COVID-19 in the News June 1st – June 8th

on Tuesday, 09 June 2020. All News Items | Case Management | Documentation | Coding

Know Your State Policy Actions in Response to COVID-19 and Nursing Home Data Reporting, Surveys and Enhanced Enforcement Actions

MMP remains committed to continuing to monitor for COVID-19 updates specific to our reader base. This week we highlight key updates spanning from June 1st through June 8th.

Resource Spotlight This Week:

As our nation works to “re-open” and move forward towards a “new normal,” it is important to understand Policy Actions in your state and states you may be traveling to. This week’s spotlight resource can help provide that information. On June 3rd the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published the State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus. Following is a list of key information that is available on this webpage:

  • COVID-19: Confirmed cases & Deaths by State,
  • State Social Distancing Actions,
  • State COVID-19 Health Policy Actions,
  • State Actions on Telehealth,
  • State Reports of Long-Term Care Facility Cases and Deaths Related to COVID-19 (as of May 28, 2020),
  • Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities Related to COVID-19 (as of May 7, 2020),
  • Adults at Higher Risk of Serious Illness if Infected with Coronavirus,
  • Medicaid Expansion Status and Health Insurance Coverage,
  • Private Insurance Deductibles and Self-Insured Plans,
  • Health Care Provider Capacity, and
  • Influenza and Pneumonia Deaths and Vaccinations

This publication was authored by Jennifer Tolbert, Cornelia Hall, Kendral Orgera, Natalie Singer, Salem Mengisut, and Marina Tian.

June 1, 2020: Nursing Home COVID-19 Data and Inspection Results leads to Enhanced Enforcement Actions

In a June 1st Press Release, the CMS announced enhanced enforcement directed towards nursing homes with violations of longstanding infection control practices.

A couple of key points in a related State Survey Memo summary are as follows:

  • “Following the March 6, 2020 survey prioritization, CMS has relied on State Survey Agencies to perform Focused Infection Control surveys of nursing homes across the country. We are now initiating a performance-based funding requirement tied to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act supplemental grants for State Survey Agencies. Further, we are providing guidance for the limited resumption of routine survey activities.
  • CMS is also enhancing the penalties for noncompliance with infection control to provide greater accountability and consequence for failures to meet these basic requirements... The enhanced enforcement actions are more significant for nursing homes with a history of past infection control deficiencies, or that cause actual harm to residents or Immediate Jeopardy.”

CMS also provided link to the following information in the Press Release:

 

June 3, 2020: CMS Innovation Center Models COVID-19 Related Flexibilities

CMS posted an announcement on the CMS Innovation Center COVID-19 Flexibilities webpage regarding flexibilities being made to several CMS Innovation Center Value-Based Payment Models in response to COVID-19. For example, the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model performance year 5 has been extended through March 2021.

In a news blog CMS indicated the Innovation Center will work “directly with model participants on the specific model changes and the processes for implanting them. CMS will also continue to review the data from our models during this COVID-19 pandemic, to identify short-term and long-term lessons learned.”

June 4, 2020: PEPPER Q1 FY 2020 Release Delayed

The PEPPER Team sent out a notice alerting providers that in keeping with the CMS effort to take measures to free up the attention of providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of the Q1FY20 PEPPER for short-term (ST) acute care hospitals has been delayed. When information becomes available, the PEPPER Team will notify providers about the rescheduled release date.

June 4, 2020: FDA Video – Explaining Different Categories of Tests in Fight against COVID-19

The FDA has released a new video to provide information about the diagnostic tests and antibody tests used in the fight against COVID-19.

June 4, 2020: OCR Alert: HHS Awards More than a Half Billion Dollars to Help Vulnerable and Underserved Communities Gain Access to COVID-19 Testing

The OCR indicates in this alert that they are “sharing this update to promote awareness about COVID-19 testing and testing-related availability to people who are geographically isolated, economically disadvantaged, or medically vulnerable, including people with HIV, pregnant women, people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, residents of public housing, older persons and our nation’s veterans.

‎In case you missed it: On ‎May ‎7, ‎2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded nearly $583 million to 1,385 HRSA-funded health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and eight U.S. territories to expand COVID-19 testing. Nearly 88 percent of HRSA-funded health centers report testing patients, with more than 65 percent offering walk-up or drive-up testing. Health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities.

This Alert provided the following links:

June 4, 2020: CMS News Alert – Nursing Home COVID-19 Data and Inspection Results Available on Nursing Home Compare

CMS announced in a June 4, 2020 Press Release that they are posting the first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data as well as posting results from targeted inspections announced on March 4, 2020 that allowed inspectors to focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious disease and abuse during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Nursing Home Data

As of May 31, 2020

  • About 13,600 (approximately 88%) of Medicare and Medicaid Nursing Homes had reported the required data to the CDC.
  • These facilities reported 95,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and almost 32,000 deaths.

The CMS announced the next set of data will be released in two weeks and then plans to update the data weekly.

June 4, 2020: New Laboratory Data Reporting Guidance for COVID-19 Testing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidance specifying what additional data must be reported to HHS by laboratories along with COVID-19 test results. “The requirement to include demographic data like race, ethnicity, age, and sex will enable us to ensure that all groups have equitable access to testing, and allow us to accurately determine the burden of infection on vulnerable groups,” said ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health. “With these data we will be able to improve decision-making and better prevent or mitigate further illnesses among Americans.”

 Article by Beth Cobb

Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc.  Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. 

In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Risk Assessment (CRA) Tool. You may contact Beth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice.  Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.

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