News

Category: COVID-19 News

MDH Updates COVID-19 Testing Recommendations

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) release new testing recommendations for long-term care providers on Monday, Aug. 3.

The Delta variant is more easily transmissible and spreads faster than the original COVID-19 virus or other variants, primarily among unvaccinated and vulnerable individuals. Data shows most COVID-19 cases in long-term care organizations are brought in by staff members. With the Delta variant, the dominant strain in Minnesota, there is risk for increased infection in our settings.

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Vaccination Rates Moving Slowly Toward Goal for LTC Staff

The most recent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) update on long-term care vaccination shows slow progress toward the goal rates continuing for staff, while resident rates remain outstanding.

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Tracking the Status of Key COVID Waivers

With Minnesota's COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency ending July 1, a question on members' minds is what waivers are still in place and for how long.

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Resilience Tips: From Full Mind to Mindful

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn from Associated Clinic of Psychology

As a senior care employee at any level, we have busy lives and many pressures from different directions that we absorb every day. In leadership, there are pressures to complete your administrative tasks and also support your staff to be compassionate and productive. The number of things on your mind can seem to soar to new levels with each email or conversation.

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New CDC Guidance for Adult Day Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidance for Adult Day Services providers focused on masking and vaccination status.

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COVID-19 Relief Funds: What Are You Required to Report to DHS?

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will require care centers to report the use of COVID-19 relief funds by Aug. 2. To help you comply with these new requirements, we are offering a Payment Coaching Room for care centers members.

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Public Health Emergency Renewed by HHS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for another 90 days through Oct. 18. With this extension, the 1135 federal blanket waivers issued by CMS will continue unless it decides to terminate one or more of the waivers before that date.

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Vaccination Rates for LTC Staff Moving Slowly Toward Goal

The most recent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) update on long-term care vaccination shows slow progress toward the goal rates continuing for staff, while resident rates remain outstanding.

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MDH Confirms Continuation of Nursing Assistant Training and Competency Waiver

With the end of Minnesota’s Peacetime Emergency, our team has been closely tracking how the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will manage the transition from various COVID-19 related waivers. Last Friday, we received the welcome news that a Minnesota statute addressing nursing assistant training and competency will continue to be waived, so long as CMS continues to waive the related federal requirement.

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No Cost Mental Health First Aid Course – Sessions Added

Three additional certification cohorts are now available after the first sessions were filled within a week. The new registration deadline is Aug. 16 by noon.

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State Initiates Demobilization of Emergency Support Services

This week, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) initiated a plan to demobilize COVID-19 emergency services for long-term care providers over the next several months. Noting significant progress in the fight against the virus, the SEOC has set a timeline for winding down services relating to crisis staffing support, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing/swabbing services, and vaccination administration support. 

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Private Room Waiver Ending

With the conclusion of the state peacetime emergency agreed to by lawmakers last week, one of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) policies that ends with it is a waiver of specific requirements around single rooms. Because of the frequency of quarantining of residents during the pandemic, DHS released a memo in November of 2020 that waived two policies around single rooms for quarantine situations:

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Resilience Tips: Post-Traumatic Growth

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn from Associated Clinic of Psychology

Undoubtedly, everyone has been impacted by COVID-19. For those of us in senior care facilities, the likelihood that we've experienced trauma is high—the pandemic provided "collective" traumatic experiences.

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Vaccination Rates Moving Slowly Toward Goal for Long-Term Care Staff

The most recent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) update on long-term care vaccination shows slow progress toward the goal rates continuing for staff, while resident rates remain outstanding.

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Use OnTrack To Transition BCA to Nursing Assistant

Many skilled nursing facilities are planning ahead to transition caregivers and Basic Care Aides into Registered Nursing Assistant positions. The 1135 Waiver and corresponding Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) approvals that allow nursing assistants to work without being on the Registry still apply. However, there is growing concern amongst members regarding transitioning in advance of the waiver’s discontinuation.

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No Cost Mental Health First Aid Course Available

Thanks to a LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation grant, provider members can access an online Mental Health First Aid certification course for free through Winona State University. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused trauma and stress for staff in long-term care settings. As one method to prevent crisis and burnout, we encourage LeadingAge Minnesota members to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Resilience Tips: Give to Get Resilience

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn from Associated Clinic of Psychology

Do you know some of the quickest ways to get resilience have to do with giving a tiny bit yourself? Research shows that gratitude and acts of kindness not only impact others positively, but they give you a boost of goodness, sometimes for months. Goodness here means energy, reduced stress, improved overall well-being, including physical and mental health!

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Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Guidance Released

Late Friday, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put out long-awaited guidance with specific timelines for reporting on the use of PRF dollars received by providers. The guidance addresses both how long providers have to use funds and when the use of the funds must be reported. The first reporting period opens on July 1 and must be completed by Sept. 30 and covers funds received before June 30, 2020. Those funds must be used by June 30 of this year, but funds received later have future deadlines for use.

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Steps to Allow Singing and Wind Instrument Musicians in Long-term Care

According to recent guidance, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) allows music activities and performance in long-term care settings and recommends several steps to ensure the safety of residents, staff and performers.

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CMS Enforcement of Vaccination Reporting Begins June 14

Beginning Monday, June 14, CMS will issue citations and mandatory fines to nursing homes that have not submitted the required vaccination-related data to CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network.

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