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.​

 

 

Preparing for Onsite Vaccination Clinicshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Preparing-for-Onsite-Vaccination-Clinics.aspxPreparing for Onsite Vaccination Clinics1/22/2021 5:00:00 AM<div><span style="font-size:14.6667px;">As LTC facilities are gearing up for their second clinics through the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program, it’s important to provide accurate and timely information to your matched pharmacy (CVS/Walgreens/LTC pharmacy) prior to the onsite clinic. This includes: <br><br></span></div><div><ul><li><strong>Accurately Estimating Vaccine Quantity</strong>: If you are participating in the Pharmacy Partnership Program, your matched pharmacy (CVS/Walgreens/LTC pharmacy) will call you a few days before the clinic to confirm the number of people to be vaccinated. It is very important providers accurately estimate the number of people to be vaccinated at this time to avoid any vaccine wastage. If there are any changes, be sure to communicate this to your matched pharmacy partner as soon as possible. <br><br></li><li><strong>Providing Accurate Insurance Information</strong>: The federal government has purchased all doses of the vaccine and is providing it free of charge to all Americans. The partner pharmacies (CVS/Walgreens/LTC pharmacy) are eligible to bill insurance for the administration fee, for individuals that are insured and HRSA for those that are uninsured.  Partner pharmacies have reported challenges in collecting the insurance in​formation for both residents and staff.  Please note that residents and staff do not have to pay out of pocket for the vaccine; however, it is necessary to provide their insurance information to the partner pharmacies so that insurance companies can be appropriately billed or the HRSA fund can be accessed​.  </li></ul></div><div>For more information on preparing for vaccination clinics, please review AHCA/NCAL’s <a href="/News-and-Communications/Documents/GetVaccinated/COVID-19%20Facility%20Vaccine%20Clinic%20Checklist.pdf" target="_blank">Vaccine Preparation Checklist</a>. For other information and resources, please review AHCA/NCAL’s <a href="/News-and-Communications/Pages/GetVaccinated.aspx" target="_blank">GetVaccinated</a> website. <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 questions. </span></div>As LTC facilities are gearing up for their second clinics through the CDC’s LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program, it’s important to provide accurate and timely information to your matched pharmacy.
Executive Order Issued to Protect Worker Safety and Healthhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Executive-Order-Issued-to-Protect-Worker-Safety-and-Health.aspxExecutive Order Issued to Protect Worker Safety and Health1/22/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​President Biden issued an <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/21/executive-order-protecting-worker-health-and-safety/" target="_blank">Executive Order</a> on protecting worker health and safety. This order includes direction for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue revised guidance on COVID-19, to consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 will need to be issued, to review enforcement efforts around COVID-19, and outreach to industries hit hardest by COVID-19. If OSHA determines temporary standards are needed, these will be issued by March 15, 2021. AHCA/NCAL is closely monitoring this executive order and how this will impact members. AHCA/NCAL will keep members updated as more information is available.​​<br></p>President Biden issued an Executive Order on protecting worker health and safety.
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>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>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 with HHS​, as well as several other challenging registration features such as having a unique username and email address for each TIN.​<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.

​Guidance & Resources

 AHCA/NCAL

 Vaccines

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

 Treatments

HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Resources
FDA Resources

 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