents started on these medications quickly. <br><br></span></li><li><strong>Stay home if you are sick.</strong><br>Staff and family members should stay home and/or postpone visits with loved ones if they are feeling sick with what could be a respiratory virus until symptoms have resolved. <br><br></li><li><strong>F</strong><span style="font-size:11pt;"><strong>ollow CDC guidance on infection control for respiratory viruses.</strong></span><span style="font-size:11pt;"> <br></span>The spread of respiratory viruses can be reduced by following core infection prevention & control practices. CDC has specific guidance including for <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Influenza</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">COVID-19</a>.<br><br></li><li><strong>Maintain airflow in your building.</strong><span style="font-size:11pt;"> <br></span>Check that your HVAC is working properly and using appropriate filters. Also, the EPA has a <a href="https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-03/508-cleanairbuildings_factsheet_v5_508.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">fact sheet​​</a> with strategies to improve indoor air quality.<br></li></ol>There are several key steps to help reduce the impact on residents from viral infections this winter.

​Guidance & Resources

​By Source


 AHCA/NCAL

Guidance
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 CDC

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​By Topic

 Finance & Reimbursement

General
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AHCA/NCAL

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HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Resources
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General Resources
Emotional PPE Project