News Archives

November 2020 Archives

Below is a list of all of the articles published in the selected month, ordered from most recent to least.

MDH Releases Guidance on Quarantine for Residents Leaving LTC for Non-Medically Necessary Outings

Today the Minnesota Department of Health published guidance entitled “Long-term Care Guidance Under Executive Order 20-99” specific to residents who leave a long-term care building for reasons other than essential medical appointments. The document references the Governor’s executive order 20-99 and makes the following points:

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Register Now for MLCOA 2020 Virtual Summit Series

Registration just opened for one of the hottest tickets in the field of aging. Each year, the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MLCOA) gathers the state’s leading minds for a Summit to discuss the policies and practices needed to create communities and systems that support aging with dignity and a spirit of well-being in Minnesota. Last year at the Summit, Governor Walz signed an executive order to establish the Council for an Age-Friendly Minnesota that recently submitted their recommendations.

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New Nurse Leadership Certificate Program Now Open for Registration

Nurse leaders in aging services settings must possess the leadership and operational skills to provide best in class care and effectively support their staff and residents. This year, when the COVID-19 pandemic has staff teams stretched to capacity, the need is even more urgent.

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Deadline Approaching for Re-Opened 2021 Institute Call for Presentations

Members interested in submitting one or more proposals for the May 19-21 LeadingAge Minnesota Institute have until 5 pm on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 to respond. Proposals can be sent using this link. Questions may be directed to Heidi Simpson at hsimpson@leadingagemn.org. Individuals and companies who submitted proposals in the summer 2020 CFP round have been contacted and asked to make a choice about how they would like their original proposal(s) handled. Copies of original proposal submissions may be requested by contacting Terri Foley tfoley@leadingagemn.org.

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HUD Reopens Applications for COVID-19 Relief Payments – Deadline December 11

On November 23rd, HUD announced the continued availability of supplemental funds for HUD-assisted multifamily housing providers responding to COVID-19. In July, HUD announced the initial request period for COVID-19 Supplemental Payments. The new HUD notice establishes a second request window and updates the submission requirements.

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Special Home Care Matters Call Monday

As reported in last week’s Advantage, a special “Home Care Matters Call” will be held Monday, November 30, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. On the call MDH will cover Assisted Living Licensure topics and discussion. 

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Building Team Resilience: Catching Ourselves Doing Well

Our focus this week is on “Recognizing Wins” via complimenting and expressing appreciation. During a time when the “right” course is often illusive even when working hard to avoid making mistakes, people need to be reminded when they are doing well. More importantly, people need to hear they are a valuable member of your team. This helps us all keep going despite the significant stress.

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MDH Data Shows Impact of Recent Community Spread on Long-Term Care

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota has had a significant impact on long-term care, after many months of reduced cases and deaths after the spring wave. The new wave has created unprecedented staffing challenges for providers due to infected and exposed staff needing to miss work, and the impact is being felt throughout the state as opposed to the mostly Twin Cities-based outbreaks in the spring. Deaths in long-term care have risen in recent months after being at very low levels for months.

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CMS, CDC and QIOs Proactively Calling Nursing Homes

Minnesota nursing homes may be receiving calls with questions and offers of assistance from CMS, CDC, or Superior Health, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Minnesota. The LeadingAge national team recently passed along this information from CMS about non-regulatory outreach currently underway:

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Governor Walz Takes Creative Approach to Long-Term Care Staffing Shortages

In recognition of severe staffing shortages facing assisted living providers and nursing homes in Minnesota, the Chief of Staff to Governor Walz yesterday sent a message to 36,000 state employees, asking them to consider volunteering for a potential redeployment to help long-term care residents and facilities at some point in the future. “We could need assistance in communities across the state, particularly in Greater Minnesota,” the message noted. “Facilities could make use of any RNs, LPNs, or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). No prior experience is required. If needed, we will provide CNA training prior to deployment.”

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DHS Waives Physician Signature Requirement for Single Room Payment

Late yesterday, DHS released a memo that suspends the physician signature requirement for the single room rate differential. It also allows the charging of a differential to private pay without advance notice. The waiver applies only for the fourteen day quarantine period for new admissions or residents returning from leave, and it is in place through the end of the state public health emergency.

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Quarantine and Isolation Timing in Long-Term Care

There have been many questions regarding quarantine periods in long-term care communities over the past several weeks. In order to clarify, here is information about the quarantine period for staff in various circumstances:

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COVID-19 Vaccinations: What Do We Know So Far

Receiving a vaccination is one of the most effective ways for people to protect themselves and those around them including residents. Development of a COVID-19 vaccination has been on a fast-track since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Many teams working toward vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus previously worked on vaccines for similar viruses such as the original SARS virus, influenza, and other coronavirus pathogens contributing to the speed at which vaccines for COVID-19 are developing. On November 18, 2020 Pfizer applied for the first COVID-19 vaccination emergency use authorization (EUA) and will shortly be followed by other manufacturers such as Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, and others. Currently, vaccines are projected to be available the end of December 2020 or the beginning of January 2021.

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Improving Health Equity Focus of MLCOA 2020 Virtual Summit Series

On December 9-11, the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging hosts its 2020 Virtual Summit Series, a forum to discuss the policies and practices needed to create communities and systems that support aging with dignity and a spirit of well-being in Minnesota. This year’s event will focus on improving health equity for older adults in our state.

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New Nurse Leadership Certificate Program Announced for 2020-2021

Dealing with the various aspects of the current crisis brought about by the pandemic, nurse leaders in aging services settings are facing even more challenges and stressors than ever before. It is critical that they find ways to build up their strengths and their reserves so they can be present to support others—their staff, their residents and families—both now and as we look ahead to the future of aging services. LeadingAge Minnesota’s Nurse Leadership Certificate Program is designed to do just that and in a virtual environment. It builds on the solid program content and expert faculty that were formerly a part of the venerable Nursing Leadership Symposium and the Assisted Living Nurse Manager program – updated to address today’s challenges.

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LeadingAge Minnesota Welcomes Luke Jenkins—our New Director of Membership

LeadingAge Minnesota is excited to announce that Luke Jenkins has accepted the position of Director of Membership. Luke comes to LeadingAge Minnesota with almost 10 years of experience in the senior care field, most recently serving as Director of Community Relations and then Corporate Marketing & Sales Consultant with Ebenezer. He has also been active in LeadingAge Minnesota—he is a member of our Stars Among Us Awards Committee, serves as faculty for our Sales & Marketing Certificate Program, and is a Leadership Academy fellow. Luke is a graduate of Iowa State University with a BA in Speech/Communications and a BS in Operations & Supply Chain Management. Luke’s first day is December 3. Please join us in welcoming Luke Jenkins to LeadingAge Minnesota!

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CMS “Care Compare” Website Now Fully Rooted

In early September the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS healthcare compare tools. The goal of this work was to allow consumers to access Nursing Home Compare, Hospice Compare, Home Health Compare, etc. all in the same location.

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Home Care and Assisted Living Providers – Save the Date

A special “Home Care Matters Call” will be held Monday, November 30, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. The call will cover Assisted Living Licensure topics and discussion. A full announcement with call-in information is expected today and we will share additional detail in next week’s Advantage. Also expected later this week is an FAQ that MDH will cover during the call.

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Elderly Waiver Rate Caps Increase January 1

The customized living and overall case mix caps in the Elderly Waiver (EW) program increase effective January 1 because they are tied to the increase in care center rates. The customized living caps increase by 3.64%, which is the amount of the 2020 care center increase, and the overall EW caps are going up by 3.60% due to some minor rate changes in a couple of EW services. Members should be aware that, particularly for any clients who are near one or both of those caps, the higher cap will allow the case manager to authorize additional services that they have not been able to authorize previously.

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COVID-19 Resource Round-Up: Three New Resources

Compilations of lessons learned from the early months of the pandemic were launched recently from LeadingAge and from CMS.

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COVID-19 Resilience Tips: Leading your Best in the Worst of Times

Guest contributor Alyson VanAhn, PhD, Associated Clinic of Psychology

The COVID-19 era has made life exponentially more challenging for all of us. This may be particularly true for those of you who are charged with keeping others at their best in a workplace that brings chronic stress. Today’s focus is on resilience-building/stress-reducing strategies for leaders who want to build up their teams and themselves—even when not feeling at their best. This is the first in a series of articles that will focus on resilience strategies leaders can share with their teams to improve quality of work life despite the ongoing pandemic and the stressors that come with it.

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CMS Urges Nursing Homes to Use COVID-19 Staff Training

In a Nov. 17 news release CMS urges nursing homes to take advantage of targeted COVID-19 training and highlights facilities that have already done so. This is the free course available on QSEP that offers modules for both front-line staff and management staff (access training here); it is separate from the longer QIO training offerings and from Project ECHO.

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Community Spread Drives Huge Increase in Test Positivity Rate; Governor Announces New Statewide Restrictions

For those tracking the COVID-19 test positivity rate by county, particularly care centers using that data to determine their staff testing protocol, the accelerated community spread in the last few weeks has had a huge impact. CMS test data for the two weeks ended 9/30 showed Minnesota with 35 green counties (positivity less than 5%), 46 yellow counties (5-10%) and 6 red counties (over 10%). In the most recent data, for the two weeks ended 11/11, virtually all MN counties are now red, with only four rural counties (Cook, Fillmore, Lake and Lake of the Woods) with yellow status and none in green.

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Good News: Developments on Background Studies, Care Center Recertification Surveys

We received good news today on two fronts:

Background Studies: The Minnesota Department of Human Services will be returning to emergency COVID-19 background studies that were previously in place. The Department is finalizing its implementation plan and anticipates this will be effective Thursday morning (Nov. 19).

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Dementia Care Training Begins Next Week: Strategies to Avert Challenging Behaviors

Do you want to be better equipped to address wandering, hoarding and resisting cares? What about repetitive statements, paranoia, inappropriate sexual expressions or aggression? Our dementia care training can help.

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2021 Institute and Expo Call for Presentations Process to Re-Open

Now that the LeadingAge Minnesota Institute and Expo has been officially re-scheduled for May 19-21, 2021, the Call for Presentation (CFP) process has opened back up. Much has happened since this past summer’s deadline and new program ideas may have surfaced. The updated 2021 Institute CFP Application Log-in contains the online submission form and guidelines. The new CFP is open until 5 PM on December 1, 2020. Questions may be directed to Ashley Rogers at arogers@leadingagemn.org or Heidi Simpson at hsimpson@leadingagemn.org.

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LeadingAge MN CEO Gayle Kvenvold Provides Mission Moment at National Conference

At noon tomorrow (11/12), LeadingAge Minnesota CEO Gayle Kvenvold will be featured as part of LeadingAge National’s Annual Conference. Kvenvold was asked to provide a Mission Moment—a personal reflection on our missions of service in these challenging times.

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U of M Seeks Participants for Driving Retirement and Memory Loss Program

A common struggle for family members of older individuals who are beginning to exhibit memory challenges is the discussion regarding stopping driving or “driving retirement.” CarFreeMe is a program for people with memory loss living in Minnesota who are considering retiring from driving or are acclimating to driving retirement. Information is available for anyone interested in participating in the program and study.

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VA and Third-Party Administrators to Consider Some Denied Claims for Payment

Some Minnesota providers have experienced issues with timely and approved VA payments and there may be some options available. VA and its third-party administrators (TPA), Optum and TriWest, will reconsider payment to providers who had a claim denied for simple routing errors.

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CMS Announces Medicare A/B Premiums and Deductibles

On November 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2021 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. 

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