Elevating the Post-Acute and
Long Term Care Profession

April 20, 2021

Ohio Cases Trending Down? The Health Department's (ODH's) COVID-19 dashboard for the general public is showing a bit of promise that perhaps the "spring break mini-surge" is ending in Ohio. Since peaking at 2,918 daily cases on April 5, the 21-day average now is below 2,000, and today's total is 1,799. Hopefully this shows growth of vaccinations is outpacing growth in variant cases.

More on SNF Annual Surveys. On today's SNF member/ECHO call, two members shared experiences with annual surveys, which ODH recently restarted in SNFs. Both said the vast majority of their surveys were conducted on-site because there was no COVID-19 in the building. If COVID-19 is present, the survey will be mostly off-site. One of the members was kind enough to share the official entrance conference worksheet plus a list the member made of items requested by the survey team. One of the buildings also included a residential care facility (RCF). The surveyors did a brief annual survey of the RCF even though it was not overdue for an annual and even though RCF annuals generally have not restarted yet.

FDA Revokes Single mAb Treatment EUA. Several weeks ago, OHCA reported in News Bites a potential risk of treatment failure using a single-drug infusion of Bamlanivimab (Bam), a monoclonal antibody (mAb), in cases of COVID-19 resulting from SARS-CoV-2 variants resistant to Bam. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Bam when administered alone, stating that the benefits no longer outweigh the potential risks. The recommended alternative is to substitute for single-drug orders one of the two dual-drug alternatives listed below:

Tried and True Approach to Staff Vaccine Hesitancy. OHCA thanks Rich Schwalberg of Menorah Park for sharing the following list of techniques that Kline Galland in Seattle used to achieve a vaccination rate of more than 90% of their staff.

  1. No one technique - wide variety of approaches to build up momentum
  2. Town halls - informational sessions by executive team staff
  3. Guest speakers geared to cultural groups (large number of the staff are from Ethiopia, so they had an Ethiopian physician talk with their staff)
  4. Signed up staff by walking the halls constantly
  5. $50 gift card for food (large motivator) for staff who get vaccinated
  6. Party atmosphere during the vaccine clinics
  7. Vaccination stickers on their badges
  8. Upper level executives meet one on one with staff who did not get vaccinated
  9. Staff who were found to violate infection control practices would be sent home and recommended that they get vaccinated

Reminder: AHCA/NCAL Webinar: Submitting Comments to CMS on Proposed SNF Payment Rule (from AHCA/NCAL). AHCA/NCAL will host a webinar on Wednesday, April 21 at 2:30 PM Eastern to review the fiscal year (FY) 2022 skilled nursing facility proposed payment rule and discuss submitting comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The proposed rule includes a net market basket increase of 1.3 percent, which CMS estimates would increase Medicare SNF payments by approximately $444 million in FY 2022. 

CMS also shares in the proposed rule that preliminary data shows the shift to the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) is not budget-neutral as required by statute. CMS believes there is a 5 percent increase in overall payment levels. Based on the data from the first two years of PDPM, CMS indicates that a PDPM recalibration is necessary to reduce overall payments by 5 percent and achieve budget neutrality.

AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson will brief members on the recalibration methods proposed by CMS, including delayed and phased implementation. He will also discuss how these will impact the profession and provide guidance for submitting comments to CMS about the proposed approaches by the June 7 deadline.

Please use this link to register for this important program.

Changes to ODH Lab Requisition Portal. ODH made some changes to their portal for COVID-19 testing lab requisitions. This is their email notice:

The Ohio Department of Health will be releasing updates to the Electronic Lab Submission Portal that should be available Thursday (April 22, 2021).

Included in the new release will be some data and performance improvements and fixes, and most importantly:

  • Three (3) new fields have been added to the Submission Form to better gather relevant insurance billing information prior to testing:
  • Relationship to Policy Holder
  • Policy Holder DOB
  • Policy Effective Date

These fields are required to be completed on the Webform and included in the Bulk Upload functionality. Please refer to the attached instructions for more information regarding how to properly complete these fields.

These are the attached instructions: