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Now Available - Vaccine Ambassador Training

According to the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, the most effective way to address vaccine hesitancy is through conversations with trusted peers. LeadingAge Minnesota has piloted COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador training, a new Safe Care for Staff initiative for frontline staff. We have scheduled additional training opportunities on April 30, May 3, and May 6. The training is free. Please register by April 28.

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Providers and MDH Continue Working Toward Vaccination Goal

In the most recent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) update, staff rates for full vaccination were 57% in all reporting care centers and 48% in all reporting assisted living settings. These numbers are essentially unchanged from the previous week. To reach the MDH goal of 70% staff vaccination rates, providers will need to continue encouraging vaccinations among staff. MDH is now limiting reporting for providers who are meeting the goal rates for residents and staff, and as of the most recent report, 25% of providers were meeting the goal.

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COVID-19 Guidance & Resource Round-Up

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) posted an update on April 20 to its Long-term Care Visitation Guidance Flowchart for Outbreak Status tool. MDH first released this resource a few weeks ago as a companion to its updated guidance on indoor visitation. The April update provides additional information to explain how outbreak testing and visitation intersect.

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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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Leadership Academy Application Deadline is April 26

The deadline to apply for LeadingAge Minnesota’s Leadership Academy is Monday, April 26. Invest in developing your leaders through this multi-session program that includes leadership theory, applied learning and coaching by seasoned mentors.

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April 22 Webinar: Notice Requirements for Assisted Living Licensure Transitions

Attend a webinar on April 22 to learn about the Consumer Notification Requirements under the new Assisted Living Licensure Transition legislation passed in December 2020. Understand what it is designed to address, what will be required of your organization in providing notices to current residents, and other essential guidance on how to comply with the new law. 

Click here for details and registration.

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Post-COVID Recovery Education Sessions at 2021 Institute, Early Bird Registration Deadline is April 16

The 2021 Institute, May 18-21, features nearly 20 sessions devoted to post-COVID recovery to help providers shift from response mode to recovery and strategic positioning.

Early Bird Registration Deadline is Friday, April 16. Save an additional $100 off the already discounted registration fees.

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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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CMS Expands Emergency Preparedness Interpretive Guidelines

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued memorandum QSO-21-15-ALL providing updated guidance (Appendix Z) for all providers covered by the federal Emergency Preparedness requirements. CMS is currently working on updates to the Emergency Preparedness Basic Surveyor Training Course to reflect the new changes.

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Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce Through Employment-Based Training

Join the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry on May 12 from 9 a.m. to noon for a free webinar training event about creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce through employment-based training.

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At the Capitol: The Legislature Begins Passing Budget Bills

This week, lawmakers began passing budget bills off the House and Senate floors. This step establishes starting positions for the House, Senate and Governor as they enter negotiations to reach a final budget deal by May 17. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the Capitol:

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CDC Call Will Provide COVID Updates for Independent Living, Adult Day

The CDC will host a call on Monday, April 19, 11 a.m. CT for LeadingAge and Argentum members to provide information and perspective on COVID-19 for independent living settings. The call will also include an update from CDC on guidance for adult day services.

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Provider Community & MDH Continue Working Toward Vaccination Goal

In the most recent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) update, staff rates for full vaccination were 56% in all reporting care centers and 48% in all reporting assisted living settings. These numbers both went up by one percentage point in the last week, which is encouraging. To reach the MDH goal of 70% staff vaccination rates, providers will need to continue encouraging staff vaccinations. MDH is now limiting reporting for providers who are meeting the goal rates for residents and staff, and as of the most recent report, 23% of providers were meeting the goal.

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Vaccine Ambassador Training Available

According to the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, the most effective way to address vaccine hesitancy is through conversations with trusted peers. LeadingAge Minnesota has piloted COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador training, a new Safe Care for Staff initiative. We have scheduled additional training opportunities on April 30, May 3, and May 6. The training is free and open to all staff.

Read more »

Office of Administrative Hearings Released Report on Proposed Assisted Living Licensure Rules

The Assisted Living Licensure (ALL) Rules Report was issued late last week from Chief Judge Starr and Judge Ann O’Reilly.

Several parts of the proposed rule were disapproved, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) must now decide whether to correct the defects associated with the proposed rules. The Department has several options. It can adopt the corrective actions described by the ALJ and Chief Judge to cure the defects, or it can submit its proposed rules to the Legislative Coordinating Commission for advice and comment. That can take up to 60 days and seems unlikely to be used in this case.

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New! BELTSS Releases Assisted Living Director Licensure Application

The Minnesota Board of Executives for Long-Term Services and Supports (BELTSS) has announced that Minnesota Rule 6400.5000 regarding the licensing of assisted living directors has been approved, allowing the legal authority to begin online applications on April 19. Application information and online application can be accessed via the Board’s website.

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CMS Ends Four Blanket Waivers and Clarifies Nursing Assistant Issue

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a policy memo on April 8, announcing the termination of several 1135 waivers related to resident transfers, care plans, and assessments. CMS believes that facilities should have developed processes to comply with the standard regulatory requirements relating to these practices at this stage in the pandemic. These specific waivers, implemented because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, will end on May 10.

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Leadership Academy Application Deadline Approaching – April 26

The deadline to apply for LeadingAge Minnesota’s Leadership Academy is Monday, April 26. Leadership Academy has an 11-year track record of developing and growing leaders in our field by exploring leadership theory, applied learning and coaching by seasoned mentors. More than 300 leaders have graduated from this annual program.

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April 12 Webinar Sheds Light on Navigating Assisted Living Licensure Laws & Rules

A significant step in preparing for Assisted Living (AL) Licensure is reading and understanding the Minnesota statutes, laws and rules that govern it. AL directors are required to attest to having completed this requirement on both the AL licensure application and their application to become a licensed assisted living director.

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LeadingAge National Speakers at 2021 Institute, Early Bird Registration Deadline is April 16

The 2021 Institute, May 18-21, features several speakers from our national LeadingAge association.

LeadingAge speakers include:

  • Carol Silver Elliot, Board Chair – In Forward Motion (Tuesday, May 18)
  • Ruth Katz, Senior Vice President, Policy – Federal Public Policy Update: COVID-19 and Beyond (Wednesday, May 19)
  • Majd Alwan, Ph.D., SVP Technology& Business Strategy, LeadingAge and Executive Director, Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) – Why Telehealth is Here to Stay (Thursday, May 20)
  • Linda Couch, Vice President, Housing Policy – Federal Affordable Housing Update (Friday, May 21)

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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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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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Planning for a Post-Pandemic World: NIC’s Bob Kramer at 2021 Institute

Bob Kramer, Founder and Fellow, Nexus Insights, and Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) in Annapolis, Md., will address 2021 Institute attendees on Friday, May 21. In his session, Planning for a Post-Pandemic World, Mr. Kramer will discuss anticipating and planning for a post-pandemic world.

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“Information Blocking” Rule Takes Effect But Enforcement Mechanism Is Delayed

A set of rules took effect this week that are designed to support secure patient access to electronic medical records, as well as smooth electronic exchange of patient information. The so-called “Information Blocking” rule was developed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

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Providers Serving Individuals Eligible for Disability Waivers Invited to Waiver Reimagine Information Sessions

DHS Disability Services Division (DSD) now hosts monthly office hours for providers serving individuals eligible for disability waivers.

In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature authorized DHS to streamline services and simplify the service menu for people who access services through Minnesota’s disability waiver programs:

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DHS Selects New Background Studies Fingerprinting Vendor

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has selected IDEMIA Identity & Security USA LLC (IDEMIA) as the new vendor to provide statewide fingerprint and photo services for background studies submitted to DHS. IDEMIA was selected through a competitive bid process with cost, quality and reliability of service locations considered in proposal evaluations.

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