News related to "testing"

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Rising Positivity Rates Means More Testing for Care Centers

On April 21, 2021 by Jeff Bostic

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.

Reporting Antigen Test Results: A Refresher on the Requirements

On March 10, 2021 by Jonathan Lips

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has reminded providers about the importance of reporting COVID-19 point of care antigen test results.

Many providers, both care centers and assisted living, are administering antigen tests, using the Quidel Sofia or BD Veritor systems, or the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 card tests. The MDH epidemiology team recently shared with us that it believes some providers are not consistently reporting the results of those rapid, point of care tests, and so we wanted to share a reminder of the requirements.

State Support Still Available for PPE, Testing, Staffing

On February 17, 2021 by Jonathan Lips

While COVID-19 cases in aging services settings have fallen sharply in recent months, we know the virus is still having a serious impact on many providers.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) wishes to remind providers that it continues to have resources available for nursing homes and assisted living providers that need support:

Update on Reporting Point of Care Antigen Test Results

On January 13, 2021 by Jonathan Lips

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has granted certified nursing facilities more flexibility in terms of where facilities submit the results of point-of-care antigen tests.  We expect the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to update its “Reporting Results of COVID-19 Tests” guidance today, to reflect this change.

CMS, CDC and QIOs Proactively Calling Nursing Homes

On November 25, 2020 by Jonathan Lips

Minnesota nursing homes may be receiving calls with questions and offers of assistance from CMS, CDC, or Superior Health, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Minnesota. The LeadingAge national team recently passed along this information from CMS about non-regulatory outreach currently underway:

Community Spread Drives Huge Increase in Test Positivity Rate; Governor Announces New Statewide Restrictions

On November 18, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

For those tracking the COVID-19 test positivity rate by county, particularly care centers using that data to determine their staff testing protocol, the accelerated community spread in the last few weeks has had a huge impact. CMS test data for the two weeks ended 9/30 showed Minnesota with 35 green counties (positivity less than 5%), 46 yellow counties (5-10%) and 6 red counties (over 10%). In the most recent data, for the two weeks ended 11/11, virtually all MN counties are now red, with only four rural counties (Cook, Fillmore, Lake and Lake of the Woods) with yellow status and none in green.

Additional NHSN Training on POC Test Reporting Tool

On November 11, 2020 by Jonathan Lips

CDC has announced two more training session opportunities on the new point-of-care testing tool on NHSN. Trainings will be held this week on Thursday, November 12 at 2:00 PM Central Time and Friday, November 13 at 11:00 AM Central Time. Register for these training sessions here. The slides have been posted here. CDC has promised to post a recording of the training session in the future.

Rising COVID-19 Cases Creates Huge Jump in “Red” Counties

On November 4, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

As community spread of COVID-19 continues at a rapid pace in Minnesota, it has consequences for care centers under the CMS staff testing mandate. The most recent CMS data, for the period from 10/15 through 10/28, has 29 counties with red status, due to a test positivity rate of over 10%. That’s up from 13 counties just a week before. Care centers who are using the CMS data to determine their testing practice and who are now in a red county will have to implement twice a week staff testing.

COVID-19 Resource Round-Up

On October 28, 2020 by Terri Foley

In LeadingAge Minnesota’s weekly Huddles and Clinical Coaching Rooms, we continue to get questions about the length of quarantine and when staff can be back at work.

LTC Imperative Completes Survey on Testing in Consultation with MDH

On October 28, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

The LTC Imperative recently wrapped up our most recent short survey, this one on testing practices using questions developed in consultation with MDH to give them a view into what is happening with testing in long-term care.

MDH Releases New Resources for LTC Providers for Testing & Reporting

On October 28, 2020 by Kari Everson

Today, the Minnesota Department of Health published two new resources to assist members with testing and reporting requirements. 

COVID-19 Resource Round-Up: Testing Tools and Links

On October 21, 2020 by Terri Foley

Testing continues to be an ongoing issue and challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quick Survey on Testing: Please Respond by Tomorrow Morning

On October 21, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

The LTC Imperative is continuing a series of quick surveys to take the pulse of members on key issues.

NHSN Enables Reporting of COVID Test Results: Providers Must Continue Reporting Directly to the State

On October 21, 2020 by Jonathan Lips

Effective last Friday, Oct. 16, the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) enables nursing facilities and assisted living providers to report COVID-19 point-of-care test results to the NHSN system. 

Does an Employee’s Refusal to Test Qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

On October 21, 2020 by Kari Thurlow

LeadingAge MN has received several questions from members regarding an employee’s refusal to participate in COVID-19 outbreak testing.

Update on Abbott BinaxNOW Test Distribution

On September 30, 2020 by Jonathan Lips

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided updated information concerning distribution of the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid point-of-care tests

COVID-19 Resource Roundup: Testing Tools & Support

On September 9, 2020 by Terri Foley

Last week’s CMS Testing Rule generated many new tools for nursing homes on our COVID-19 webpage.

Highlights of Second LTC Imperative Short Survey on Testing

On August 26, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

Earlier this week the LTC Imperative completed our second short, one-day survey, which looked at employee and resident testing. Testing is an important aspect of containing outbreaks during the pandemic and the survey results will help inform our advocacy on testing policies and payment.

New U.S. Senate Bill Includes Liability Protections

On July 28, 2020 by Kari Thurlow

A Republican proposal introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, the HEALS Act (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act) includes measures that address liability protections.  

DHS Releases Testing Reimbursement Information for Care Centers

On July 22, 2020 by Jeff Bostic

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will soon post information about reimbursement of COVID-19 testing costs for employees to the nursing facility portal.  The new information includes a memo outlining the reimbursement policy and an updated “Form A” to submit for reimbursement of costs related to the Covid-19 state emergency, which now includes employee testing costs. 

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