COVID-19 updated and new information – early August 2020

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  • CDC updated this return to work guidance again on Monday, August 10, 2020.
  • COVID-19 FAQs on Medicare Fee-for-Service Billing was updated August 7, 2020. This 140-page document was most recently updated on July 28, 2020.  There is only 1 new FAQs within the document: E.23 … Hospital Services.  Question: CMS is waiving the entire utilization review (UR) condition of participation at 42 CFR 482.30, which requires that a hospital must have a UR committee with a UR plan that provides for review for Medicare and Medicaid patients with respect to the medical necessity of the admissions to the institution, duration of stays, and professional services furnished, including drugs and biologicals. Does that mean that the use of Condition Code 44 is waived as well?  The answer is found on page 22 of the FAQ.
  • Recommendations for Long-term Care Visitation and Activities: How and When to Safely Transition to the Next Level Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.  “The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has outlined levels for visitation and activities to guide long-term care (LTC) facilities in Minnesota in adjusting restrictions while maintaining high standards for COVID-19 safety for residents, staff, and visitors. This (22-page) document combines current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and MDH. This document should be reviewed and implemented in conjunction with all other federal and state guidance documents from the CDC, CMS, and MDH.”  This document was posted on August 10, 2020; it is effective August. 29, 2020.  Here’s a look at the table of contents:

#6 of 7 Key Considerations: Facilities CANNOT move on to the next level if they have any facility-onset COVID-19 cases among residents or COVID-19 positive staff that worked while infectious in the last 28 days.

  • The Advocate – August 2020 newsletter from the IA Office of the State LTC Ombudsman urges Iowa facilities “to take every opportunity to encourage and facilitate virtual visitation.”  The note is a good reminder to be creative in affording residents and families the gift of visitation with loved ones.
  • The August 6th National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training session – COVID-19 Surveillance to Enable Early Detection and Response to Outbreaks: National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Mandatory Data Collection was a great session.  The  59 minute, 58 second video, presentation slides and additional resources document are now available.
  • “Prevalence of COVID-19 in the community remains the strongest predictor of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes, but higher nurse aide and total nursing hours may help to contain the number of cases and deaths.”   That is the conclusion statement in an article published online Saturday, August 8, 2020 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  This is a good read.  If you haven’t read my earlier blog on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: Calming the Perfect Storm, you’ll want to take a few minutes to read that as well.

Want to keep up with the changing COVID-19 situation in skilled nursing?

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