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.​

 

 

Public Health Emergency Ending May 11https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Public-Health-Emergency-Ending-May-11.aspxPublic Health Emergency Ending May 111/31/2023 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Yesterday, the Biden Administration announced its plans to end the Public Health Emergency (PHE). This administration guidance meets the Administration’s promise of 60 days’ notice of the end of the PHE. Based on the guidance, the PHE will end on May 11, 2023.  </div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>The end of the PHE also marks the end of Section 1135 National Blanket Waiver. The two substantive SNF waiver provisions left in Section 1135 are the Medicare fee-for-service 3-Day Stay and Spell of Illness waivers. These waivers technically fall under Section 1812(f) but are tied to the Section 1135 waiver. As of May 11, SNFs may no longer use the 3-Day Waiver or the Spell of Illness waiver. In terms of Medicare Advantage plans, PHE waiver provisions were rolled back in 2022.   <br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Temporary Nurse Aide statewide waivers could be extended by CMS to May 11 if the state requests and there is evidence of need. Currently, the state waivers for 18 states end between March 20 and April 7. <br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>The end of the PHE also ends Medicaid Flexibilities provided to states, including expedited State Plan Amendment review, and will impact any Medicaid rate add-ons attached to the national PHE. Of note, the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase of 6.2% is no longer attached to the PHE and is unaffected by the May 11 date. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 delinked the enhanced FMAP from the PHE and set a year-long phase down schedule for the FMAP noted in the table below. </li></ul></div><div><img src="/News-and-Communications/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Public-Health-Emergency-Ending-May-11/Chart.jpg" alt="Chart.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br><div><br>AHCA/NCAL is requesting CMS end requirements that were implemented during the PHE that are no longer necessary and to end this no later than the conclusion of the PHE. This includes widespread notifications on COVID cases per F885, enhanced enforcement for F880, and end or scale back NHSN COVID reporting.</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL is also reaching out to the administration to understand the implications, if any, for COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral access and administration. Advocacy efforts will continue to ensure long term care remains a high priority and that burden for reporting is decreased.</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL continues to work with state affiliates to secure state support for the long term care sector and will continue to keep members apprised of any other news pertaining to the PHE.<br></div></div>The Biden Administration announced its plans to end the Public Health Emergency on May 11.
Bivalent Booster Protects Nursing Home Residents from COVID-19https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Bivalent-Booster-Protects-Nursing-Home-Residents-from-COVID-19.aspxBivalent Booster Protects Nursing Home Residents from COVID-191/27/2023 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released two scientific reports evaluating the effectiveness of the bivalent booster in nursing home residents. The <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/mm7204a3.htm?s_cid=mm7204a3_w" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">first study</a> examined new COVID-19 cases each week, from November 2022 through early January 2023, in all U.S. nursing homes. The study found that <strong>residents who were not up to date with the bivalent vaccine (but had been vaccinated or had a history of COVID-19) had 30-50 percent greater chance of developing COVID-19 compared to residents who were up to date.</strong>  <br><br></div><div>The <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/mm7204a4.htm?s_cid=mm7204a4_w" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">second study</a> measured antibody levels in nursing home residents before and after the bivalent vaccine and tested how well their antibodies protected against different COVID-19 strains, including Omicron variants. <strong>The bivalent booster resulted in a large increase in antibody levels that neutralized the Omicron variants, even in residents who had already had COVID-19 as well as 1 or 2 monovalent vaccines.  </strong><br><br></div><div>These two studies provide evidence that the bivalent booster confers additional protection against the latest COVID-19 variants beyond prior infection and prior boosters.<br></div>The CDC released two scientific reports evaluating the effectiveness of the bivalent booster in nursing home residents.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Resourceshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/COVID-19-Vaccine-and-Booster-Resources.aspxCOVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Resources1/17/2023 5:00:00 AM<p><br><br></p>The <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> website continues to offer access to COVID-19 vaccine and booster resources. In addition to the AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Documents/GetVaccinated/GETVAX-bivalent-handout.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated handout </a>to help long term care staff discuss the value of the bivalent booster with residents, you can find <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/long-term-care-provider-resources/" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">#GetBoosted​</a> graphics (posters, social media, and more) – as well as vaccine booster template letters for staff and residents. ​<br><br>We want to hear your stories! Why did you or your residents #GetVaccinated and/or #GetBoosted? Visit <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/stories/" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated​</a> to learn why others got the vaccine/booster, and be sure to <span style="font-size:11pt;">share your own story <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/stories/#share" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">here​</a>. ​</span>The #GetVaccinated website continues to offer access to COVID-19 vaccine and booster resources.
NSHN Reporting Requirements for Q1 2023https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/NSHN-Reporting-Requirements-for-Q1-2023.aspxNSHN Reporting Requirements for Q1 20231/17/2023 5:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>It is crucial to report current COVID-19 vaccination status to NHSN. The up-to-date definition applies when reporting data through the NSHN COVID-19 Vaccination Modules and the Resident Impact and Facility Capacity (RIFC) Pathyway for first quarter (Q1) 2023.  </div><div> </div><div>Individuals are considered up-to-date with the COVID-19 vaccines during the surveillance period from December 26, 2022, through March 26, 2023, for the purpose of NHSN reporting if they meet one of the following criteria:   </div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>​Received an updated (bivalent) booster dose; or </li><li>Completed their primary series less than two months ago </li></ul></div><div><br></div><div>As of Q1 2023, monovalent boosters are no longer included in the up-to-date definition and individuals are only considered up to date if they meet one of the two criteria above.  </div><div> </div><div>You can find more information about the up-to-date definition in the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/pdfs/hps/covidvax/UpToDateGuidance-508.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" data-feathr-link-aids="["60b7cbf17788425491b2d083"]" target="_blank">CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Modules Key Terms guide​</a>.<br></div>It is crucial to report current COVID-19 vaccination status to NHSN.

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