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.​

 

 

AHCA Releases Statement on Vaccine Mandate Injunctionhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCA-Releases-Statement-on-Vaccine-Mandate-Injunction.aspxAHCA Releases Statement on Vaccine Mandate Injunction12/1/2021 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C. – </strong>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement today regarding the United States District Court in the Western District of Louisiana issuing a nationwide injunction on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers. </div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. <br></div><div><br></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">“We appreciate the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana issuing this injunction. We have always supported vaccinating as many residents and staff as possible. However, we are deeply concerned that the current mandate issued by CMS will cause nursing homes to lose staff at a time when we are already grappling with a historic labor crisis. We continue to urge CMS to allow a regular testing option for unvaccinated staff and, therefore, support any legal remedy or CMS action that would bring about this solution.” </span></div><div><br><strong style="font-size:11pt;">ABOUT AHCA/NCAL </strong><br></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 www.ahcancal.org. <br><br></div>
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Staff on Hold Nationwidehttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/COVID-19-Mandate-for-Staff-on-Hold-Nationwide.aspxCOVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Staff on Hold Nationwide11/30/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​​<br></p>The United States District Court in the Western District of Louisiana has issued a <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/Documents/COVID19/Order_3_21-cv-03970.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">nationwide injunction</a> preventing the federal government from implementing the CMS vaccine mandate for health care staff. This injunction applies to all states which were not covered by the <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/Documents/COVID19/Mem_4_21-cv-01329.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">injunction issued yesterday</a> in ten states, ensuring that the entire nation is covered. In its <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/Documents/COVID19/Mem_Ruling_3_21-cv-03970.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">memorandum ruling</a>, the District Court in the Louisiana case found that the federal government did not have the authority to issue such a mandate. <br><br>There are currently four active cases regarding the CMS interim final rule staff vaccine mandate: the Louisiana litigation, which was filed by a 14-state group, the Missouri litigation filed by 10 states and which was the subject of the 10-state preliminary injunction issued yesterday, and individual cases filed by the states of Florida and Texas. Florida’s request for a preliminary injunction was denied by the District Court last week and is being appealed. A hearing in the Texas case is scheduled for Thursday morning. The federal government today noticed its intention to appeal the 10-state injunction which makes it likely we should expect an appeal of the nationwide injunction as well. <br><br><strong>What does today’s action by the Louisiana District Court mean?</strong> <div><br></div><div>​While the interim final rule is, as of today, prevented in all states from going into effect, Medicare providers should continue to prepare to have policies and procedures ready so that if the government’s arguments prevail, they can be quickly implemented. As employers, providers should consider what policy they want to have in place until a government mandate requires it, which is not certain.  </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates. ​<br></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">​</span></div>
Booster Shots for Residents and Staffhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Booster-Shots-for-Residents-and-Staff.aspxBooster Shots for Residents and Staff11/30/2021 5:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>Making sure our residents and staff receive the booster dose against COVID-19 remains the best way to combat the continued spread of the Delta variant and protect one against the eventual spread of the Omicron variant. Each week, more scientific evidence becomes available showing vaccinated people experience waning immunity and we are see increasing breakthrough cases among our residents who have not received the booster. The vaccines and booster are shown to be safe and highly effective, as they dramatically decrease the risk of developing serious illness, hospitalization or death should you have a breakthrough case. ​​<br></div><div><br></div><div>Also, as reminder CMS <a href="https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-21-19-nh.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">QSO memo 21-19-NH</a> requires that “all residents and staff be offered each resident and staff member is offered the COVID-19 vaccine unless the immunization is medically contraindicated or the resident or staff member has already been immunized” and before the end of the year will publicly post the rate of booster shots administered in each skilled nursing facility.  </div><div><br></div><div>Resources to help with resident and staff boosters are available at AHCA/NCAL’s <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated website</a>.  <br></div><p>​</p>
Opportunity to Provide Feedback to OSHA on the Vaccine/Testing Emergency Temporary Standardhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Opportunity-to-Provide-Feedback-to-OSHA-on-the-VaccineTesting-Emergency-Temporary-Standard-.aspxOpportunity to Provide Feedback to OSHA on the Vaccine/Testing Emergency Temporary Standard11/24/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>On November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees firm or corporate-wide. Assisted living is not included in this ETS, as OSHA specifically excludes settings that were the subject of requirements in the <a href="https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Healthcare ETS</a> released in July 2021, which included assisted living. If OSHA allows the Healthcare ETS to expire, this new ETS will include assisted living and possibly corporate offices of both nursing homes and assisted living organizations that meet the 100-employee threshold. The OSHA ETS <span style="text-decoration:underline;">does not</span> apply to the SNF, NF, and ICF-IID providers that are covered under the CMS vaccine interim final rule.   <br><span style="font-size:11pt;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">Providers are encouraged to make their voices heard with OSHA regarding this vaccine and testing ETS. AHCA/NCAL has set up an <a href="https://www.votervoice.net/AHCA/Campaigns/89831/Respond" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">action center</a> with guidance for members to submit their feedback directly to OSHA. <strong>The deadline to submit comments has been extended to January 19, 2022​.</strong>  </span><br></div><div><br></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">The OSHA rule preempts any inconsistent state or local laws, including laws that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, masks, or testing. The ETS serves as an interim final rule and has a 30-day comment period. AHCA/NCAL plans to comment on the interim final rule. </span></div><div><br></div><div>Helpful resources include:  </div><div><ul><li><span style="font-size:11pt;">​OSHA’s <a href="https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets2" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">vaccine and testing ETS website</a> which includes templates, detailed FAQs, a short webinar, and links for the full ETS and summary.  </span></li><li>AHCA/NCAL’s <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/Documents/COVID19/100-Employee-Threshold.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">resource </a>to help determine if your organization meets the 100-employee threshold.  </li><li>The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) <a href="https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/how-to-comply-with-osha-covid-19-vaccination-emergency-temporary-standard.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">free guide​</a> for employers on how to comply with the new ETS. </li></ul><p></p><p><br></p><p>OSHA has stated that they will examine the feasibility of expanding the ETS to smaller employers in the future. This new ETS does not change OSHA PPE requirements for COVID-19 when working with individuals who are suspected or known to have COVID-19.   </p></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">Please contact <a href="mailto:covid19@ahca.org" data-feathr-click-track="true">covid19@ahca.org​</a> with any questions. </span><br><br><br></div>On November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

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