News

Category: Federal News

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

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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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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Service Coordinator Updates from HUD

HUD staff will join the regular LeadingAge Housing Advisory Group call on Monday, October 26, to share more updates about Service Coordinators, including payment and grant extension updates.

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HUD Posts Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Updates

HUD has posted an updated version of the RAD PBRA Quick Reference Guide to reflect program changes and frequently asked questions.

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DOL Issues Interim Final Rule Dramatically Increasing the Prevailing Wage

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) published an interim final rule that changes how prevailing wages are calculated, which has an immediate impact on foreign workers in the H1B, H1B1, and E-3 programs.

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New Requirement to Submit Documentation to QIOs Electronically

Effective October 1 of this year, a new federal rule requires the submission of all documentation to Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) through an electronic submission method.

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CMS Memo Addresses Emergency Preparedness Exercises

Under CMS emergency preparedness regulations, nursing facilities are required to conduct two emergency preparedness testing exercises annually.

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New SNF Medicare Rates Take Effect on Thursday

Based on the annual SNF Payment Rule which CMS released earlier this summer, new SNF Medicare rates for the second year of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) take effect on October 1. 

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HUD Permits Alternatives to Resident Meetings for RAD

In a Notice issued Friday, HUD permits alternatives to group resident meetings required for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). For PHAs or owners undergoing a RAD conversion

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National Adult Day Services Week

National Adult Day Services Week will take place September 20-26 and is an opportunity to recognize this important service that supports both participants and their family caregivers.

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SNF Quality Reporting Program Public Reporting Strategy

CMS recently published a COVID-19 Public Reporting Tip Sheet detailing the SNF QRP public reporting strategy developed by CMS to account for quality data submissions

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