Here are some home health related updates for this week:
New testimonials from our competency program participants this week:
“I appreciate the effort to ensure I am prepared and skilled for my new position. The staff was professional and knowledgeable!”
“I had a wonderful experience here! I was very nervous at the start but the instructor was so nice and made me feel more confident in myself. Great program!”
Remember, that your clinicians believe that the competency is important as it provides a sense of:
*Having increased job satisfaction.
Do not forget to schedule your in-person and/or virtual competencies at https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/virtual-nursing-competency/
OSHA Updates Guidance on Protecting Unvaccinated and At-Risk Workers from COVID-19
On August 13, 2021 OSHA issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from the coronavirus. The updated guidance reflects developments in science and data, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27, 2021 and reflects measures for protecting workers in higher-risk workplaces and with mixed-vaccination status workers.
When it comes to the health care industry, latest OSHA recommendations include the following:
- OSHA recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
- OSHA recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after such contact;
In addition, OSHA will be reviewing Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) every 30 days. In August, OSHA has determined that the requirements of the health care ETS remain necessary “to address the grave danger of the coronavirus in health care.”
Targeted Probe & Educate (TPE)
As you may know, CMS suspended prepayment reviews under the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) program in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) in March 2020. Even when post-payment audits were officially resumed, TPE prepay reviews still remained on hold.
However, on August 12, 2021, CMS announced via MLN Connects Newsletter that CMS will be resuming Targeted Probe & Educate program. Unfortunately, the announcement offered no information as to when exactly CMS will resume the TPE program. The MLN Connects Newsletter just stated the following:
CMS Resumes Targeted Probe & Educate Program
CMS is restarting the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) program to help educate providers and reduce future denials and appeals. If your Medicare Administrative Contractor audits you, take advantage of the TPE education, and get up to 3 rounds of educational claim review to help you bill accurately.
Amity Healthcare Group will monitor for updates related to effective date of TPE resumption and will notify you of any new information in our newsletter.
- NAHC is offering a webinar Get the Latest on 2021 Home Health PEPPER on Wednesday, August 25th, 2021 1:00 -2:00 PM ET. Attend this webinar to:
- Explain how to obtain the PEPPER
- Discuss PEPPER target areas
- Interpret the PEPPER findings for your agency
- Explain how the PEPPER can best be utilized by your organization
NAHC Members: Free; Non-members: $99 REGISTER
- Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum
The next forum is scheduled for:
Thursday, August 26, 2021 PM at 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (ET).
At this time, the agenda for the forum is as follows:
- Announcements & Updates
- FY 2022 Hospice Payment Policy Updates- Final Rule
- Hospice Updates and Public Reporting
- CY 2022 Home Health PPS Proposed Rule-Reminder of Comment Period Closing on 8/27/21
- Home Health Quality Reporting Program updates
- Update for the HHCAHPS Survey
- For questions about the HHCAHPS Survey, email HHCAHPS@rti.org.
- For CMS-related questions about the HHCAHPS Survey, email email@example.com.
- The official website for the HHCAHPS Survey is https://homehealthcahps.org
- Open Q&A
Please note that CMS also reminds the stakeholders that the date of the forum is subject to change.
To attend, please dial: 1-888-455-1397 & Reference Conference Passcode: 8604468
III. New CMS Webinar: Home Health Quality Reporting Program – OASIS Interim Guidance Webinar (Advanced Webinar)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites Home Health providers to listen to the Home Health Quality Reports Program’s OASIS Interim Guidance Webinar. In an effort to provide an overview of important OASIS data collection clarifications, CMS has developed this webinar to highlight some of the more significant OASIS guidance refinements that have been made available in recent Quarterly Q&A releases.
CMS notes that this webinar “is NOT intended to provide basic or comprehensive OASIS training.”
The training materials can be accessed via the Home Health Quality Reporting Program Training page.
New Resource: Meet Mile High Medical Services
I wanted to share another resource with you. Please meet Mile High Medical Services.
Mile High Medical Services (MHMS) provides mobile phlebotomy and courier service to all professionals in the areas of Home Health, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Direct Lab Access, DNA Collection, and Kidney Care Centers.
MHMS professional team has thirty-five years of experience performing blood collection. MHMS phlebotomists will collect required specimens and transport specimens to the appointed laboratory of choice. Current service areas include Denver Metropolitan area, Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley. Colorado Springs will be coming soon!
For more information, please refer to the attached flyer or visit MHMS at https://milehighmedicalservice.org/
To contact Mile High Medical Services, LLC, please call or email:
Antwonette (Toni) Prothro, Owner
The City and County of Denver COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate and More…
As you all know, on August 2, 2021, the Mayor of the City and County of Denver, Michael Hancock, and the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment issued an Order requiring personnel of multiple entities including, “any entity providing home care to patients,” to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021.
Since this announcement, we have been getting multiple questions from local providers. However, one of the most common questions was:
Q: If a home health agency is located in the County other than Denver County, but has direct care staff members who provide services to patients in Denver County, will this Agency be subject to the vaccination mandate?
So, Amity Healthcare Group reached out to Denver Mayor’s office and CDPHE to clarify the above and here is the response we received.
A: “Yes, your staff who provide services to patients in Denver County must be vaccinated.”
For additional FAQs as related to COVID-19 vaccination mandate, please go to: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Guidance-Resources/Businesses/Employer-FAQ
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate initiated by the City and County of Denver, Home Health and Hospice Association of Colorado (HHAC) has also informed the community of the fact that Governor Polis issued a request to the State Board of Health, that they:
“…promulgate emergency rules pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-4-103(6)(a) to require all personnel working in facilities with our vulnerable populations in Colorado to be vaccinated against COVID-19. These rules should apply to anyone directly involved in health care and support staff who regularly come into contact and share spaces with vulnerable populations including patients seeking medical care in essential medical settings and in congregate senior living facilities. Anyone subject to the rules should receive a first shot no later than September 30, 2021.”
HHAC is seeking for more information from CDPHE, but “it has been clarified that home based services fall into the category of groups that would be required to be vaccinated. CDPHE is working to put together an emergency rule hearing by September 1st in order to give providers some time to achieve compliance by September 30th.”
Temporary CNAs Licenses
On Friday, August 13, 2021, CDPHE issued the following memo related to temporary licensed for CNAs and licensure expiration date.
All temporary CNA (T-NA) licenses will expire no later than December 31, 2021. Review your T-NA to verify the expiration date, as some may expire sooner. This can be done by either looking at the copy of the license that was emailed to you or by verifying the expiration date on our website.
If your T-NA expires before the end of the calendar year, you can apply for another temporary license via our online system.
You will want to ensure completion and passage of the required exams for full licensure before the December 31, 2021 expiration date. These examinations may be scheduled through Pearson Vue. It is also important for employers to ensure temporarily licensed staff schedule their exam as soon as possible to avoid any staffing gaps once the temporary licenses expire.
Those holding a temporary license issued between December 7, 2020 and April 5, 2021, which expired on June 30, 2021, may apply for a second temporary certification. These individuals must submit documentation of passage of the written exam and attest that they will register for the required skills exam within 60 days of availability in their regional area (within 250 miles). Those who have been granted a temporary license and have failed the skills exam are not eligible for a second temporary certification.
It is important for those who hold temporary licenses to schedule exams as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure their exams are completed and apply for regular Nurse Aide Certification before the end of the 2021 calendar year
Please address any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amity’s Friday emails (newsletters) will be archived on Amity’s Healthcare Group website at https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/resources/ under Weekly Newsletter section.
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Irina Gorovaya, RN BSN, MBA
Amity Healthcare Group, LLC
Home Health Consulting, Education and Outsourcing Services
720-353-7249 (cell) 303-690-2749 (office) 720-398-6200 (fax)