Category: Federal News

Welcome to the Federal News category. These news items pertain to aging services national policies and programs.

National Partner LeadingAge Starts Work Groups for Affordable Housing Members

Our partners at LeadingAge Housing Advisory Group now have five Workgroups to share information among members, to improve programs, and to inform LeadingAge advocacy to HUD and to Congress.

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HUD opens 2021 Service Coordinator Renewals

On February 19, HUD opened the application period for Calendar Year 2021 (CY21) Service Coordinator program renewals in GrantSolutions. Under a compressed timeline for the delayed grant renewals, applications are due by March 22, with disbursements projected for June or July.

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LeadingAge Obtains CMS Clarification on Emergency Preparedness Exercises

Under CMS emergency preparedness regulations, nursing facilities are required to conduct two emergency preparedness testing exercises annually – with exercises alternating between full-scale functional exercises and exercises of choice (mock drill, table-top exercise, workshop). 

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NHSN Training Opportunities for Care Centers

The CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) team will offer trainings to review updates to the LTCF COVID-19 Module, Resident Impact & Facility Capacity Pathway, that took effect in late November 2020.

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Congress Continues Discussions on COVID-19 Relief

Congress is now in the process of considering the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package proposed by President Biden. This legislation, being considered through a budget-reconciliation vehicle that only needs simple majorities in both the House and the Senate and may be passed exclusively with Democratic-votes.

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NHSN Updates for Care Centers

We noted two newsworthy items from CDC this week relating to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data collection system.

Monoclonal Antibodies
CDC has added data fields for monoclonal antibodies to the NHSN COVID-19 surveillance module.

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LeadingAge Continuing to Provide Five-Star Analysis Reports

Earlier today, LeadingAge sent all care center members Five-Star Analysis reports that reflect updates to the data implemented by CMS a couple weeks ago. For more details on the scoring updates, go to this recent Advantage story that covers the changes in depth.

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CDC Officially Extends Eviction Moratorium

Ahead of the Jan. 31 expiration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ordered the extension of the current eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent.

The order prevents residential evictions until March 31; tenants must self-certify eligibility for the protections. The extension keeps the moratorium largely unchanged, and tenants who previously submitted the self-certification should not have to resubmit.

In the meantime, we are advocating to quickly provide rent relief for senior housing communities impacted by COVID-19.

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CMS Releases Updated Five Star Quality Ratings for Care Centers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released updated Five-Star quality ratings for care centers. Beginning with this month’s update, all three domains (Survey, Staffing, and Quality) will again operate as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. All care centers should review the new ratings posted at Medicare Care Compare. As described in this revised Technical Users’ Guide, updates to the specific domains are as follows:

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CMS Quality Measures and MDS Web-Based Trainings Available

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the following new quality and Minimum Data Set (MDS) web-based training content for skilled nursing facilities and Medicare home health providers:

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HUD Announces Competition for $150M New Section 202 Funds

On January 11, HUD announced its competition for $150 million in new Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly funds. The application deadline for these funds is May 26, 2021.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is similar in many ways to the last HUD Section 202 NOFO issued in April 2019. That NOFO was for $51 million and ultimately provided Section 202 Capital Advance and Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) funding for 575 units via 18 nonprofit-controlled communities when the awards were announced in February 2020.

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Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Details Released

A key part of the December 2020 COVID-19 relief bill is a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including availability of second draw loans for some organizations that got a PPP loan earlier this year. In January 2021, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Treasury issued rulemaking to implement the second draw loan program. Organizations that received a PPP loan earlier this year are eligible to receive a second forgivable loan of up to $2 million if they meet eligibility criteria. The loan application portal is expected to open this week. As with the first round, eligible organizations can apply through most local or national banks.

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National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2020 Update

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued the 2020 update to the National Plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease. There have been updates yearly since this report was originally published in 2012. A complete list of the National Plan and updates, as well as an Action Side-by-Side, is available, as is more information about the National Alzheimer's Project Act .

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HUD issues new set of Q&As for Multifamily Housing providers

This week, HUD issued a new set of Q&As for Multifamily Housing providers, including senior housing, last updated in mid-October. While the Q&A addresses vaccines, PPP loans, and residual receipts, it falls short of addressing several pressing questions. With affordable housing communities bracing for continued COVID-19 surges, the Q&A provides little direction for housing owners and staff navigating COVID-19 vaccines and testing, as well as ongoing unbudgeted expenses and operational challenges.

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Carbon Monoxide Alarms in HUD and USDA Housing – Funding included in Bill

Included in the passage of the 5,593 page COVID-19 relief and FY21 appropriations bills package is H.R. 1690, which requires HUD- and USDA-subsidized housing to have carbon monoxide alarms in units that have combustion-fueled appliances or a ventilation system that connects them to such units.

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HUD releases first evaluation of Supportive Services Demonstration

(HUD) research arm released the first of three evaluation reports of the Integrated Wellness in Supportive Housing (IWISH) demonstration program, which funds a full-time resident wellness director and part-time wellness nurse to work in HUD-assisted housing communities serving older adults. Launched in 2017, the three-year demonstration program aims to determine whether a well-funded, planned model of supportive services coordination in HUD-assisted senior housing provides compelling benefits.

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HUD Disaster Preparedness Toolkit now available – Informational Webinar on Dec. 10

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a disaster preparedness toolkit for multifamily housing. Announced yesterday, the disaster preparedness “business continuity” toolkit for multifamily housing providers is now available.  HUD will also be hosting a webinar on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 12:30-2 pm CST to share information on the new resource.

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CMS Announces Updates to Five Star Quality Rating System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced (QSO-21-06-NH) on December 4 that the Five Star Quality Rating system will resume all updates with the January 2021 refresh. Due to the public health emergency (PHE) first issued in March 2020, the 3 domains of the rating system had previously been held constant at varying times throughout the past 9 months as a result of changes to health inspections and certain temporary regulatory waivers. During this time, CMS also unveiled the new Care Compare site, which officially replaced all legacy sites, including Nursing Home Compare, on December 1, 2020. Complete updates to the Five Star Quality Rating system will be available at the new Care Compare site on January 27, 2021.

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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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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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