Tags Posts tagged with "ICF"


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Message From Kevin Dressler, Bureau Director, Office of Developmental Programs (ODP):

Some recent updates:

CMS 1135 Waiver Discontinuation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an update on April 7, 2022, that will discontinue many of the 1135 waiver components over the next 30 and 60 days. This Quality, Safety, and Oversight (QSO) update returns many of the identified items in the 1135 waiver to their previous regulatory statuses, and the ICFs will need to be in compliance with the changes by the date specified. Please review the QSO carefully and assure that your ICFs are compliant by the dates specified.

Health Alert Network Updates

I have attached the four latest HANs regarding COVID related items. HAN 633 and HAN 635 address facilities that are testing people in-house and the new reporting requirements. HAN 634 addresses treatment recommendations for people that have contracted COVID-19. Lastly, HAN 632 addresses who is eligible for the vaccine boosters. Please review the recent HANs and adjust your policies and practices as you deem appropriate.

Emergency Exercises

Please see ‘Orchid Phoenix 2022 TTX Registration,’ as it has the registration information for an upcoming Emergency Preparedness Exercise that is available for ICFs to participate in if you would like to do so. This is a similar type of exercise as we completed last year, with a different emergency event as the topic. Please review for details on registration and participation requirements.

Kevin Dressler | Bureau Director
Department of Human Services
Office of Developmental Programs
Bureau of State Operated Facilities
Room 508 Health & Welfare Bldg | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Office Phone: 717-425-5686
Cell Phone: 570-809-3759
Fax: 717-787-6583

From Kevin Dressler, Office of Developmental Programs (ODP):

Updated HANs dealing with Work Restrictions and Return to Work Guidance for Healthcare Workers With COVID-19 Exposure:

HAN 621

This guidance replaces PA-HAN-616. Information has been added to clarify the recommendations in consultation with CDC as well as to incorporate changes that have been made by CDC on January 21, 2022. Language has changed from using the term “boosted” in PA-HAN-616 to instead describe persons as being “up-to-date” with vaccine doses. This guidance pertains only to the healthcare personnel and their need for work restriction. For guidance on isolation and quarantine in the community, please refer to PA-HAN-615 or its successor.

This update includes clarification that:

  • Being up-to-date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses includes persons who have completed a primary vaccine series at least 2 weeks prior but are not yet eligible for a booster shot per current CDC guidelines.
  • A person is considered up-to-date immediately after receipt of the booster dose; there is no waiting period following a booster.
  • In general, asymptomatic Healthcare Personnel (HCP) who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days do not require work restriction following a higher-risk exposure; however, it should be considered in certain circumstances.

If you have additional questions about this guidance, please contact DOH at 877-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258) or your local health department.

HAN 622

Due to concerns about increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, this guidance is being updated to enhance protection for healthcare personnel (HCP), patients, and visitors, and to address concerns about potential impacts on the healthcare system given a surge of SARS-CoV-2 infections. These updates will be refined as additional information becomes available to inform recommended actions.

Updates include:

  • Antigen testing is preferred if testing symptomatic HCP who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days. If tests are in short supply, they should be prioritized to diagnose infection.
  • Added additional information to strategies to mitigate healthcare personnel staffing shortages.

If you have additional questions about this guidance or would benefit from discussion to support infection prevention and control decisions in your facility, please contact DOH at 877-PA- HEALTH (877-724- 3258) or your local health department.

ICF Taskforce Meeting

Date/Time: 2-24-22 from 1:00 pm–3:00 pm
Meeting Registration Link  

After registration, you will receive another link via email that will be used the day of the meeting. Also, from the registration link, you will be able to add an event to your calendar that will contain the meeting link for that day.

As always, if you have any topics that you would like to discuss, please pass them along to me.

Kevin Dressler | Bureau Director
Department of Human Services
Office of Developmental Programs
Bureau of State Operated Facilities
Room 508 Health & Welfare Bldg | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Office Phone: 717-425-5686

A Message from Kevin Dressler:

Health Alert Updates

Please see the three Health Alert Network (HAN) updates from the Department of Health regarding treatment for COVID positive people, as well as work restrictions for exposure and return to work guidance. These HANs have been updated over the past two weeks, can be of assistance in updating your COVID response plans, and have components built into them to assist in mitigating staff shortages.

You can also find information at the DOH HAN website.

Department of Health Division of ICF

I would like to announce to the group and welcome Susan DiFuccia as Acting Chief of the Division of ICF. She replaces Orlando Hernandez, whom recently retired after an honorable career in the DOH Division of ICF. Susan has been the Supervisor for the Jackson Center and Pittsburgh DOH survey teams for many years as well as a respected member of the DOH Division of ICF, whom will thrive in her new role.

ICF Taskforce Meeting

The next ICF Taskforce Meeting will be held on February 24, 2022, from 1:00 pm–3:00 pm. A link to the meeting will be forthcoming. If you have any specific topics, please send them to me for possible inclusion in the meeting agenda.

6600 Regulations Update

The 6600 regulations update will be shared for public comment in the coming weeks. Please look for them and provided comments as designated in the announcement. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the regulations at the next ICF Taskforce Meeting.

A message from Kevin Dressler, Bureau Director of the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP):

The CMS Interim Final Rule outlining the Vaccination Requirements for all staff and contractors providing services for Medicare and Medicaid certified providers published on 11-05-21 applies to Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs). Below are several links outlining the Vaccine Requirements and Deadlines associated with the Interim Final Rule.

Please contact your ODP Regional Office liaison if you have concerns meeting the demands of the Vaccination Mandate.

Kevin Dressler | Bureau Director
Department of Human Services
Office of Developmental Programs
Bureau of State Operated Facilities
Room 508 Health & Welfare Bldg | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Office Phone: 717-425-5686
Cell Phone: 570-809-3759
Fax: 717.787.6583

As ANCOR is analyzing the impact of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate released this morning, it is clear that ICF employees are included; however, waiver services are not unless the provider employs 100 or more employees. We are trying to get a handle on how many providers this will impact. Please let Carol Ferenz know ASAP if this will impact your organization.

From the CMS Frequently Asked Questions document:

Q. Does this requirement apply to Medicaid home care services, such as Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), since these providers receive Medicaid funding but are not regulated as certified facilities?

A. No, this regulation only applies to those Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types that are subject to CMS health and safety regulations. CMS’s health and safety regulations do not cover providers of Home and Community-Based Services.

Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash

ODP Announcement 21-077 provides updated guidance to providers of ICF/ID services related to infection control procedures and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. This guidance replaces the DHS COVID-19 Provider Guidance on COVID-19 for Personal Care Homes, Assisted Living Residences, and Private Intermediate Care Facilities with the following guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as any future replacements of the referenced guidance from the PA DOH and CMS.

This announcement and the guidance contained within is intended to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, or local public health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which providers of services in ICF/IDs must comply. Providers should take an individualized approach to determining appropriate risk mitigation strategies when working with individuals, including consideration of the Level of Community Transmission as identified in the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

Other news for ICF/ID Providers:

ICF Task Force Meetings

November 2 had been proposed earlier this year as a tentative date for another ICF Task Force meeting. That meeting is being rescheduled for a later date. Please let the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) know if you have any specific topic suggestions that you would like to have covered. You may submit suggestions here.

PA Health Alert Network (HANs)

This is a reminder to stay tuned in to the PA Department of Health’s updates impacting Long-Term Care facilities. Recent HANs contain updated information regarding the SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant and recommendations regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose. A list of the 2021 Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates can be found here.

Community Providers Needed
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is seeking community service providers who are interested in serving individuals that wish to transition from state-operated ICFs/ID to a community setting. Interested providers may find information about qualifying individuals online at the ODP Provider Information Center. Use the same login username and password that you use for any of the ODP Information Centers (i.e., PIC, AEIC, SCOIC or SCC). New and updated information is posted regularly; providers are encouraged to check the website frequently.

IM4Q Training
ODP’s Independent Monitoring for Quality’s Annual Statewide Training is scheduled for July 29-30 at the Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg. ODP’s new Deputy Secretary Nancy Thaler will be the first speaker to start the conference. Details, agenda and registration information are now available.

ODP Updates
ODP has released the following information:

  • Bulletin #00-15-02: Rate Setting Methodology for Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and Base-Funded Services for Individuals Participating in the Office of Developmental Programs Service System.
  • PA Bulletin June 20: Notice of final methodology for FY 2014/15 rate-setting methodology for waivers and base-funded services.
  • Announcement #049-15: Provider Application Orientation Requests for Plans from Administrative Entities; this new process is for individuals or agencies interested in becoming providers of waiver services. This mandated training is part of the enrollment process for provider applicants.

ABLE Act Update
The proposed regulations for the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 have been published in the June 22 Federal Register. Public comments must be submitted by September 21 and a public hearing is scheduled for October 14.