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October 21, 2020


No SNF Testing Video Yet. The video on the new state-mandated testing process for SNFs mentioned in yesterday's Health Department (ODH) notice has not yet appeared on the state's coronavirus website. We understand when the time comes, it will be posted on the "Testing in Nursing Homes" page, which as of tonight had not been updated since August 3.

NHSN Postpones Training on Laboratory Reporting, Provides Vaccine Sign-Up Guidance. The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) tonight sent out an email to NHSN-participating providers with the following updates.

1. Pharmacy Partnership Program Guidance Document

NHSN Users have submitted questions regarding how to access, complete and update the Pharmacy Partnership Program (PPP) form currently in the NHSN application. Attached, please find a guidance document which we hope will provide you helpful instructions for providing the CDC with information on whether your facility plans to participate in the PPP. For any questions you have related to the program, please send an email to eocevent494@cdc.gov

2. Cancellation of the NHSN Point of Care Test Reporting Tool Trainings Scheduled for this Week

Regretfully it has become necessary for us to delay the trainings Reporting Results of Point of Care Testing for COVID-19: A New NHSN Tool scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday October 22nd and Friday, October 23rd. This delay is beyond our control, but we are prepared to provide the training as soon as possible and will provide information on new dates and times as soon as possible. Please accept our sincere apologies. In the meantime, if you have questions about the new tool, please send them to NHSN@cdc.gov with “POC test reporting” in the subject line, and we will respond as soon as possible.

Assisted Living Test Result Warning - Midnight Tonight. Some assisted living members reported receiving an email notice from the Department of Aging that they had not reported their test results via the reporting tool that opened Monday. The testing program is set up with a relatively narrow reporting window following the end of each two-week testing cycle. The text of the notice follows.

This email serves as notice that as of 9:00 am today your facility has not submitted a COVID-19 testing report. To remain in compliance with the Director’s Order, please submit your testing information via the online reporting tool and ensure all questions in the tool are fully and accurately answered. The current reporting period closes today, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

In accordance with the Director's Order for the Testing of the Residents and Staff of all Residential Care Facilities and the Director’s Order on the Opening of Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers, facilities will verify compliance of the applicable Order by submitting a reporting tool following each bi-weekly testing cycle. All facilities are required to complete the online reporting tool.  The reporting tool will be available one week following each bi-weekly test cycle and will remain available for a period of three full business days.

Please reach out to COVIDTesting@age.ohio.gov will any additional questions or concerns you have.

Another Urgent Message - This Time for SNFs. Some SNF members received an email notice from "HRSA PRF Communications" entitled "Important Message Regarding CARES Act Nursing Home Quality Incentive Program Payment - RESPONSE NEEDED BY TOMORROW (10/22)." This notice apparently went to SNFs that reported COVID-19 deaths to NHSN. For the September Quality Incentive Program (QIP) payment under the Provider Relief Fund, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking to verify which patients passed away as a result of COVID-19 acquired before they entered the SNF. These deaths do not count against the facility in the incentive payment calculation, but because they are not reported separately in NHSN, HRSA needs information from the facilities to cateogrize the deaths properly. The notice specifies that the provider will receive a separate, secure link to report the necessary information and tells the provider that if they fail to respond by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, they will be ineligible for a QIP payment.

Ohio Sets More Records in Current Surge of COVID-19. Today, the state set another record with 2,366 COVID-19 cases, blowing past the previous record set on Saturday. This is not just fallout of expanded testing, as the total number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients also reached a new high of 1,252, with 345 patients in intensive care units and 164 on ventilators. Current combined staff and resident cases in long-term care facilities (SNFs, assisted living communities, ICFs/IID) came in today at 1,842, the highest weekly number in nearly five months.

Administrator Verma Letter to SNF Residents on Voting. Continuing the focus on voting in this pandemic/election year, ODH circulated a letter from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to SNF residents encouraging them to vote and asked providers to give copies to their residents.