The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) and several state provider associations wrote to Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy to urge them to support the inclusion of provisions to strengthen Medicaid disability programs in the jobs and infrastructure package Congress is crafting in response to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
The letter states, “We appreciate the hard work Congress put into legislation over the past 13 months to ensure that disability programs can weather the pandemic. To ensure that these programs can come back stronger to meet increased demand after the pandemic, we encourage you to adopt policies that recognize that systems designed to deliver care are as essential as physical infrastructure when rebuilding this nation’s care economy.”
The full letter is available here.
The recording and PowerPoint from today’s Federal Wage and Hour Compliance training is available to members only on our website.
Karen Welton’s contact information is:
Email: Karen Welton
Fact Sheet #22: Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
This fact sheet provides general information concerning what constitutes compensable time under the FLSA and is available here.
We are grateful to Karen Welton, Tracy Coon, and Michael Shuey for their time and expertise that they shared with us today.
The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has scheduled a Financial Management Services (FMS) stakeholder meeting for Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 9:30 am–11:00 am. The purpose of this public meeting is to discuss upcoming changes for the administration of FMS under Community HealthChoices (CHC), the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) Waiver, and Act 150 programs. There will be representatives from both OLTL and the CHC Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) in attendance to discuss the upcoming changes.
Questions should be directed to OLTL.
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Health Alert Network (HAN) Updates
There has been several HANs that were updated or created last week addressing Long Term Care facilities, which includes ICFs. The DHS guidance for Long Term Care Facilities is going to be updated to reflect the changes outlined in the new HAN guidance. Please begin reviewing, making the necessary changes, and implement the necessary changes to your respective policies and procedures while the DHS guidance is updated. Please assure that you cross reference the CMS 1135 waiver and CMS regulations to assure compliance with the CMS regulations as well. If you haven’t already, please go to the following link to view the updated HANs:
The new or updated HANs are as follows:
Decontamination of Masks
Recent guidance from the FDA that recommends the discontinuation of N-95 and KN-95 Respirators. The link to the guidance is attached.
Federal Pharmacy Partnership (FPP)
The FPP is providing ongoing vaccination support for facilities that are enrolled in the program. This will allow for ongoing vaccination of new staff and residents as well as those that have changed their mind on receiving a vaccine. You will need to contact the person that provided you vaccine support for specific details and availability in your area.
Table Top Exercise
Attached is a copy of the initial outreach and overview of the Emergency Preparedness exercise that Doug Trahey will be leading and spoke about during the most recent ICF taskforce meeting. If you are interested in participating please reach out to the contact email addressed in the attached letter. There is a registration deadline of 6/1/21.
Over the past few months I have seen an increase in the number of citations and 90-day Decertification actions with the public and private ICFs. Please remember and assure that all of the CMS regulations that apply to the ICFs remain in place in original form except those regulations outlined in the 1135 waiver. The areas of increased citations are as follows:
Effective April 17, 2021, ChildLine has changed the format of the FBI Clearance Result letter. The major change you will observe in the new format is the consolidation of result boxes. Instead of the four checkboxes previously used on the letter, all result letters now display only two boxes and either “ELIGIBLE” or “INELIGIBLE” will be checked.
Any agency that receives these result letters and wishes to verify the validity may contact ChildLine at 717-783-6211 or 877-371-5422. We cannot discuss the specific outcome for the applicant(s) with third parties but can verify receipt of the new letter template.
Over the past several weeks, we held four focus groups with an array of ANCOR members and State Association representatives. These groups reviewed the draft language for the HCBS Access Act and provided us with a wealth of feedback and comments!
Subsequently, Sarah and Doris worked to compile the comments and drafted a letter to be sent to the relevant Congressional offices.
Thanks to all who helped shape our response. With your assistance, we were able to provide rich comments to the sponsoring offices.
American Network of Community Options and Resources
The current order requiring Pennsylvanians to wear masks will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Face coverings are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home. In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians are not required to wear a mask during certain activities.
“We continue to make significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and as more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam said. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to take the critical steps needed to put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated, follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing.”
Requirements such as testing and reporting new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Maintaining requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities will allow Pennsylvania to continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread while lifting other restrictions.
The Department of Health recommends that Pennsylvanians refer to CDC guidance and recommendations regarding ongoing COVID-19 safety measures and procedures.
These updates will not prevent municipalities and school districts from continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts.
“With millions of Pennsylvanians getting vaccinated, it’s time to plan the transition back to normal,” said Sen. Art Haywood. “Hospitalizations and deaths are down. This action today is a key step forward.”
“While the restrictions that were put in place at the outset of the pandemic have been a major source of frustration for many Pennsylvanians and businesses, it is the collaborative work of this bipartisan Task Force that is allowing us to finally roll back the restrictions and get back to normal life,” said Sen. Ryan Aument.
“I’m thrilled after more than a year that we are able to lift these restrictions so that we can move to more normal life,” said Rep. Tim O’Neal. “This will help grow our economy and assist our small businesses that have sacrificed so much due to COVID-19. Thank you to Pennsylvanians who have chosen to be vaccinated. Your efforts have helped us arrive at today.”
“I am proud of the progress we have made with vaccinations throughout Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski. “Lifting mitigation orders on Memorial Day and announcing that masking orders will be lifted once 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s adults are fully vaccinated are all benefits from following the scientific medical research and data. Many sacrifices had been made over the past year while we waited for help. The help is now here in the form of a vaccine and we must do everything we can to encourage everyone to receive their vaccination so we can overcome this pandemic. Let’s follow the science, because it’s the path to us all returning to normalcy.”
The governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic remains in place.
All Pennsylvanians ages 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available on the Department of Health’s website. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
More information is available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
MEDIA CONTACT: Barry Ciccocioppo