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.

Updated Environmental Scan Available to Members

LeadingAge Minnesota has recently completed an update of our environmental scan, which tracks key trends and issues across various categories, including demographics, workforce, payment and consumer preferences. The scan is an excellent tool for strategic planning discussions with boards and other key leaders, and the recent updates reflect some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and questions it raises for the future of long-term care.

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At the Capitol: Minnesota Lawmakers Prepare to Return for Special Session

With Governor Walz expected to call a special session on Monday, lawmakers worked this past week, mostly behind closed doors, to iron out differences in the two-year budget. By Monday, June 7, only three committees--Commerce and Energy, Legacy, and Higher Education--had publicly announced their joint budget agreements. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week:

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3 Steps to Finalize your Assisted Living License Approval

Providers that recently applied for an assisted living license (ALL) must take three easy but essential steps by July 1 to ensure the application's approval and prepare for the Aug. 1 implementation date.

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As ALL Conversion Application Closes, Providers Move to Provisional Application

As of Wednesday, June 2, the assisted living license conversion application has been frozen, and the deadline to apply has passed. However, if you did not submit your application, you can still move ahead with a provisional application to comply with licensure requirements by Aug. 1.

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EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding Vaccines

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 guidance regarding employers and COVID-19 vaccines. The expanded guidance provides new information about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply when an employer offers incentives for employees to confirm vaccination when an employee gets a vaccine in the community or from the employer or its agent. The critical updates to the guidance are as follows:

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Time for Care Centers to Select new QIIP Goals

DHS recently prepared the data needed for all care centers in the Medical Assistance program to select a new goal to work on for another round of the Quality Improvement Incentive Payment Program (QIIP). Each year, based on their progress toward the goal they select, care centers receive a rate increase of $0 to $3.50 per resident day. 

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Lifting of Restrictions at Adult Day Centers

Effective May 28, 2021, DHS is lifting all COVID-19 restrictions issued by DHS for operating adult day centers. 

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The Deadline to Convert to Assisted Living Licensure is June 1

Time is almost up for current assisted living service providers to submit a conversion application to assisted living licensure. After June 1, a provider needs to apply for a new or “provisional” license with additional standards applied and no assurance that the license will be approved. Unlicensed settings are prohibited from providing assisted living services after Aug. 1.

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Stars Among Us Award Goes to YOU!

The LeadingAge Minnesota Awards Committee is proud to announce the 2021 Stars Among Us award winner: YOU!

Each year at Institute, during one of the two general sessions, we introduce you to the amazing people recognized with our annual Stars Among Us awards – leaders, volunteers, board members and our top honor, the caregiver of the year. We consider it a highlight of the Institute.

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LeadingAge Minnesota Institute Underway

On Tuesday, LeadingAge Minnesota kicked off the first day of the 2021 Institute. The Institute, held May 18-21, is the largest multi-day conference for older adult services professionals in the Upper Midwest. This year's event takes place on a virtual platform over four mornings and has more education sessions and available CEUs than ever before.

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Executive Order Removes Conflict with CDC and CMS Guidance for Long-Term Care Settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published updated infection prevention and control recommendations in response to COVID-19 vaccinations, QSO 20-38, and QSO 20-39 at the end of April. Immediately after these guidance documents were posted, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) directed nursing homes to pause before following the staff PPE and dining and activities portions of the recommendations due to potential conflicts with Gov. Walz's executive order.

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Summer 2021: DHS to Require Submission of COVID Relief Spending Schedule for Care Centers

After previously delaying the requirement for care centers to submit COVID-19 Relief spending information while awaiting federal guidance, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that the special COVID Supplemental Schedule for the cost report year ended Sept. 30, 2020 must be submitted this summer.

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New CMS Rule Sets COVID Vaccine Requirements for Nursing Facilities

On May 11, CMS announced an interim final rule establishing new requirements for nursing facilities. The rule requires care centers to offer COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff, to educate residents and staff regarding the benefits and potential side effects of the vaccine, and to report COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics treatment information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).

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LTC Imperative Urges Lawmakers to Address Urgent Assisted Living Issues

Even as assisted living licensure applications opened last week and state legislators entered their final weeks of the legislative session, there continue to be substantive and technical issues with the assisted living licensure law, jeopardizing the access to needed assisted living services for Minnesota seniors. 

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Applications for Assisted Living License and AL Directors Go Live

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released the application for assisted living licensure late last week. Additionally, the Board for Executives for Long-term Services and Supports (BELTSS) has launched the application for legacy licensed assisted living directors.

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MDH Submits Modifications to Assisted Living Licensure Rule, Requests Reconsideration

On April 16, MDH filed a response to the Proposed Assisted Living Licensure Rules to the Office of Administrative hearings and requested that Chief Judge Starr review and approve the rule with the modifications proposed. Modifications were made necessary dues to the disapproval of certain aspects of the rule as originally submitted. Other modifications were suggested by the Administrative Law Judge for clarity. 

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CDC, CMS Publish Updated Guidance for Healthcare IP&C in Response to COVID Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated infection prevention and control recommendations in response to COVID-19 vaccinations yesterday. Following closely behind the CDC, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published two revised memos yesterday as well: QSO 20-38 and QSO 20-39. The QSO memos are revised with the recent CDC guidance updates.

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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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