Elevating the Post-Acute and
Long Term Care Profession

May 3, 2021

Ohio to Exempt Vaccinated Staff from Routine Testing. Today, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Health Department will change its testing orders for both SNFs and assisted living communities to exempt fully vaccinated staff from routine COVID-19 testing, as recommended last week by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Ohio will vary from the federal guidance, however, for unvaccinated staff by requiring them to continue testing twice a week instead of relying on the CMS color scheme. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff will need to be tested per existing guidelines if they have symptoms or there is an outbreak at the facility.

The revised orders have not been published yet, but we recommend SNF and assisted living members follow what the Governor announced anyway, since it is consistent with the CDC/CMS guidance for the fully vaccinated staff. This change should provide a strong incentive for staff to be vaccinated, and we urge members to use it that way. As a reminder, fully vaccinated means a person is two weeks past their last required vaccine dose.

Playbook for Vaccinating Homebound Individuals. Also in today's announcement, the Governor highlighted a vaccination playbook for homebound individuals from the Departments of Health and Aging. The plan relies on the Regional Rapid Response Assistance Program (R3AP) to deliver vaccinations and on coordination by the Area Agencies on Aging. Others such as home health agencies, local health departments, and emergency medical services also may play a part.

No Red Counties in Latest CMS Table. For the first time since CMS began publishing county-level positivity rates in September 2020, Ohio's table shows no red counties. In addition to lower case numbers generally (Ohio's daily case rate has been under 1,000 for the last two days), the result came about in large part because of the state's improved testing data reporting that began last week. This week, 68 of Ohio's 88 counties are green, which means staff in those counties are not required to wear eye protection in addition to surgical masks for routine patient care. The four counties - Jefferson, Lawrence, Lucas, and Putnam - that were red last week are now yellow. Lawrence County has the highest positivity in the state at 9.5%. Auglaize, Carroll, Clark, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Henry, Huron, Lake, Madison, Mahoning, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Sandusky, Trumbull, and Wyandot Counties went from yellow to green this week. Only Adams and Meigs Counties went the other direction.

DODD Day Services Survey. As the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) looks to “unwind” the COVID-19 protocols for adult day services and supports, we are asking members who provide these services to complete this survey by the end of this week. The survey asks about provider capacity and ability to resume serving adults who stopped using day services during the pandemic and have not yet come back. A small group of stakeholders looking at the day array will utilize this information, along with a similar survey that asks county services and supports administrators (SSAs) about their day services caseloads, to determine how to advise DODD on the best course of action for day services moving forward.

Adult Day Guidance Update - Team Acknowledgement Form (from DODD). In response to stakeholder feedback, DODD updated the Adult Day Guidance regarding the person-centered team process and the team acknowledgement form. If a person is interested in receiving facility-based day services, teams no longer need to complete the team acknowledgement form.

Once the SSA or QIDP receives a request from the person, parent or guardian, or provider that someone would like to attend facility-based ADS, VH, or ICF Day Program, the SSA or QIDP has seven business days to complete the Risk/Benefit Discussion Guide and outline the plan for resuming facility-based services. The SSA or QIDP, through the team process, may need to revise the person’s service plan to reflect current conditions, services, and outcomes.