Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families from
Amity Healthcare Group!
We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous year!
Here are some home health-related updates for this week:
The next available CNA/HHA and Skilled Nursing Competency is Tuesday, December 22, 2020, and Thursday, December 24, 2020.
If you would like to register your Skilled Nurses and/or HHAs/CNAs for a competency, please follow the links below:
Skilled Nursing Competency: https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/services/nursing-competencies/
HHA/CNA Competency: https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/services/cna-hha-competency/
Let Amity Healthcare Group assist you with staying compliant with competency and ongoing training/continued education requirements in a worry-free manner.
For more information, please call 303-690-2749 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a meeting at https://calendly.com/ig–3/30-min-free-consultation.
National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC)
As you know, NAHC has been a long-time advocate for home health and hospice providers and industry. On December 15, 2020 NAHC submitted a letter to CMS requesting that CMS reconsider several modifications made to regulatory policies and COVID-19 flexibilities to support providers during these challenging times. For a complete letter, please go to https://discussion.nahc.org/wp-content/uploads/wpforo/default_attachments/1608056284-12-15-more-CMS-flexibilities.pdf
We would like to thank NACH for their continuous support!
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Request for Information
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking input from healthcare stakeholders on the costs and benefits of the regulatory changes the agency has made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS stated that it will use comments collected from the RFI in an attempt to determine which regulatory actions it will make permanent (beyond the public health emergency) or keep as temporary.
Below, you will find a list of questions for which CMS is looking for comments. Comments to CMS are due December 28, 2020 and are to be submitted to : https://beta.regulations.gov.
- Of the regulatory changes that have been made by the HHS in response to the COVID–19 PHE and the pandemic, please identify which changes;
- Have been beneficial to healthcare or human services providers, healthcare or human services systems, or to the patients and clients using these providers and systems, and under what circumstances; or
- Have been detrimental to healthcare or human services providers, healthcare or human services systems, or to the patients and clients using these providers and systems, and under what circumstances; or
- Have been beneficial to healthcare or human services providers, healthcare or human services systems, or to the patients and clients using these providers and systems on a temporary basis, but would be detrimental if continued, absent the exigencies of the COVID–19 PHE and pandemic.
(Please explain and provide any evidence you have of benefit or detriment).
- Of the regulatory changes that have been made by the HHS in response to the COVID–19 PHE and the pandemic, please identify which changes:
- Should be maintained only for the duration of the PHE and pandemic;
- Should be maintained after the expiration of the PHE or the end of the pandemic; i.e., made permanent;
- Should be extended for a period of time after the expiration of the PHE or the end of the pandemic without being made permanent;
- Should be modified but maintained after the expiration of the PHE or the end of the pandemic, and thus made permanent with modifications, and what modifications are being proposed; or e. Should be discontinued immediately.
For a complete notice of Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery; Request for Information (RFI), published in the Federal Register, please go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/25/2020-25812/regulatory-relief-to-support-economic-recovery-request-for-information-rfi
COVID -19 Vaccinations
As we previously discussed, Medicare will pay providers, including home health, for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA)during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
For a Special Medicare Learning Network Edition – COVID-19 Vaccine Codes and other updates related to COVID-19 Vaccine administration, please go to: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/2020-12-14-mlnc-se.pdf
For a complete fact sheet for healthcare providers administering COVID-19 vaccine, please go to https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download
Updated Web Address for iQIES Known Issues Log
Please note that the web address for the iQIES Known Issues Log has been updated to https://iqies.cms.gov/known-issues.
The Known Issues Log is a resource to help you stay alerted to and informed about iQIES-related system or reporting issues. Users are encouraged to review the issues log to determine whether an issue has already been reported prior to contacting the QIES/iQIES Service Center.
As you know COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed in phases in Colorado. As of December 9, 2020 the vaccine prioritization plan has three phases as described below (Prioritization is subject to change based on data, science and availability):
- 1A: Highest-risk health care workers and individuals. These are the people who must have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for longer periods of time (defined as 15 minutes or more over a period of 24 hours) as part of their jobs. This phase also includes long-term care facility staff and residents.
- 1B: Moderate-risk health care workers and responders. Health care workers who do not have prolonged direct contact with COVID-19 patients, but still work in direct patient care or as direct patient care support staff. This phase also includes Emergency Medical Services (EMS), firefighters, police, correctional workers, dispatchers, funeral services, other first responders, and COVID-19 response personnel.
- 2: Higher-risk individuals and essential workers. People who are at an elevated risk of getting very sick or dying of COVID-19, including any adult age 65 and older, as well as adults of any age with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or who are immunocompromised. This phase includes people who have direct interactions with the public as part of their jobs, such as grocery store workers and school and child care staff, and people who work in high density settings like farms and meat-packing plants. Workers who serve people that live in high-density settings (e.g. homeless shelter or group home workers), other health care workers not included in Phase 1, and adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial are also included.
- 3:The general public. Any individuals age 18-64 without high-risk conditions.
Amity Healthcare Group reached out to the contact with Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing (HCPF) to inquire on when home health staff will start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. We are awaiting for response and will inform you of any updates.
When it comes to home health providers administering COVID-19 vaccines, HCPF stated that a member receiving home health services may receive immunizations if the administration is part of a normally scheduled home health visit. A home health visit for the sole purpose of immunization administration is not a benefit. The pharmacy may bill the vaccine as an individual dose under the member’s Health First Colorado ID. The home health agency may not bill for the vaccine.
Amity’s Friday emails (newsletters) will be archived on Amity’s Healthcare Group website at https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/resources/ under Weekly Newsletter section.
Please note that this is our last newsletter of the year. We will resume our communication in the New Year.
Please do not hesitate to reach out for any assistance or questions via email, phone or website at https://amityhealthcaregroup.com/resources/
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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)