News

Category: Federal News

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

Nursing Homes Action Alert: Write to CMS to Oppose Proposed Payment Cuts

We encourage care centers to participate in a letter-writing campaign targeted at payment cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Free Paid Feeding Assistant Curriculum - Only Available for One More Month!

The expedited Paid Feeding Assistant training allowed byCenters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) throughout the pandemic will end in June.

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Training Opportunities for NHSN Reporting Changes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will offer training opportunities this month to describe changes coming to the COVID-19 Long-Term Care Facility module and vaccination reporting module in NHSN, to streamline and simplify reporting. 

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Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Challenge Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Payments

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently closed Phase Four of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments to health care providers. Now providers are dealing with both reporting requirements and the last opportunity to review what they have received and request reconsideration of the amount or not being paid.

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CDC to Streamline Some NHSN Reporting

In a recent national stakeholder call, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previewed changes coming to the COVID-19 Long-Term Care Facility module and vaccination reporting module in NHSN. Beginning May 23, reporting in both modules will be streamlined to simplify some reporting.

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Reminder: Certain CMS COVID Waivers Expire May 7

Several of the CMS blanket COVID-19 waivers are expiring on May 7.

In a memorandum released last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will terminate several temporary emergency declaration blanket waivers that have provided nursing facilities and other provider types with flexibilities designed to support the COVID response.

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Expedited Paid Feeding Assistant Curriculum is Available for Free until June 6!

The expedited Paid Feeding Assistant training allowed by CMS throughout the pandemic will end in June.

Last year, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) modified the minimum training requirement for Paid Feeding Assistants from eight hours to one hour under a waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In an April 7 Memorandum, CMS announced it will terminate the waiver on June 6.

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Use OnTrack to Transition Caregivers to Registered Nursing Assistants

A critical COVID-19 waiver allowing Basic Care Aids to serve seniors through the pandemic is expiring; caregivers must be on the Nursing Assistant Registry by Oct. 6.

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Argentum and LeadingAge Urge OSHA Not to Make COVID Standards Permanent

In public comments filed last week, Argentum and LeadingAge urged the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) not to make the agency's Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 a permanent part of the regulatory landscape.

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LeadingAge Housing Survey Shows Less COVID, More Workforce Challenges

The latest LeadingAge quarterly survey of affordable housing providers shows lower COVID-19 cases among residents in senior housing communities across the country. However, the survey results also show higher rates of COVID-19 among staff and persistent challenges in hiring and retaining service coordinators and other staff.

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Plastikon Healthcare Issues Voluntary Product Recall

Plastikon Healthcare, LLC is voluntarily recalling three lots of Milk of Magnesia 2400 mg/30 mL Oral Suspension, one lot of Acetaminophen 650mg/ 20.3mL, and six lots of Magnesium Hydroxide 1200mg/Aluminum Hydroxide 1200mg/Simethicone 120mg per 30 mL. 

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CMS Issues Updated Vaccine Mandate Survey Guidance

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted updated interpretive guidance concerning the staff vaccination mandate, with a revision date of April 5. We encourage care centers to review QSO 22-07-ALL (Revised) and the changes to Attachment A.

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LeadingAge Minnesota Members Advocate in Washington, DC.

This week, several members of LeadingAge Minnesota attended LeadingAge's annual Leadership Summit. In conjunction with the conference, LeadingAge facilitated meetings with our state delegation in Congress to discuss several policy priorities to ensure we have enough caregivers to provide safe, quality care for Minnesota's seniors.

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HUD On Track with NSPIRE Demonstration Program

HUD's NSPIRE Demonstration program, which will replace REAC's current physical inspection standards and protocol under the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) for the HUD-assisted housing portfolio, is on track to complete over 900 advisory inspections by the end of May 2022. HUD inspectors will continue to work with approximately 4,500 volunteer properties to identify potential adjustments to NSPIRE standards, protocols, and processes, which will then be rolled out to the broader portfolio.

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Five Star Quality Measure Rating Thresholds Increase in April

Periodically, CMS raises the Quality Measure (QM) ratings’ thresholds in the Five Star Quality Rating System to promote continuously quality improvement. CMS is implementing a new process for raising QM rating thresholds by increasing the threshold for the average rate of improvement in QM scores by 50% every six months. For example, if there is an average rate of improvement of 2%, the QM rating thresholds would be raised 1%.   

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CDC’s Project Firstline New Resources

Project Firstline, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched a new toolkit yesterday entitled Risk Recognition and Infection Control in Healthcare. As with other Project Firstline resources, the new toolkit aims to increase infection control knowledge and understanding among frontline staff.

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White House Sees Role for Service Coordinators in Mental Health Strategy

The White House’s strategy to address the national mental health crisis, outlined on March 1 in a fact sheet and formally announced during President Biden's March 2 State of the Union speech, includes training HUD service coordinators, housing counselors, and fair housing grantee staff to be equipped to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and addiction among those they serve. HUD will train staff in these roles to recognize the signs of emotional distress and connect residents with mental health resources.

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Re-Commit to Safe Care as Quality Garners Support from White House

With a goal of eliminating preventable harm in the course of caregiving, the LeadingAge Minnesota Safe Care initiative directly addresses the White House’s recent call for nursing homes to prevent resident harm and improve safety and quality.

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What You Should Know About the J-1 Visa for Hiring Workers

Aging services communities looking to build a pipeline of foreign workers hired as trainees and specialists might be interested in hiring long-term care workers through the J-1 visa exchange visitor program.

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CMP Funds Available to Nursing Homes for Air Filters, Visitation Aids

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued expanded guidance for the COVID-19 In-Person Visitation Aid Grants available to nursing homes.

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