Featured News

HHS Renews Public Health Emergency Declaration

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took action to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for another 90 days, effective April 21, 2021.

The PHE will now be in place until July 20, and the Section 1135 emergency blanket waivers for nursing facilities will continue over that time unless CMS terminates explicitly one or more of the waivers before that date.

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Rising Positivity Rates Means More Testing for Care Centers

After rising to very high levels in late 2020, positivity rates of COVID-19 tests in Minnesota dropped dramatically in early 2021. In addition to providing a welcome drop in cases in long-term care settings, it also meant a reduced testing burden in care centers where a federal mandate ties surveillance testing frequency to the county positivity rate.

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Proposals Advance in Minnesota House that Could Impact Housing Providers

Last week, after a lengthy debate, the Minnesota House approved the Omnibus Housing Bill (HF 1077) on a 69-62 vote. The bill, authored by Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), includes a variety of budget and policy provisions related to housing and will now move to the Senate, where Sen. Rick Draheim (R-Madison Lake) is the sponsor of the companion bill (SF 969). However, there are stark differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, so lawmakers will likely need a conference committee to work out differences between the two legislative bodies.

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State News

Dementia Live Training Grants Available

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), through the Nursing Facility Rates and Policy (NFRP) Division and the State Civil Monetary Penalties (CMP) Initiative, is seeking proposals from qualified Minnesota Medicaid-Certified Nursing Facilities that are interested in implementing a Dementia Live Training Program.

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PIPP Program Applications Open

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has posted materials related to applying for the Performance Incentive Payment Projects (PIPP) program on the nursing facility provider portal (see the links posted about halfway down the main page). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS has adjusted the timeline for PIPP this year. PIPP proposals are due to DHS by July 1, and DHS indicates that it will still work to complete the contracting process and start rate increases by Jan.1, 2022.

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Assisted Living Licensure Rules Report Update

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has filed a response to modify the Proposed Rules Governing Assisted Living Facilities, requesting that the judge review and approve the rule in its entirety with its suggested modifications.

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Federal News

HUD Updates Section 202 NOFA FAQs

On April 15, HUD updated the Frequently Asked Questions associated with the Section 202 Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), applications for which are due May 26. Based on the questions submitted, HUD has updated the FAQs. The new update includes questions on Opportunity Zones, FHA-insured financing in the development of projects, Environmental Review contacts, Appraisals, Physical Design, and Income Restrictions. The new questions are numbered 4, 16, 17, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 61 in this updated FAQ on the 202 NOFA website.

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Round Two of FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program Announced

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau will begin accepting applications for Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program on Thursday, April 29 at www.fcc.gov/covid19telehealth. The filing window will last seven calendar days and close on Thursday, May 6 at 11 a.m. CT. Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on Round 1—a $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act. 

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CMS Releases Proposed Rule that Updates SNF Rates

Late last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an annual Proposed Rule that updates the SNF PPS rates effective October 1, 2021.  CMS will follow up with a final rule on the October 1 rates around August 1.

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Notable News

BELTSS Seeks Applicants for Director of Assisted Living position – deadline Friday, April 9

The Minnesota Board of Executives for Long-Term Services and Supports posted the newly created Director of Assisted Living position on the state careers website. The person in the role will lead in the development of all Assisted Living Director (ALD) practice standards. The Board seeks a person with assisted living experience or senior living administration with the core knowledge to assist in implementing course objectives, the ALD-In Residence program, examinations, and continuing education as the AL subject matter expert.

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LeadingAge MN Foundation Scholarships Available

Investing in the professional development of the aging services workforce is more important now than it has ever been. The LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation is excited to offer educational scholarships to eligible caregivers and other employees of our member organizations for 2021.

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Grants Available for Online Dementia Care Training Program

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), through the Nursing Facility Rates and Policy (NFRP) Division and the State Civil Monetary Penalties (CMP) Initiative, is seeking proposals from qualified Minnesota Medicaid-Certified Nursing Facilities that are interested in implementing an online Dementia Care Staff Training Program.

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Member News

It’s Not Too Late! Participate in Careers in Aging Week

LeadingAge and Argentum, our national partners, are joining the Gerontological Society of America and AHCA/NCAL to promote Careers in Aging Week from April 18-24.

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eMenuCHOICE to Host Free Webinar on Dining Requirements for Assisted Living Licensure

eMenuCHOICE, a LeadingAge Minnesota business partner and partner of the Savings & Solutions Center, is hosting a free webinar on April 13 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. to review new dining requirements associated with assisted living licensure. Effective Aug. 1, assisted living settings in Minnesota must be licensed and, as a condition of licensure, assisted living providers must adhere to several new standards related to menus and food requirements, including:

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Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging is Now Trellis

Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging has changed its name to Trellis. The change signals an expanded mission for the organization, beyond the original mission as the area agency on aging for the metro area.

Trellis will continue to be a regional leader in aging but will also provide services, information and innovations that connect and improve the lives of people across Minnesota and in ten other states.

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