News

Category: Featured News

Welcome to the Featured News category. The following news items include major developments in the aging services world, as well as important notifications and timely reminders.

Hot Topic: Health Care Workers Travel & Quarantine

Heath care workers (HCW) and travel is a topic that continues to elicit questions because of the complexity and multivariate nature of the guidance. Current guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health recommends abstaining from travel due to the pandemic. If HCWs decide to travel, you should consider the following information as you create organizational protocols that best address your expectations regarding travel to keep staff and residents safe.

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At the Capitol: Vaccine Rollout Remains Top Priority for Lawmakers

As March begins, state health officials reported a new vaccine milestone. As of March 2, 53% of Minnesota seniors received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Building off this announcement, Governor Tim Walz stated that his administration will not move on from the current vaccine distribution phase until 70% of Minnesotan’s ages 65 and over have been fully vaccinated. With the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine arriving in Minnesota this week, Walz believes the state can reach the 70% senior benchmark by April. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

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At the Capitol: Legislature Prepares for February Forecast Release

The Minnesota Office of Management and Budget will release the February Forecast, a major indicator of the financial health of the state, this Friday afternoon. Lawmakers and policy experts anticipate an improved economic situation from the December Forecast and are beginning to have conversations on how it will influence the two-year budget-making process already well underway. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

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DHS Amends Temporary Modifications for Adult Day Services

The Department of Human Services is further amending temporary modifications to certain licensing requirements for Adult Day Services to allow more people to receive services and to allow license holders to increase daily shift hours.

Effective Feb. 17, the following licensing requirements are modified for adult day centers:

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MDH Updates Quarantine Recommendations for Health Care Workers

On Feb. 16, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released a new document COVID-19 Recommendations for Health Care Workers that reviews diagnostic testing of health care workers (HCW), management of HCW exposure to COVID-19, HCW return to work, guidance for ill HCW and travel recommendations for our staff. Additionally, within the guidance document, MDH cites several already existing documents that informed the creation of this resource.

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2021 Institute to be Virtual, May 18-21

LeadingAge Minnesota President & CEO Gayle Kvenvold announced this week in a President’s Message that the 2021 Institute will be a virtual conference from May 18-21.

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FAQ: Can You Quarantine a New Admission for Fewer Than 14 Days?

A 14-day quarantine after admission is daunting for many residents.  Transitions may already be difficult and are now compounded by the necessary infection prevention and control practices in place during the pandemic.

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Senate Committee Advances Background Studies Bill

The Minnesota Senate’s Human Services Licensing Policy Committee has advanced a proposal designed to address challenges with Minnesota’s background studies system.

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MDH Addresses Questions on Directed Plans of Correction to Nursing Homes

Over the past six months, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has been issuing “Directed Plans of Correction” (DPOC) to nursing homes cited for deficient infection control practices. Care centers have raised questions and concerns about the DPOC process, and we worked recently with MDH to clarify two key issues.

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At the Capitol: Senate Committee Takes Closer Look at COVID-19 Effects on Nursing Home Funding

With one month of the legislative session complete, lawmakers are in full swing putting together a budget for 2022-2023 Governor Walz introduced his budget proposal last week and lawmakers have turned their attention to examining the details of that proposal this week. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

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At the Capitol: No Cuts for Senior Services in Walz Budget

As the legislature enters the last week of January, the pace of the legislative session has picked up and Governor Walz has released his proposed 2022-2023 budget, which holds senior services harmless. Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

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COVID-19 Guidance: Non-Medically Necessary Outings

Long-term care organizations work tirelessly to keep residents and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic. We know congregate living settings can have significant outbreaks when COVID-19 is brought into the building. These outbreaks impact the health and lives of our residents and staff. The CDC has long-reported small family gatherings increase the number of outbreaks in long-term care settings. 

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Members Encouraged to Submit MDH Vaccine Survey Weekly

Starting last week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is conducting a weekly survey on vaccination in long-term care settings. The survey allows MDH and the provider associations to track the progress of vaccination of residents and staff in sites across the state. Providers are asked to visit the vaccine REDcap survey link each Wednesday to updated their information.

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Office of Administrative Hearings Holds Hearings on Proposed Assisted Living Licensure Laws

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) conducted a remote-access public hearing on the proposed assisted living licensure rules on Jan. 19th and 20th. This is a critical step in finalizing the rules that will govern assisted living providers under the assisted living licensure law that takes effect later this year.

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Providers Encouraged to Complete Weekly Vaccination Survey

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is urging long-term care settings, both nursing homes and assisted living providers, to complete a short weekly survey that will help the State track progress towards vaccinating residents and staff for COVID-19. 

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MDH May Soon Resume Standard Nursing Home Surveys

As we noted in last week’s newsletter, new CMS criteria for what triggers focused infection control (FIC) surveys in nursing homes will have the effect of reducing the volume and frequency of FIC surveys for many care centers. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) signaled this week that these changes may free up enough time for surveyors to resume standard recertification surveys. MDH did not say definitively that it plans to do this, or identify any concrete timeline, but they told us they are exploring it.

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2021 Minnesota Legislative Session Kicks Off This Week

Minnesota’s 2021 legislative session began Tuesday at noon, but thanks to the record seven special sessions held from June through December, it feels like the 2020 session never really ended.

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New Criteria Should Reduce Number of Infection Control Surveys for Nursing Homes

CMS issued a revised memo QSO-20-31-ALL-REVISED on Jan. 4 detailing new triggers for focused infection control (FIC) surveys. In addition to the two triggers previously identified, CMS has added 5 additional scenarios that will be used to help state survey agencies more narrowly target FIC surveys. The new criteria are effective immediately and will have the effect of reducing the volume of FIC surveys for many providers.

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Update on Monoclonal Antibody Therapies

LeadingAge Minnesota received information this week from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) about the status of implementation of monoclonal antibody therapies for COVID-19, and we wanted to share the lates with members.

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Federal Aid Package Faces Uncertain Future

On Monday evening, the Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that includes provisions that provide some additional assistance to long-term care providers. However, last night President Trump threatened to derail the bill and called on Congress to send a more suitable bill or wait until the next administration to deliver a COVID relief package.

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