COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 12 as of 3:00 p.m.
Department of Health
The Department of Health has issued an advisory calling on skilled nursing facilities to develop and implement plans to perform COVID-19 tests on their residents and employees.
Department of Health Daily Briefing
- Nearly 14,000 residents of long-term-care facilities and people who work at those facilities have now tested positive for COVID-19.
- As have nearly 4000 other health care workers.
- The state is introducing a new testing strategy for the residents and employees of skilled nursing facilities that calls for testing every resident of every such facility. All patients who are returning to such facilities from hospitals must be tested and then accommodated appropriately. The Department of Health issued guidance on its new approach today. This guidance, linked above, calls for different levels and frequency of testing for different facilities based on how many COVID-19 cases they have had and how recently they have had them.
- Secretary Levine said the state is introducing this strategy now because it is the first time it has had sufficient access to testing supplies and equipment and laboratory resources to undertake such an effort.
- She said the department also has directed skilled nursing facilities to report daily, starting May 17, on their testing activity and case counts. This information will be reported publicly.
Department of Human Services/Office of Long-Term Living
OLTL has issued a reminder to OLTL-regulated programs operating in counties that are moving from red to yellow that previous guidance that applied to those programs remains in effect. Specifically:
- For programs involving home and community-based services, this DHS memo to Community HealthChoices managed care plans addressing temporary changes in the Community HealthChoices program and this notice to OBRA waiver service coordinators and providers describing temporary changes of the OBRA waiver.
- For nursing facilities, this DHS clarification guidance for pre-admission screening resident review (PASRR); Department of Health interim guidance on visitation in nursing facilities during the COVID-19 emergency; and CMS guidance for infection control and prevention.
- For Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) programs, OLTL’s LIFE provider guidance related to COVID-19.
- For assisted living residents and personal care homes, the Department of Health’s interim guidance on visitation to nursing facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic; CMS’s guidance for infection control and prevention; OLTL’s guidance suspending and restricting license requirements for personal care homes and assisted living residences; and DHS’s visitation restrictions in personal care homes and assisted living residences.
House Democrats have unveiled their newest pandemic relief bill. The overall bill is estimated to cost around $3 trillion. A few of the health care provisions included in this bill are:
- $100 billion for eligible health care providers to be distributed through the Health Care Provider Relief Fund. This is in addition to the $175 billion Congress has already appropriated for providers. This bill would include a prescriptive and structured methodology for distribution of the Health Care Provider Relief Fund that would include, among other things:
- quarterly relief funds based on hospital cost reports, with aid providers already received from the relief fund subtracted from the quarterly amount
- eligibility to receive up to 60 percent of revenue lost in comparison to the previous year, to help compensate for pandemic-related expenses
- a requirement that recipients not charge COVID-19 patients and not engage in balance billing
- Reduces interests rates and lengthens the payback period for Part A and Part B advance payments.
- $75 billion for testing, contact-tracing, and other activities.
- Prohibits the administration from finalizing the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR) during the current public health emergency.
- $7.6 billion to health centers.
- $4.5 billion to NIH to expand COVID-10-related research.
- $3 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Increases federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) 14 percentage points from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
- Temporarily increases Medicaid DSH allotments to states by 2.5 percent.
- Eliminates cost-sharing for most patients for COVID-19 treatment.
The House is expected to vote on the bill this Friday but the Senate is working on its own plan and is not expected to take up any new pandemic relief legislation until after Memorial Day.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has published information about factors to consider when purchasing ventilators from another country.
- The CDC has updated its FAQ on infection prevention and control in health care settings.
- The CDC has updates its interim laboratory biosafety guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has published guidance for industry and investigators addressing pre-investigational new drug application (IND) meeting requests for COVID-19-related drugs and biological products.
- The FDA has published guidance on developing drugs and biological products for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.
- The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for a specific commercial laboratory test to diagnose COVID-19.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Resources to Consult
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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