Coronavirus

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working nationally 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 disease.

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 that skilled nursing providers should consult the guidance put forth by CMS and the CDC, and assisted living communities can consult AHCA/NCAL's 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: Remind about hand hygiene and proper use of PPE. Tell them to stay home if they're sick. Screen all personnel coming into the building.
 
Limit Interactions: Restrict all non-essential visitors and group activities. Implement social distancing within the facility.
 
PPE: Preserve your current supply if you're running low. Ask for help from local and state officials and document requests.
 
Communicate: Report suspected or confirmed cases to authorities. Keep residents, families and staff informed about your developing situation. Prepare for media inquiries.
 
Engagement: Keep residents connected with loved ones remotely and stimulated with 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 the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for end-of-life visits. 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.  
  • If you must come to the facility, such as a loved one is near end-of-life, coordinate with the staff ahead of time.  
    • They may ask you some questions before or when your 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. 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. ​
  • ​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 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.  
  • Follow everyday preventive actions such as: 
    • ​Washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers 
    • Covering your cough and sneezes ​
  • ​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.​

 

 

As 117th Congress Gets Underway, Focus Must Remain on Prioritizing Long Term Care Through the Pandemichttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/As-117th-Congress-Gets-Underway,-Focus-Must-Remain-On-Prioritizing-Long-Term-Care-Through-The-Pandemic.aspxAs 117th Congress Gets Underway, Focus Must Remain on Prioritizing Long Term Care Through the Pandemic1/21/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​</p><div>As members of the 117th Congress begin their work in Washington, D.C., lawmakers will have numerous proposals on their legislative agendas. But as the country continues to battle COVID-19, residents and staff in long term care must remain a top focus.</div><div><br></div><div>Long term care facilities have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of the heroic work of dedicated caregivers across the country, nursing home, assisted living, and other long term care residents account for nearly 40 percent of COVID-related deaths in the United States, while comprising only six percent of total cases. </div><div><br></div><div>Long term care residents are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, yet many providers still face significant challenges nearly a year into their response to the pandemic. Congress must make long term care residents and frontline workers a priority within the health care system. </div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is urging Congress to add another $100 billion to the Provider Relief Fund, as was passed in the HEROES Act last year, and allocate $20 billion of this fund to long term care. Additionally, AHCA/NCAL calls on lawmakers to ensure long term care facilities are prioritized for access to testing and proper personal protective equipment—critical resources needed to combat COVID-19 in facilities. </div><div><br></div><div>Read more below on specific areas within the long term care sector that require immediate attention from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Continuing To Fight The Pandemic</strong> </div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">While vaccine distribution has begun in long term care facilities nationwide, there is still a long road ahead. Residents and staff must continue to be prioritized for the vaccines, as well as the tools they need to win the war, namely adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), timely testing and staffing support. This is especially important as cases continue to rise among the general population and long term care facilities experience a record-breaking number of cases and deaths. Ongoing support from the federal government is critical in order for providers to continue protectin</span><span style="font-size:11pt;">g residents and staff. </span><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>Staffing</strong> </div><div>Staffing shortages have been an ongoing challenge for long term care facilities – a challenge that has only worsened in the wake of the pandemic. Staff members have missed work to take care of family members or have fallen ill with the virus and been forced to quarantine. A November <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/State-of-Nursing-Home-Industry_Dec2020.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a> by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that staffing has been the top cost in response to COVID-19, with nine out of 10 nursing homes hiring additional staff and/or paying staff overtime, underscoring the need for immediate solutions that will help alleviate this challenge. </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Declining Occupancy</strong></div><div>Long term care facilities have seen a dramatic decline in occupancy because of the pandemic. With fewer new admissions, particularly short-term rehabilitation patients, the growing number of empty beds fuels financial losses, underscoring the need for additional funding in order to keep facilities’ doors open for their current and future residents.  </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Medicaid Underfunding</strong></div><div>Medicaid underfunding has plagued nursing homes for years. The perennial gap between Medicaid reimbursement rates and the actual cost of care has forced nursing homes to operate on shoestring budgets and suffer net losses year after year. These financial strains have been magnified by COVID-19, creating an alarming threat to the entire long term care sector. Adequate Medicaid funding is a long-term solution that will enable providers to invest in critical areas that will improve overall care. </div><div><br></div><div><strong>Nursing Home Closures</strong> </div><div>Nursing home closures have risen steadily for the past several years, but COVID-19 has increased the possibility of more providers shutting their doors. Nursing home closures leave residents displaced from their long-standing communities and loved ones and reduce their options for quality care, especially in rural areas. The same November survey AHCA/NCAL found that 90 percent of nursing homes are currently operating at a loss, and two-thirds of nursing home providers say they will not be able to sustain operations for another year at the current cost. Assisted living communities face similar financial challenges after receiving minimal federal aid due to the pandemic, with more than half operating at a loss and a similar percentage fearing their doors will close within a year without further assistance. We must ensure nursing homes and assisted living communities have the financial stability to continue providing high-quality care.</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>As members of the 117th Congress begin their work in Washington, D.C., lawmakers will have numerous proposals on their legislative agendas.
Provider Relief Fund Reporting Registration Updateshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Provider-Relief-Fund-Reporting-Registration-Updates.aspxProvider Relief Fund Reporting Registration Updates1/21/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) recently launched the <a href="https://prfreporting.hrsa.gov/s/" target="_blank">Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Portal</a>, which is only open for providers to set up user accounts and register to submit reports. Currently, HHS has not established a registration deadline or set a due date for first reports. The original due date was February 15, but that has been pushed back to a date still to be determined.  ​<br><span style="font-size:11pt;"><br>Members have been contacting AHCA/NCAL with problems using the web portal. If you are experiencing issues after reviewing the <a href="https://hrsac19.my.salesforce.com/sfc/p/#t00000004XgP/a/t0000001FId8/wN.4dTa.NRiNhwh_0CBblH6gvvedhqOt7_.5OS7rP6U" target="_blank">Reporting Registration FAQs</a> and contacting the Provider Support line at (866) 569-3522, note that HHS has not set a deadline for registration.  <br></span><span style="font-size:11pt;"><br>The current open-ended registration window gives AHCA/NCAL time to address the registration glitches, as well as several other challenging registration features such as having a unique username and email address for each TIN. The latter would be very challenging for members with many buildings. <br></span><br>If you have questions, suggestions or recommendations for other changes to the registration guidance, please email <a href="mailto:COVID19@ahca.org" target="_blank">covid19@ahca.org</a>.<br></p>Members have been contacting AHCA/NCAL with problems using the PRF Reporting Portal.
Reporting Possible Adverse Events Post-Vaccination to the CDChttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Reporting-Possible-Adverse-Events-Post-Vaccination-to-the-CDC.aspxReporting Possible Adverse Events Post-Vaccination to the CDC1/21/2021 5:00:00 AM<div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring COVID-19 vaccine safety through several robust monitoring systems. Long term care facilities play a key role in supporting the CDC and FDA’s approach to safety monitoring by reporting possible side effects. </span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">The two key reporting systems for long term care staff and residents are: </span></div><div><ul><li>​<a href="https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html" target="_blank"><strong>Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)</strong></a> is a national vaccine safety monitoring system that collects, and reviews reports of possible side effects (adverse events) that occur after vaccination. Guidance on what types of events should be reported to VAERS is available <a href="https://vaers.hhs.gov/faq.html" target="_blank">here</a>. Health care providers should report adverse events to VAERS even if they aren’t sure if the vaccine caused the adverse event. <br></li><ul><li><strong>​How to report</strong>: See the <a href="https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html" target="_blank">VAERS websit</a>e for instructions on reporting. <br></li><li><strong>Who can report</strong>: Residents, caregivers, healthcare providers, nursing home staff, and vaccine manufacturers can submit a report of an adverse event following vaccination to VAERS.  <br></li></ul><li>​<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vsafe" target="_blank"><strong>V-Safe</strong></a> uses text messaging and web surveys to allow <span style="text-decoration:underline;">vaccine recipients</span> to tell the CDC how they feel after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. ​<br></li><ul><li>​<strong>How to report</strong>: After receiving their vaccine, staff and residents will be provided a v-safe information sheet with instructions on how to enroll in v-safe. </li><li><strong>Who can report</strong>: Only people with access to a smartphone can participate in V-Safe. Staff may assist residents in enrolling but <span style="text-decoration:underline;">should not</span> complete check-ins for residents. Staff can report any potential adverse events through VAERS.  </li></ul></ul></div><div>For more information, please visit CDC Guidance on <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/toolkits/long-term-care/safety-monitoring-reporting.html" target="_blank">Vaccine Safety Monitoring and Reporting in your Facility</a>. <br></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">Contact <a href="mailto:COVID19@ahca.org" target="_blank">covid19@ahca.org</a> with any questions.  </span></div>The CDC is closely monitoring COVID-19 vaccine safety through several robust monitoring systems.
NHSN Offers Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reportinghttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/NHSN-Offers-Weekly-COVID-19-Vaccination-Data-Reporting.aspxNHSN Offers Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting1/21/2021 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">Long term care facilities can track weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for health care personnel and residents through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The modules are located under the <em>Long-Term Care Facilities</em> section titled <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/ltc/weekly-covid-vac/index.html" target="_blank">Surveillance for HCP & Resident COVID-19 Vaccination</a>.   </span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;"><em>Why is this information important to upload into NHSN?</em> </span></div><div>Data helps to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines and the spread of the vaccination efforts.  Information collected via the COVID-19 vaccination module on NHSN provides the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention critical information to help inform testing needs, reopening guidance, and visitation allowances among others.  If you are not currently uploading your facility vaccination data to the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/ltc/weekly-covid-vac/index.html" target="_blank">Surveillance for HCP & Resident COVID-19 Vaccination module</a>, you are encouraged to do so as this information guides future vaccination efforts. <br></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">Please email <a href="mailto:COVID19@ahca.org" target="_blank">COVID19@ahca.org</a> with questions.</span><span style="font-size:11pt;">​</span></div>LTC facilities can track weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for health care personnel and residents through the NHSN.

​Guidance & Resources

 AHCA/NCAL

 Vaccines

Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program
Vaccine Guidance
Education and Promotion

 CDC

Health Care Facility Resources

 CMS

Memos & Guidance
Resources

 Testing

Regulatory Requirements
Rapid Point-of-Care Antigen Tests

 Finance & Reimbursement

General
Medicare Advantage and ACOs
Medicaid

 Training Programs

AHCA/NCAL

 Additional Resources