Archive October 2021

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Register today for upcoming webinar to explore the use of temporary nurse aide program

As critical staffing shortages continue to challenge long term care providers, it remains vitally important to MHCA to provide members with tools to help combat this crisis. This two-hour Zoom webinar will review the free AHCA temporary nurse aide program, provide a template policy, implementation guide and review the necessary steps to stay compliant utilizing this option. Click here to for the program flyer and link to register. Please reach out to Ashley in the association office with any questions. We hope you will choose to join us! 

Program Title: The time is now! Use of the Temporary Nurse Aide Program to assist with crisis staffing
Date: November 17, 2021
Time: 1:00-3:00PM
Cost: Members: $59, Each additional member: $49

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Updated Supplemental Payment Information for Sections 2, 67, and 97 Appendix C Providers, Updated Frequently Asked Questions

As previously announced, the DHHS will be issuing supplemental COVID-19 payments to in-state Nursing Facilities (NFs), PNMI Appendix Cs (also known as Residential Care Facilities, or RCFs), and Adult Family Care Homes (AFCHs). Per previous communications, payments to facilities will be made in two lump sum amounts. The first payment was issued in September and comprised approximately half of the total payment. The October payment will make up the remaining balance.

This message is to inform providers that the second payment will be issued with next week’s cycle, on October 27, 2021. These payments will be indicated on the Remittance Advices as “OTHER.”
The Department previously issued an FAQ guidance document regarding the methodology, appropriate use of funds, and more. We have since received additional questions and updated the FAQs to provide clarification and additional guidance. The updated document is now available on the Department’s website

As a reminder, any NFs, PNMI Cs or AFCHs enrolled with MaineCare that provided services during FY21 or FY22, and that were still active as of September 1, 2021, are eligible to receive supplemental payments. 

Please contact Provider Relations Specialist, Tammy Usher, with any questions.
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Notes from ME DHHS Medical Directors Call 10/19/2021

Approved use of COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies for post-exposure prophylaxis in the setting of LTC outbreaks:  As noted on the call, we communicated this language to the mAb providers in the state:  This week ME DHHS has decided to allow the use of mAb’s for post-exposure prophylaxis specifically in the setting of COVID-19 outbreaks in LTC facilities, recognizing the high risk to older individuals in those settings. Please feel free to contact me directly if your facility is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak & you’re running into issues accessing mAb therapies.

Links referenced by Carrie Rice, ME CDC:
RE: the reference to ME DHHS decision to allow LTC facilities to hire new employees who have their first vaccination, see language below from the press release

In response to suggestions from stakeholders, and to help facilities during the transition to the new rule in November, Maine DHHS and CDC will use enforcement discretion during this time-limited period to allow health care facilities subject to the emergency rule to hire a new employee who has received at least a first dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to the employee’s start date. This is conditional on the employer ensuring that the employee uses appropriate personal protective equipment and is tested at least weekly until the employee is fully vaccinated (including an employee who received a Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine prior to the start of employment). Any such employee who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must receive the second dose on the FDA-authorized schedule.>>
Online tool for assistance with hiring:  I connected w/ Joy Gould, ME DHHS Manager for Health Care Workforce, and she suggested that rather than use the website (which has been somewhat less helpful than anticipated), LTC facilities can instead use the ME Dept of Labor Maine Job Link:

Link to the CMS QSO 20-39 (“Nursing Home Visitation – COVID-19) – Rev’d April 2021:

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Maine Jobs and Recovery Healthcare Workforce Initiative Survey

The Maine Departments of Labor (MDOL) and Health and Human Services (DHHS) are interested in better understanding your recruitment and training needs. Within today’s economy, MDOL and DHHS are committed to investing in our current health care workforce and growing a strong health care talent pipeline. To ensure emerging workforce strategies are aligned to meet your needs, Maine DOL and DHHS are hoping to gather input from long term care providers.
They are seeking your feedback through a brief (5-7) minute survey to be filled out no later than October 29, 2021. The survey is available here.
A staff person in your organization who oversees training and recruitment efforts and is familiar with the scope of your workforce positions would be optimally positioned to complete the survey. For organizations that are a part of a larger health system, please feel free to fill out the survey to represent information from your specific location.
Thank you for your time and expertise in filling out this brief survey. Your input is critical to inform our programs and ensure implementation of state and federal resources meet critical healthcare workforce needs.
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PAC Raffle and Gamification Winners!

Congratulations to the winners drawn on October 20th for the PAC Raffle and Gamification Leaderboard prizes during the Fall Conference, as well as our appreciation to all those who donated items!

PAC Raffle Drawing Winners:
  • Michelle Giordano, DLTC Healthcare: $250 Amazon Gift Card donated by Preti Flaherty
  • Mary Sargent, Penobscot Shores Retirement Community: $250 Apple E-Gift Card donated by DLTC Healthcare
  • Luke Giordano, DLTC Healthcare: $100 Amazon E-Gift Card donated by Inn at Village Square
  • Lynn Roy: $100 Apple Gift Card donated by 75 State Street
  • Ashley Carpenter, The Lodges Care Center, Inc: $100 Hannaford E-Gift Card donated by Sweet Seniors Guest House
  • Lori Morey, Island Nursing Home: $100 Shaws E-Gift Card donated by Odd Fellows' & Rebekahs' Home of Maine
  • Mary Sargent, Penobscot Shores: $100 Target E-Gift Card donated by First Atlantic Healthcare
  • Michelle Hammond, East Point: $100 Visa Gift Card donated by Gorham House
  • Cheryl Dobbelsteyn, Cove's Edge: $25 LL Bean E-Gift Card donated by Healthcare Services Group
Gamification Winners of a $50 Gift Card/each:
  • Rebecca Gagnon, Barron Center
  • Jessica Porter, Brewer Center for Health and Rehab
  • Martina Muir, Quarry Hill Retirement Community
  • Jessica Duffy, 75 State Street
To purchase PAC Raffle tickets, click here.

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AHCA Provides Summary of HRSA Phase 4 Rural Distribution Webinar

Last week, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) held its third Phase 4 and Rural distribution webinar focusing on documentation needed for the single application. HRSA also released detailed guidance on submitting Phase 3 Reconsideration Applications.
Highlights from the October 13 webinar include:
  • General application instructions, including documentation guidance, are located in the Phase 4 General Distribution and ARP Rural Payments Application Instructions.
  • HRSA emphasis on, “Failure to submit the correct supporting documentation may result in HRSA deeming your application ineligible for payment.”
  • Review of five scenarios which health care providers have tax requirements, use financial documentation, and/or have organizational structures which fall outside of their standard application documentation requirements.
As part of this discussion, HRSA noted guidance on parent-subsidiary relationships contained in its reporting guidance. Additionally, in an October 15 transmittal, HRSA outlined Phase 3 Reconsideration Application key steps. Phase 3 Reconsideration detail is located here.
AHCA/NCAL has also provided a summary of last week's webinar for members to easily reference.

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HHS Extends Public Health Emergency

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for an additional 90 days. The new expiration date for the COVID-19 PHE is now set for mid-January 2022. Any decision to allow the PHE to lapse would come with 60 days of notice.
Telehealth flexibilities, enhanced FMAP, SNF-specific waivers (3-Day Stay, Spell of Illness) and other COVID-19 related Medicare, Medicaid, and regulatory waivers remain in place.
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AHCA Updates 3-Day Stay Waiver Guidance

This week, AHCA/NCAL updated the guidance document titled 3-Day Stay and Benefit Period Waivers for Medicare Part A SNF PPS. The two specific updates include: Staff Contact:

Long Term Care Voices for Vaccination

MHCA has launched a paid, targeted social media advertising campaign featuring the following long term care residents and employees who share why they chose to get vaccinated against COVID-19. These short videos, around one minute or less, will run on Facebook and Instagram until October 29th. Using the state's vaccination dashboard, MHCA specifically targeted areas of the state in which there are lower staff vaccination rates. We are also sharing them on our FaceBook page and providing them to members to use for organic reach.

We thank the following residents from 75 State Street and employees from Gorham House, The Lamp Memory Care, Island Nursing Home, Barron Center for sharing their voices and supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts statewide. Their words are compelling. We encourage you to share them far and wide!
Like many long-term care residents, Barry Smith, a resident of 75 State Street in Portland, urges Maine health care providers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. See why Barry believes the COVID-19 vaccine is all important in long term care communities.

Mike and Ann Kendell, residents of 75 State Street in Portland, share their reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It's not just about them, it's about their whole community and honoring a responsibility to protect one another's health and safety.

Kassim Weli, LPN, says, "If a 96-year-old long term care resident can take the vaccine, so can you." Join the fight against COVID-19 and get vaccinated today.

See what changed Ciarra Lancaster's mind and convinced her to get vaccinated against COVID-19. As a Certified Nursing Assistant on the frontlines in long term care, she urges everyone to be a part of stopping the pandemic.

As a Social Worker, Amanda Blanchard views vaccination as a tangible act of love and service to the long term care residents and families she works with every day. Join her in keeping these vulnerable residents safe from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.

Adrianna Sirois, a Certified Nursing Assistant, shares that talking to trusted medical professionals and weeding out misinformation on social media are the keys to making an informed choice about COVID-19 vaccination. After doing her own research, she decided to get vaccinated.

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Medicare Part B Therapy relief legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives

Last week, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.) introduced new bipartisan legislation to support Medicare beneficiaries’ access to physical and occupational therapy services. The Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy (SMART) Act H.R. 5536 would delay and mitigate the impact of a looming 15% cut to the Medicare reimbursement rate for physical and occupational therapy assistants. 

Specifically, the legislation would exempt therapy assistants in rural and medically underserved areas from the pay cuts, reduce burdensome requirements for direct supervision of therapy assistants in private practice settings, and delay the reimbursement cuts for non-exempt providers to January 2023.

If this legislation is not enacted, these pay cuts are set to go into effect in January 2022.

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